East Jefferson wrestling makes progress going into holidays

By Ryan White Special to The Leader
Posted 12/27/23



On the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 13, the East Jefferson Rivals wrestling team hosted the Cascade Christian Cougars to the local wrestlers’ second home dual meet of the …

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East Jefferson wrestling makes progress going into holidays




On the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 13, the East Jefferson Rivals wrestling team hosted the Cascade Christian Cougars to the local wrestlers’ second home dual meet of the season.

Over the course of the evening, East Jefferson had 17 bouts, and won nine of the matches.

However, most of the Rivals’ wins were the number-two wrestlers on their team defeating the Cougars’ number-two wrestlers.

East Jefferson’s second-team wrestlers who won included Porter White, Daniel Avilla, Jackson Dupuy, Seth Neilsen and Ethan Perovich.

Damien Ilarraza narrowly lost in sudden death overtime, after finishing his match in regulation, tied 6-6.

Zinnia Berg wrestled the only girls’ match of the night, winning by pin in the first round, but the Rivals lost the Varsity dual 54-14.

"We lost about half our Varsity lineup this week due to many factors, including injury, illness and grades,” Coach Ryan White said. “Six of our athletes were not able to participate that night. Each dual is a contest of 14 weight classes. Cascade Christian had a full lineup that night, with plenty of reserves, so unfortunately, we were not able to show them our best. On the positive side of things, we had some great matches that evening, and I think, once we return to full strength, we have a great chance this season to finish strong."

East Jefferson’s Varsity wrestlers who won that night included Grady White at 144 pounds, Manaseh Lanphear Ramirez at 150 pounds and Rylen Krust at 165 pounds.

"We have a formidable group of sophomores on this team,” Coach Steve Grimm said. “These three are all team captains, and they showed why again that evening. Both Manaseh and Rylen won by pin, and Grady defeated the number-eight-ranked wrestler in the state 7-4. He outwrestled that kid from start to finish that night. These three boys keep making each other better."

Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, saw the East Jefferson Rivals wrestling in the Hammerhead Tournament at the Kitsap Fairground Pavilion in Silverdale.

More than 1,000 kids wrestled in one of the largest events in the state.

Grimm credited 22 East Jefferson athletes with entering “this tremendously tough tournament,” and leaving with two medals this year, along with “some great victories, and a whole lot more experience than (they had) before the event.”

Mi Amada Lanphear Ramirez won the girls’ 115-pound 16-person A bracket, for the highest skill level, scoring four victories during the girls' event on Dec. 16.

In her finals match, she defeated the fifth-ranked 120-pounder in the state, Ramona Reinitz of Centralia, in what her coaches called a “commanding” 14-7 victory.

Her younger brother, sophomore Manaseh Lanphear Ramirez, placed sixth in the 49-person 150-pound bracket, winning his first four matches on Dec. 15, which advanced him into the semi-finals, and dropped his final three matches on Dec. 16.

“Last year, none of our boys qualified for day two,” Grimm said. “This year, Manaseh made it, and Grady White was wrestling great, until an unfortunate knee injury forced him out of the competition. Grady only lost one match during the day, but he chose to opt out, rather than continue and risk further damage to the knee he hurt in an earlier victory.”

According to Grimm, both boys have their sights set on future state medals, and the weekend of Dec. 15-16 marked “a major step” toward achieving their shared goals.

“Manaseh has improved so much this year,” Grimm said. “We continue to see him wrestling smarter with every match.”

Other wrestlers who made a splash during the tournament included the following wrestlers with two wins: Levi Donahue, Gracee Liske and Ursula Schmidt.

Wrestlers who won a match during this event included Rylen Kruse and Silas Klontz.

At this point in the season, the East Jefferson Rivals wrestling team has five wrestlers ranked as top wrestlers in the state, at various weight classes.

Leading the group is Mi Amada Lanphear Ramirez as the first-ranked girl at 120 pounds in smaller schools.

Four are ranked in the top 12 at various places in their respective weight classes, including Isaiah Johnson, Grady White, Manaseh Lanphear Ramirez and Jameson Henery.

“It is nice to see that other coaches and referees are seeing our athletes as being top notch,” Coach Jim Wilcox said. “But we still have quite a bit of work ahead of us, if these student athletes hope to reach their goals at the end of this season.”

The East Jefferson Rivals wrestling team has been practicing over most of Christmas break, and intends to compete in two events after Christmas.

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, the team will travel to North Mason County for a round-robin tournament, and on Friday, Dec. 29, the Varsity will compete in "The Rock" tournament on Vashon Island.