EJ Wrestlers advance to state tournament

Posted 2/14/24

By Ryan White


On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the East Jefferson Rivals wrestlers traveled to Life Christian to compete in their final League Dual Meet of the season. The EJ Rivals …

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EJ Wrestlers advance to state tournament


By Ryan White


On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the East Jefferson Rivals wrestlers traveled to Life Christian to compete in their final League Dual Meet of the season. The EJ Rivals emerged victorious, winning 48-36 over the Eagles in another dual meet that featured a handful of good matches, a handful of forfeits, and a few tough matches for both sides. 

"Silas Klontz wrestled his best match,” said Coach Steve Grimm. "He came out and had a bit of an edge to him tonight that I have not yet seen this year.”

With this dual meet victory the Rivals finished the regular season 2-2, with victories over both Klahowya and Life Christian.

Friday Jan. 26 was Senior Night, with three graduating seniors honored for their hard work this season: Mi Amada Lanphear-Ramirez from Port Townsend, Isaiah Johnson from Chimacum, and Roscoe Barry, home schooler. Both Barry and Lanphear-Ramirez were given match-ups for their senior night. Johnson wasn't able to attend due to illness. Senior night consisted of 11 matches between the Sequim and East Jefferson teams, with East Jefferson victorious in five of the battles. 

The EJ Rivals then had a full week to prepare for post-season. On Saturday, Feb. 3 the Rivals Wrestling Team competed in two separate events, with the girls' team traveling to North Mason for the small schools' sub-regional tournament. They then hosted the varsity tournament at the Port Townsend High School gym.

Six girls competed in their event, and one qualified for the regional tournament next weekend in White River. Mi Amada Lanphear-Ramirez was seeded very high for her 120-pound weight class, so she initially received a couple of byes to advance to the semi-finals. She pinned Tayana Decoteau of North Kitsap in less than 20 seconds, then faced off with the No. 1 ranked girl in the state, Brooklyn Jones of Orting. Lanphear-Ramirez won by fall. This makes her the front-runner for a State Title in two weeks at the Tacoma Dome for her weight class. She will likely face Jones twice more this season, so fireworks for those matches are on the menu.

Gracee Liske won two matches in the 115-pound weight class, but that was not quite enough to qualify her for the next regional meet, as she lost a close decision 7-6 to Nina Sakumoto of Washington, and was pinned by Senior Faye Dachs of Port Angeles. Gracee is a freshman and a quiet leader on the team with an excellent work ethic. She will continue to be one to watch in the future. 

Thirteen boys competed in the sub-regional tournament and six Rivals will move on to compete next weekend at their regional tournament in Vashon. The three League Champions included Grady White at 138 pounds, Manaseh Lanphear-Ramirez at 150 pounds, and Rylan Dunn at 157 pounds. Silas Klontz earned a second-place finish at 175 pounds. Levi Donahue earned third place at 157 pounds, and Rylen Kruse earned third place at 165 pounds. 

"Only the top three from our league qualify for the regional event, so it was very important for our kids to wrestle their best today,” Grimm said.

The regional event will advance the top three finishers in an eight-man bracket to the 35th Mat Classic State Tournament at the Tacoma Dome Feb. 16 and 17. 

"We have six tough kids who are moving on next week to the hardest tournament of the season, our State Qualifier,” said Coach Joey Johnson.

On Feb. 10, two EJ Rivals wrestlers qualified for the State Tournament. A third wrestler will serve as an alternate. The boys’ regionals tournament was held in Vashon Island, where Manaseh Lanphear-Ramirez earned first place in the 150-pound weight class. In the finals, he defeated Sean Price of Klahowya 14-11 in an exciting back-and-forth battle with the lead changing multiple times.

Grady White earned fourth place and is an alternate for the State Tournament at 138 pounds. His third match was a win by major decision over Jaxx Goldsmith of Granite Falls. 

Levi Donahue placed fifth and finished with two wins in the 157-pound weight class, including a pin over Owyn Cunningham of Nooksack Valley.

Also competing at this event for the varsity was Rylan Dunn at 157, Rylen Kruse at 165, and Silas Klontz at 175 pounds.

The girls’ regionals tournament was held at White River. Mi Amada Lanphear-Ramirez placed second in the 120-pound weight class. She won her first match by first round pin over Sophia Moreno of Squalicum. 

Zinnia Berg was an alternate to the regional tournament, and she got in when one of the qualifiers did not make the event, but did not qualify to advance.

“These kids excelled, and we couldn't be any more proud of them,” said Coach Grimm. “We have a bright future in our wrestling program.”