Wrestlers positioned to finish with strength

Posted 1/10/24


The East Jefferson Rivals Wrestling team completed their winter break in fine fashion.   On Dec. 28, the team sent 18 wrestlers to compete in a girls’ tournament and a Junior …

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Wrestlers positioned to finish with strength



The East Jefferson Rivals Wrestling team completed their winter break in fine fashion.  On Dec. 28, the team sent 18 wrestlers to compete in a girls’ tournament and a Junior Varsity event at North Mason High School. On Dec. 29, eight Rivals traveled to Vashon Island to compete in the prestigious “The Rock” Tournament. Both events featured our wrestlers battling hard and once again achieving success.

Bright and early on the morning of Thursday, Dec. 28, wrestlers and three coaches attended a wrestling meet at North Mason High School in Belfair. Six girls and 12 boys competed. Lavender Douglas, Grace Ayers, and Ursula Schmidt all battled hard during the day. Ana Cole won a match in the 130-pound division and placed third. Zinnia Berg won two matches by fall in the 171-191-pound division and placed first. Mi Amada Lanphear Ramirez competed in the boys division and earned a first place title with two wins. 

Of the 12 boys who competed, a few had commendable highlights. Rylan Dunn returned to action after recovering from a broken leg sustained last summer playing travel baseball. Dunn won both of his matches by fall, finishing his bracket in first place.  Silas Klontz won two matches by fall, earning a first-place award. Jonah Temple stepped up in the team’s final match of the day, winning his first match of the season in a 12-9 back-and-forth battle that had his whole team filling the gym with screams of encouragement. “It was great to end the day with a win,” said Coach Jim Wilcox. “Jonah made the entire team proud.”

The following day, eight varsity wrestlers traveled to Vashon to battle in a tournament many consider to be a “mini-state” event for Class A schools.  Normally up to 16 quality Class A schools attend this event. 

“We placed half of our team today, which was a great achievement,” said Coach Steve Grimm. “Three of our placers are sophomores, and our other placer was Mi Amada, who once again volunteered to wrestle in the boys division to seek out the toughest competition she could.” 

Grady White at 138 pounds and Manaseh Lanphear Ramirez at 150 pounds both made it to the tournament finals. Mi Amada Lanphear Ramirez placed fourth at 113 pounds, and Rylen Kruse earned a fifth place award at 165 pounds. Kruse wrestled six bouts on the day, finishing with a 4-2 record. Interestingly enough, all four East Jefferson wrestlers who placed at this tournament are currently ranked as some of the top wrestlers in the state, according to the Washington Wrestling Report. Mi Amada is currently ranked the highest at Girls 115 (third), followed closely by her brother Manaseh, ranked fifth at 150 pounds. White is right behind him, ranking sixth at 138 pounds, and Kruse just popped on the board as the 11th-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds. 

The team earned ninth place out of 16 teams, which was a very high placing considering they only brought eight wrestlers. Teams are allowed to fill all 14 weight classes, so we only showed up with half the weight classes filled. Every wrestler finished the day with at least one win. Isaiah Johnson earned a win at 120 pounds, and his younger brother Caleb Johnson earned two wins at 126 pounds. Levi Donahue earned two wins at 157 pounds, and Silas Klontz earned one victory at 175 pounds. 

“Levi Donahue and Silas Klontz both continue to impress in our room,” said Asst. Coach Ryan White. “These two young men share a great work ethic, are always early, and remain quite coachable. Both continue to wrestle some of the best grapplers in the state, and when they come up short-handed, they re-double their efforts to get better.”

We are now more than halfway through the regular wrestling season. Team leaders for girls are Mi Amada Lanphear Ramirez with 24 matches total (19-5) and Gracee Liske with 14 matches and a record of 10-4. Team leaders for boys are Manaseh Lanphear Ramirez with 24 matches total (19-5, same record as his sister), Levi Donahue with 23 matches total (12-11), Rylen Kruse also with 23 matches total (16-7), and Grady White with 22 matches total (18-4). 

“A handful of wrestlers on our team are all aiming to get as many matches as they can in this season before their postseason run,” said Coach Wilcox. “If we can stay healthy, a few of our competitive kids should each have wrestled over 40 matches by the end of January. That is a great way to prep to finish this season strong.”