Wrestling on the podium at State, Basketball season concluded
By Katherine Kelly, Reporter
This year, the team had three seniors, Jeremiah Bogaard, Finbarr Anderson, and Issac Patchen, all of whom hoped to advance to Yakima for the state competition. Anderson has had the opportunity to play with past seniors who exemplified what is important in being a team and has played with the team since he was a freshman. He believes that the team has come together in a way this year that made them particularly successful.
“Being a senior carries a lot of responsibilities,” Anderson said. “Those responsibilities were carried by the seniors before me who showed me and my other seniors of the team what it is like to be [an upperclassman] on [the] Vashon Island basketball [team] and how to carry one’s self.”
Team unity was particularly effective this year, demonstrated by the fact that the team had the lowest number of points scored against them in the entire state.
In WIAA basketball, 16 teams make it to the state competition. The WIAA makes a rating percentage index based on the team’s regular seasons to seat the 16 teams that make it to state. The first round is the regional round, wherein games are contested in different regions of the state. The eight teams that win their respective games advance directly to Yakima. The eight losing teams play each other, and the bottom four are withdrawn from the tournament entirely. The four winning teams then proceed to Yakima.
The boys basketball team played Meridian on Friday, Feb. 28 and lost 44-50, eliminating them from the state championships in Yakima.
“We were down early, which made it difficult for us to come back,” senior Jeremiah Bogaard said. “In the second half, we worked to close the gap, which showed the grit of our team. Getting as far as we did was a huge accomplishment in itself.”
The Pirate’s basketball season is now concluded with them being the ninth team to make it as far as they did in the state competition.
To kick off the high school’s wrestler’s path to the state championships, the team competed in the West Central District Championships — known as sub-regionals — on the weekend of Feb. 8 at the high school. Nineteen wrestlers advanced through to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association regional tournament and competed at Klahowya High School on the following weekend of Feb. 15.
Pirate wrestlers brought home a first-place win at Sub-Districts and Regionals, and nine team members qualified for the State Championship at the Tacoma Dome.
The qualifying wrestlers then finished their season on the floor of the Tacoma Dome competing in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) state championships for wrestling on Feb. 21 through Feb. 22. Four wrestlers and one alternate wrestler for each weight class qualified for the state championships. Senior Richard Rivas-Gutierrez and junior Ryan Nelson took second place in each of their respective weight classes: 220 lbs and 170 lbs. Junior Jordon Rutschow placed third in the 160 lb category.
Rivas-Gutierrez came in second to National Champion Gage Cook who won Nationals last year as a freshman.
“The experience of state is one of a kind; there is no better feeling,” Rivas-Gutierrez said. “Winning state titles in any other sport does not compare to being at the Tacoma Dome with the two best coaches this team has to offer. Per Lars and Anders Blomgren make it an amazing experience.”
For Rivas-Gutierrez, the final year of wrestling was a positive experience. He feels fortunate to be a part of a team that showed improvement throughout the entire season.
“Being a senior and having the privilege to wrestle with everyone was a blessing, and I’m happy with the way everything went during the season,” Rivas-Gutierrez said. “Everyone got better and it was amazing to see.”