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Monte freshman grapplers make splash at Vashon Invite

The Montesano High School wrestling team may be young but they aren’t about to let you overlook them.

The Bulldogs have five wrestlers place in the top five at the Vashon Island Invitational Tournament on Saturday, four of which are freshmen.

Freshman Jacob Ellefson was the only Montesano wrestler to finish first in a weight class as he won the tournament at 113 pounds. Along with Ellefson, three other freshmen placed as Tyler Izatt took third at 106 pounds and Austin Cain, 132, and Taylor Rupe, 195 each took fifth. Junior Anthony Louthan placed third at 182 pounds for the Bulldogs.

“We are excited about our freshman class,” coach Jeff Klinger said. “To see those freshman, not only are they excelling when they wrestle, it is just different at practice. The kids are working hard and they come to practice and it is not a lot of messing around. They are ready to go and it shows.”

Montesano placed eighth as a team at the invitational.

Klinger said he was proud of how all eight of the wrestlers Montesano took to the tournament performed because of the level of competition at the event. Izatt is one of the wrestlers that Klinger said has shown early on that he could be able to be one of the top wrestlers in the state in his first year.

“He wrestled really tough,” Klinger said. “106 is a great weight for him. He can compete strengthwise. He doesn’t have a lot of people that are bigger than him. He has been working really hard in practice and is starting to come on strong. I think it sets up really good for him to make a run to state.”

With a different attitude in the wrestling room, Klinger said the Bulldogs are ready to improve every practice and the holiday break will not slow them down.

“(The Vashon Island Invitational) is a tough tournament,” Klinger said. “I thought our kids showed really well. We look at this as the start of our season for real. Now we have duals every week. It sets the tone for the rest of the year. We are excited for how they are doing and hope we can continue this until we get to the league tournament. The harder they work, the more it pays off.”

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