Mercer Island wrestlers capture third KingCo title in four years

For the third time in four years, the Mercer Island wrestling team earned the 3A KingCo title. The Islanders finished with 231 points, ahead of Mount Si’s second-place 165 points.

The Islanders had six individual titles during the meet at Liberty High School last Saturday.

In the 103 weight class, Jacob Pruchno earned a second-place finish, after falling to Ryler Absher from Mount Si in 4:53. In the 112 division, sophomore Connor Gullstad beat Bellevue’s Brad Ballard by decision, 7-0. It was Gullstad’s second consecutive KingCo title, after winning the 103 division title last year. At 119 Luca Caruccio beat Juanita’s Jonathan Iwazaki by major decision with a 11-1 score. In the 125 division, Kenji Walker finished third overall with a technical fall over Juanita’s Jack Donahue. Teammate Tamir Amitai took sixth place in the same division. In the 130 class, Islander Dylan Sullivan finished in fifth place, beating Liberty’s Tyler Le with a 13-2 decision.

At 135 senior Kyle Shanafelt earned a 9-0 decision win over Mount Si’s Aaron Peterson, and junior Max Graham was fifth. It was Shanafelt’s fourth straight KingCo title win, after earning over 25 wins this season. In the 140 division, Salvatore Giamapa was third place overall after beat Bruce Stuart from Mount Si by fall in 4:38, and Cameron Manzano took fifth by forfeit.

Blake Johnson captured the 145 division title, beating Peter Ovens from Bellevue by a fall in 3:51, and teammate Andrew Rawson took third. Chris Richards, a freshman, was third in the 152 division, losing to Coln Small of Bellevue. Phil Frazier earned the 171 division title, beating Juanita’s Logan McCallum with a 6-4 overtime win. McCallum had beaten Frazier earlier in the season during another overtime battle.

In the 189 division, Colton Knebel beat Chase Miller from Juanita after 1:55, and teammate Brian Rauzi was fourth. Knebel earned two pins during the tournament, increasing his season record to 31-3, and earning a third KingCo championship. T.J. Blackburn took third in the 215 division, beating Darrin Laufasa from Juanita with a 10-0 major decision. In the 285 weight class, Ben O’Connell was fourth after losing to Brian Copeland from Mount Si.

The Islanders will next travel to Glacier Peak High School this Saturday for the regional tournament.

Mercer Island assistant coach Adrian Diaz was recognized as the assistant coach of the year by the league. In his third season as a member of the year, head coach Creighton Laughary said Diaz is instrumental to the Islanders’ success.

“All seven of the MI assistant coaches are worthy of such recognition, in my humble opinion,” said Laughary. The assistants include: Diaz, Lee Jahncke, Chris Zook, Tim Knebel, John Fraizer, Jim Richards and Brian Hocum.

The regional tournament will take place this Saturday at Glacier Peak High School. The top four in each class at regionals earn a place at the state tournament, Feb. 18-19, at the Tacoma Dome.

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