Mercer Island wrestling wins fifth straight KingCo title

In his four years at Mercer Island High School, senior Jake Pruchno has not lost a KingCo dual meet. In fact, he’s not sure when Mercer Island lost its last KingCo meet.

“I don’t know about the first year of the five-peat, but I know my grade hasn’t lost a KingCo dual meet,” he said.

That run continued Thursday, Jan. 30 at Bellevue High School. With Mercer Island’s 51-27 win over Bellevue, the wrestling team won its fifth consecutive KingCo title, a first in Mercer Island’s history. Mercer Island earned four pins at the meet, including pins from Pruchno, Trevor Gullstad, Tanner Ranz and Luke Wilson.

“It feels good, but it’s expected,” Wilson said of the Islanders’ fifth title.

While wrestling coach Creighton Laughary echoes that it’s been awhile since the Islanders lost a KingCo match, the year hasn’t been without obstacles to overcome.

“I had some serious doubts at the beginning of the season,” Laughary said. “We had low turnout and some serious injuries, which  required guys to step up. We had some lucky breaks, but I guess we make our own luck as well.”

“We had a couple holes in our lineup,” said Evan Condon, who boasted 20 wins this season. “Chris Richards dislocated his elbow. Usually we have a pretty deep lineup, but this year there were definitely more holes.”

Pruchno echoed Condon, saying the Islanders only went one or two deep at a lot of weights. But he said the team did a good job of bumping up to compete at different weight levels

While the Islanders achieved their goal of winning another KingCo title, the team isn’t dwelling on their most recent feat and are looking ahead toward their next goal.

“It’d be nice to wrap up the KingCo tournament,” said Pruchno.

“Hopefully we can get at least six guys in the finals for KingCo,” added Condon. “It’d be cool if we placed in the top ten for state.”

And Laughary said his wrestlers may also have some extra motivation to finish the season strong. Assistant coach Dave Rosario, in his first season with Mercer Island but with over 20 years of coaching experience in the Seattle area, is calling it quits after this season.

“I don’t want to say ‘win one for the gipper,’ but a nice season and tournament would be a nice sendoff for him.”


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