Not being suited up in his wrestling singlet at the Tacoma Dome in February of 2018 for the Mat Classic Class 3A state tournament stuck with Mercer Island Islanders grappler Eli Pruchno all year.
Pruchno, who saw his junior season come to a close at the regional tournament in the 138-pound weight class, is determined to reach the proverbial mountaintop during his final season of high school wrestling. The absolute goal is to compete in the Mat Classic Class 3A state tournament in the 138-pound weight class in February of 2019 at the Tacoma Dome.
“Last year I missed out on state by a couple of matches. It was a really tough regional tournament. Some of the best teams in the state were in our region. This year, I’m really hoping for a state appearance and hopefully placing (finishing in the top eight places). We’ll see what happens,” Pruchno said.
Pruchno said focusing on his diet in order to stay in optimum physical condition is a full-time commitment in itself. Over the summer, Pruchno said he got up to around 160 pounds.
“It is really difficult. I got to monitor everything that goes into my body and I have to run every day. It is really tough and different from any other sport. You have to be aware of what’s happening to yourself at all times. I can’t eat anything that is fatty or salty because I might miss weight,” Pruchno explained.
While Pruchno is focused on his individual goals, he’s just as invested in the team aspect of the sport. The Islanders wrestling team is 3-0 in 3A KingCo action thus far.
“Our goal is to be KingCo champs. We have a really good record and a really solid team. I think we can do it. We want to get as many wrestlers through regionals and to state as we can,” Pruchno said.
With the 2018-19 season moving at a rapid pace, it hasn’t hit Pruchno that his high school wrestling career is nearly over.
“I’m kind of denying that at this moment,” Pruchno said with a smile. “I still have another month or so in this sport. I love wrestling. It has been a huge part of my life. My brother graduated from here (Mercer Island) in 2014. Seeing him go through this inspired me to wrestle. It is definitely something I’m going to miss. I’m going to appreciate every moment in the sport right now.”
Recently the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Pruchno some questions about his life away from wrestling.
Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Eli Pruchno: I have to say, “The Dark Knights Returns.” It is a cool movie. I really like it.
MIR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
EP: When people don’t work hard in the (mat) room. It bothers me because I know I’m working as hard as I can. It is tough to see when people are slacking off.
MIR: Who was your idol growing up?
EP: When it comes to wrestling, someone like Jordan Burrows or Kyle Snyder. They are both world champs.
MIR: What is your favorite restaurant on Mercer Island?
EP: I got to go with Homegrown. They make the best sandwiches in town.
MIR: What is your dream vacation spot?
EP: Anywhere where it is warm, sunny and they got beaches.