Jaguars grind it out on the wrestling mat

North Creek grapplers notching heaps of victories.

Sporting a black eye comes with the wrestling territory.

During a recent 126-pound match, North Creek senior captain Zach Wilson was the recipient of a poke in the left eye and an illegal slam with a trapped arm on his left side.

While discussing the mark under his eye following a recent practice, Wilson is clearly rising above the matter and not letting such situations hinder his or the team’s wrestling prowess. At press time, the Jaguars were 9-0 in league and 15-0 overall.

“I enjoy it. I like the feeling of just going out there and doing your best even if it leaves you with a scar,” Wilson said of the gritty sport. “Being in the mindset that I’m ready to take on my opponent and I’m not timid before the match is really important for me.”

Jaguar head coach Rob Kendrick said that he’s placed solid wrestlers on the mat during North Creek’s first three years as a school and they’ve built on their success in dual matches each season.

At this point in the season, the Jaguars are refining their techniques as the postseason awaits and upping their aggressiveness level.

“We’ve got the right people in the right weight classes and people are doing the right things in the wrestling room,” Kendrick said. “They’re working hard, they’re really focusing on the techniques and that’s paying off in wins in the duals.”

Senior Isabelle Bookout, who wrestles at 130 pounds, said she’s been competing hard this season and has her eyes set on the state meet. She joins junior captain Vivianee Bautista as the two girls on the squad and has been thriving in the wrestling room for the past two years.

“I just really the love the grind. I really fell in love with the sport. It’s so great and it’s taught me so many life lessons,” she said. “I’ve always struggled with confidence in my life, but wrestling really helps you face your fears, it’s just made me stronger. It’s only going up from here.”

Also slotted in captain spots are seniors Nick Mitchell (182 pounds) and Hunter Tretyak (145 pounds).

Mitchell said he’s having one of his best years — staying healthy and in good shape while strengthening his skills. When the spotlight shines on him during matches, Mitchell’s mind and body lock in on the task at hand.

“Definitely part of wrestling is doing what comes natural and trusting in your technique. I don’t really feel that worried when I step out on the mat,” said Mitchell, adding that the Jaguars need to stay healthy and committed to reap further success this season.

Tretyak said that taking things day by day is an important aspect of the Jaguars’ success over the last three years.

“We’ve continually been improving since then and also we’ve been encouraging a lot more work in the offseason as well before we enter the wrestling season,” he said.