The Mat Classic state tournament is a little more than a week away, and the Puyallup High School girls wrestling team hopes it can bring home some hardware.
The Vikings, ranked by the Washington Wrestling Report as the No. 1 girls team in the state, have come a long way since 2011.
“The girls weren’t even on the radar three years ago,” head coach Brian Franich said. “Two years ago, we had two girls go to state and finished at 48th as a team. Last year, we had three girls make it to state, and we finished in seventh as a team. This year, we have 11 girls on the team, and I expect eight of them to make it to postseason. That speaks to the talent we have in this room.”
Haley Franich is a national champion in the 112-pound class, while Jordyn Bartelson is a defending state champ at 124, Brooklyn Bartelson is ranked No. 1 at 118, and Jasmine Tuilaepa is ranked second at 190.
“Rankings don’t really mean anything, but it is a reflection of the hard work that they’ve put in,” Brian Franich said.
Bryan Bartelson, a volunteer coach, said he’s excited about the Mat Classic, which will be held Feb. 21-22 at the Tacoma Dome.
“It’s just a really exciting time for this school and the kids on this wrestling team,” he said. “They have the possibility and great opportunity set in front of them to go out and win a championship. That is just a neat thing, not only for them but everybody in the program all the way around.
“When you look around and see a state champion, you usually see somebody around them that has placed high at state as well,” Bartelson added. “We have a lot of possible state champions in this room. They all work very hard and are pushing each other to get better. They’re excelling quickly. It’s really neat to be able to share that with them.”