EHS previews: plenty of state vets returning

Will the wrestling teams once again advance to the Mat Classic state tourney?

Since White River High doesn’t have its own gymnastics program, Hornet Erin McGinnis will be competing with the EHS team across the river. File photo by Kevin Hanson

Since White River High doesn’t have its own gymnastics program, Hornet Erin McGinnis will be competing with the EHS team across the river. File photo by Kevin Hanson

BOYS WRESTLING

Some key pieces were lost to graduation, but the Enumclaw High wrestling program can still put plenty of battle-tested grapplers on the mat.

Seven current Hornets have performed on the biggest stage, appearing at last year’s Mat Classic, the state championship tournament. That crew includes seniors Cole Bowen, Aidan Carroll and Brandon Cormier; juniors Lorenzo Luchi, Ryder Popke and Tyson Russell; and sophomore Cade Carter.

The EHS squad jumped into the season Saturday with a short trip to Buckley, where they competed in the White River Classic. The season gets rolling in earnest Thursday with a trip to Decatur High and a NPSL Olympic Division battle with the Gators.

GIRLS WRESTLING

A small Enumclaw High girls wrestling team kicked off the 2019-20 season with an appearance at Yelm High’s annual Jump On In tournament.

The Hornet roster features a quartet of wrestlers who advanced a year ago to Mat Classic, the state championships. In the Tacoma Dome, Kenzie Cormier won her first three matches and battled her way to a fourth-place finish at 110 pounds and Natasha Puzon placed fifth at 120. Also making their way to state were Natalie Lessard and Madison Goss.

Cormier and Puzon are seniors this time around, Lessard is a junior and Goss is back for a sophomore season.

Coach Bobby Garcia and his crew started their season last weekend with a trip to Yelm for the Jump On In tournament. Tonight (Wednesday) finds the EHS girls on the road again, this time to an “open night” competition at Decatur High School.

BOYS SWIM & DIVE

The Enumclaw High swim and dive team has jumped into a new season with a handful of experienced competitors.

Leading the way are junior sprinter Ben Jazbutis, junior distance ace Luke Perlot, sophomore Tanner Harms and junior Jacob Hauswirth. Hauswirth is the only Hornet with state meet experience; he qualified the past two seasons in diving, placing sixth a season ago after placing fourth as a freshman.

Among the other familiar names on the roster are senior Ethan Blanco and junior Ricky Bonthuis.

The squad opened the season Dec. 5 with a 95-82 victory over Auburn Riverside at the Enumclaw Aquatic Center (see story page 19). The Hornets will next be in action Dec. 12 when they host the Auburn High School Trojans.

GYMNASTICS

A veteran coach is leading a small Enumclaw High squad into the gymnastics season.

Back in the fold is coach Ben Skipworth oversaw the Hornet squad during its heyday. Skipworth was at the helm during the 2010-11 season when gymnastics made its debut at Enumclaw High. With a talented team of experienced club athletes, the Hornets placed second during that year’s Class 4A state tournament. Skipworth and his crew took things up a notch the next two years, winning a pair of state 4A titles.

After taking a break from the EHS program, Skipworth returned to lead the Hornets during postseason competition a year ago. And now he’s back for a full season, with just 11 girls on his roster.

Skipworth noted the decreased turnout is not unique to Enumclaw. During a preseason meeting of North Puget Sound League coaches, he said, dwindling participation was often mentioned. Enumclaw has, in the past, featured more than 20 girls on the roster.

This year’s squad includes 10 gymnasts from Enumclaw High and one from neighboring White River. Because White River does not offer gymnastics, girls are allowed to practice and travel with the EHS program; during meets, however, White River is scored separately.

Enumclaw students turning out this winter are senior Piper Gunderson; juniors Katie Hardman and Keely Schroeder; sophomores Fabienne Brink and Kaylee Hehr; and freshmen Amilia Brooks, Ashley Dickerson, Jadyn Hanson, Megan Miller and Jenna Tingley.

The lone White River athlete on this year’s roster is senior Erin McGinnes. She’s also the most accomplished gynmast in the group, having competed a year ago in all four events at the state meet. She advanced to the finals in the balance beam, where she placed seventh, and in the floor exercise, placing 17th.

Among the Enumclaw High participants, Hardman is the top returnee. She qualified for last year’s state meet on the beam, where she placed 57th.

This year’s team kicked off the 2019-20 season with a Dec. 4 jamboree at Auburn High School. League competition begins tonight (Wednesday) and has the Hornets hosting their only home meet of the season. Joining EHS will be teams from Thomas Jefferson High, Kennedy Catholic and Kent-Meridian. Action gets under way at 7 p.m. at PEAK Gymnastics.

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