SVSJ preview: Mount Si wrestling looks to make mark in 4A this season

EDITOR’S NOTE: We close out our Valley winter high school sports preview series today with a look at Mount Si High School’s wrestling team. 

Mount Si High School’s wrestling team is poised to be an instant contender in the Kingco 4A conference in its first season as part of the league.

The Wildcats, who were one of the top teams the past several seasons within the Kingco 3A conference, look to build on that success as they make the move up to 4A. Returning as coach for his sixth season at the helm is longtime local wrestling coach Tony Schlotfeldt. Schlotfeldt has a strong group of athletes returning.

Leading that group is senior Gunnar Harrison. Harrison, who will wrestle at the 138-lb. weight class, is ready for the season. “We’ve got a lot of seniors this year and a couple of kids from out of state that joined our program, so it’ll be exciting,” Harrison said. Among the out-of-state kids who have transferred in is one that, while he may only be here for one year, could be one of the top athletes on this team once all is said and done at Mat Classic next March.

Mark Mulligan is his name, and he will be a senior this season for the Wildcats. He comes to Mount Si from Cary, North Carolina, a city that is smack dab in the middle of what is known as the “Research Triangle” region around Raleigh and Durham. Mulligan last season, as a junior, made the North Carolina high school state wrestling tournament in the 160 lb. weight class, and finished the season a whopping 41-11 overall in individual matches. This winter, Mulligan will be moving up to the 170 lb. weight class, and Schlotfeldt expects him to make an impact right away. “He’s bringing a lot of leadership to the room right off the bat. We like him, he’s a good kid. He’s been’to state over there, so were hoping he can continue that trend over here and elevate our program,” the coach said.

Another senior to keep an eye on is a girl. Annie Rasmussen is her name. “She’s trying it out for the first time,” according to Schlotfeldt, but the coach tells the SVSJ she’s really no stranger to some of the more physical aspects of the sport, having worked with local mixed martial arts trainer Frankie Orr in the past. There is an overall rise in female participation in the sport, and it will be interesting to watch how Rasmussen’s overall success could impact future growth of girls’ turnouts at Mount Si for wrestling.

Senior Justin Edens is another top returner to pay attention to. He’s expected to wrestle at 152 lbs. and has a game plan for how he will handle the new competition of Kingco 4A this season. “I’m not going to overthink it and psyche myself out I’m just going to wrestle. I’m going to wrestle and win the matches I’m going to win,” he said.

When the SVSJ visited the team’s practice this past Monday to do interviews for this preview, the Journal spotted coaches performing skin checks on wrestlers. Skin infections are a common concern in the sport of wrestling; according to the Isport website, these infections include ringworm, impetigo and herpes simplex. Schlotfeldt says it’s important for the program to remain vigilant.

“We just try to keep on top of it. We had a rough year about three years ago and since then we’ve just installed a bunch of new policies. We check our skin every day for anything that looks suspicious,” he said. If problems are found, those athletes are not permitted to practice or compete, according to the coach. Other measures, such as proper cleaning and disinfecting of wrestling mats, are also employed by the program to help combat the spread of potentially serious infections in athletes.

Mount Si’s schedule, in addition to Kingco 4A competition, will include a home date with Cedarcrest in January, and several Saturday tournaments. Not among those Saturday tournaments this season, however, is the perennially tough Spud Walley event in Sedro Woolley; that tournament, next weekend, was canceled due to the host school likely not having enough eligible wrestlers to compete due to their current playoff run in football. Mount Si has, according to Schlotfeldt, replaced that with an event in Tacoma, and the team also is slated to compete in the big Best of the West event over in Pasco, along with events in Everett and Centralia this season.

Top teams likely to be a challenge for the Wildcats within the Kingco include Issaquah and Skyline. Mount Si and the Kingco will also compete against the Narrows League in state regionals this season.

The Wildcats open the season with a jamboree on Tuesday night at Liberty HS, and their first home meet comes next Thursday night, against Redmond. Matches start at 7:30 p.m. The meet against Cedarcrest is January 12, at Mount Si High School.

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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