Cody Vigoren and the Lake Stevens wrestling team have lost three matches this season, an unprecedented result with the recent success of the Vikings.
But they’re not too worried about it.
As Lake Stevens prepares for a showdown with Wesco 4A North rival Snohomish tonight the Vikings still have their eyes on the prize: Mat Classic.
“I think we’re going to come back and win it at state,” said Vigoren, currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 195 pounds by washingtonwrestlingreport.com. “I think we will. We lost to Moses Lake here at home and Roseburg, an Oregon team. And we just lost to Tahoma at the South Kitsap tournament. But I think we’re going to come back and do it and we’re going to do it when it matters.
“At the state tournament.”
Snohomish wrestling hosts Lake Stevens in a key Wesco 4A North match tonight at 7:15 p.m.
If Lake Stevens, the defending 4A champion and winners of five of the past seven state titles, is going to repeat at state this season Vigoren will be a huge part of it. The junior finished fourth at the state tournament in Tacoma last season while wrestling in the 170-pound weight class after missing the postseason his freshman year due to a neck injury after playing football.
“I wrestled most of the year at 160 and my neck flared up from football — some discs and stuff — and I didn’t get to finish the postseason,” Vigoren said of his freshman year. “I finished most of the season. I just didn’t get to go to regionals and districts.”
Vigoren responded with a strong sophomore campaign where he was one of nine Lake Stevens wrestlers to place at the state tournament. Having that experience has motivated Vigoren to work hard every day in the hopes of getting back to Mat Classic.
“It was awesome. It was a lot of fun,” Vigoren said of state. “I can’t really explain it but it’s exciting to know that it’s coming up in another month. I want to get back pretty bad. Especially knowing with the team that we’ve got, we could do some damage. It’ll be a lot of fun to see how we do.”
Earlier this month, Vigoren won the 195-pound title at the prestigious Doc Buchanan Invitational in Clovis, Calif., where he defeated the second- and third-ranked wrestlers in the state of California. In the championship match, Vigoren pinned his opponent in 1 minute, 1 second.
Lake Stevens head coach Brent Barnes said having Vigoren, who also has a 3.95 grade point average, on the Vikings is a tremendous boost. Vigoren was named a team captain as a junior, which isn’t all that common for the Lake Stevens team.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” Barnes said. “He’s just that type of person. He’s willing to take on that duty. He takes ownership of the program and handles himself very well. He’s well-spoken and respected by his teammates.”
Vigoren doesn’t play football anymore, but is a member of the Vikings’ baseball team. Barnes said that he will be able to get a scholarship for either sport after high school.
The choice will be up to Vigoren.
“It’s really good for our whole sports program to have a kid that doesn’t specialize and works hard in all his sports,” Barnes said. “He’s going to be a college athlete someday. He has a huge, high ceiling. He could do it in wrestling or baseball. He’s going to have a lot of choices.
“He’d be a three-sport athlete. He has some chronic (neck) stinger issues. They told him that he would probably have some lifelong problems if he continued with football career. He’d be out there for everything if he could. He’s a throwback kid. He wants to do anything.”
It’s still early, but at the moment Vigoren is leaning toward continuing his wrestling career in college.
“I like them both a lot,” Vigoren said. “But I think I’d probably rather wrestle in college, though, because I think I wrestle at a higher level than I play baseball.”
The junior said he loves wrestling at Lake Stevens, and the family atmosphere that the Vikings have developed.
“I like to work hard and wrestling requires a lot of work,” Vigoren said. “My older brother wrestled and he also played football. I just kind of followed in his path and did the same three sports ever since I was four or five. It’s a lot of fun. Just being a part of something that’s so big. It’s honestly, bigger than wrestling. Everybody comes together. It’s like a family.”
And Vigoren said that family doesn’t envision losing very much — if at all — the rest of the way.
“We’re kind of taking it as a wake-up call,” Vigoren said. “We need to start getting better. We need to improve. We’ve got to work harder and we’ve got to work smarter. Hopefully it pays off. We’re going to come back and prove who the best is at Mat Classic.”