One opponent stands between the Snohomish High School wrestling team and an undefeated march to the Western Conference North Division championship. Snohomish (7-0 in Wesco North dual meets) wraps up its impressive regular season 7 p.m. tomorrow night at Monroe (1-6).
A week ago Snohomish surged into first place by beating the top-ranked Lake Stevens Vikings (6-1). The Panthers’ 34-18 victory (click here for the full story) ended Lake Stevens’ streak of 117 consecutive league dual-meet triumphs, an incredible run that began in 1993.
Snohomish’s match against Monroe is interesting because of its league-title implications. An added layer of intrigue stems from the presence of Snohomish wrestler Sam Ottow, a 2007 state runner-up for Monroe who transferred to Snohomish during the summer.
A huge crowd showed up for the Snohomish vs. Lake Stevens clash last week. Leading up to the meet, Snohomish coach Kevin Judkins and some of his athletes were disappointed that the meet was moved to the school’s new gym. Usually the Panthers host wrestling meets in their old gym, known at The Pit.
But to accommodate more fans Judkins agreed to shift from The Pit to the much-larger main gym. Judkins worried that his team was giving up its home-court advantage but said the change was the best way to promote wrestling.
Snohomish did just fine in its main gym, but the setting doesn’t compare to that of The Pit. Here’s what Judkins and Panther wrestler Stefan St. Marie said about the beloved venue on Jan. 10, a week before the big Lake Stevens meet.
Judkins: “It’s a wrestling venue. The crowd’s sitting up above you in the wood bleachers and it gets hot in there and it’s loud no matter what.”
St. Marie: “It feels like an old movie. It’s all sweaty and it’s so hot in there. Everyone’s yelling. You can bang on the wood (bleachers) and make a lot of noise. The whole atmosphere, it’s more of a fight and everyone’s in on it, rather than being a show.”