Trace Fischlin has taken the reigns and is proving that Sumner High wrestling can be a surprise team this year out of the Class 4A.
In fact, the Spartan senior had some pretty choice words in describing his team.
“I think we’re going to be pretty darn tough to beat,” Fischlin said.
So far on the season, Sumner, the No. 7-ranked team in 4A, has proven those words true.
Sumner wrestling has a surprise brewing as the second half of the wrestling gets set to kick off this week with the start of the new year. Inside the little gym behind the basketball court, coach Matt Harshman has established a mindframe every wrestler who walks through those doors must adopt.
“Be great every day and get better,” Harshman told his team before a recent practice.
I think it’s a mindset that we’re going to not let up. We’ve decided as a team that we’re going to work our hardest at practice and wrestle tough at tournaments.
Harshman expects nothing but the best from his wrestlers, and from setting those high marks, the Spartans are starting to believe that themselves —starting with Fischlin.
“I think it’s a mindset that we’re going to not let up,” said Fischlin, the No. 4-ranked 152-pounder in the 4A according to Washington Wrestling Report. “We’ve decided as a team that we’re going to work our hardest at practice and wrestle tough at tournaments.”
Ever since Sumner used the reclassification cycle to move up into the 4A and into the South Puget Sound League, all the school’s sports teams have heard is how the outside world has overlooked this valley school.
It’s the way of life of a school that moves from the 2A to the 3A and now resides in the 4A — all within a four-year period.
Fischlin has heard it all and then some more over his time with the wrestling team.
“I think people overlook us a little bit,” Fischlin said. “I mean we’re one of the smaller 4A schools, so it’s not hard to see why bigger schools will overlook us. But that gives us a little motivation to prove that we belong.”
I think people overlook us a little bit.
It has created a little chip on the shoulders of the wrestling program, and its early-season results have shown as Sumner (3-0) currently sits a half match lead over second-place Curtis (2-0, No. 2-ranked team in 4A) in the SPSL, and their duel meet on Jan. 11 could be the meet that determines the league title.
“In any head-to-head meet, I’ll take my guys over any other team out there,” Harshman said. “I have that faith in them to match any team. We may not be deep to rank high up as we could at tournaments, but our guys fight and never give up. We’re always able to get several guys into the semifinals.”
Now it’s about Sumner closing out on those chances taking it the next level.
“When I was out for a few weeks earlier in the season, I saw how we could work harder. That the team could do a lot more,” Fischlin said. “When I came back, the intensity picked up during practice. I believe that’s because they saw what I saw and felt there was more to give.”
Practices have picked up and the results have the Spartans beginning to match league opponents during the week, while getting as many of their wrestling deep into the championship brackets of tournaments on the weekends.
And it all start with having that mindset Harshman has set — one every Spartan must adapt to once they step through those doors in the gym.
Be great, every day.
“We work hard every practice, finding motivation from each other to get better,” said CJ Richmond, the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 126 in 4A. “And when we don’t have tournaments go our way, it motivates us to work harder the next Monday.”
A state title run may not be in store for Sumner wrestling this Mat Classic XXIX, but the Spartans are gearing up for one heck of a surprise once they reach the Tacoma Dome.
“I think people will start to notice us,” Fischlin said.