Jeff Muraki believes his Thomas Jefferson High School girls wrestlers are the ones that will be more prepared and better suited to win the match.
When it is time for regionals and Mat Classic, he devises a script that his girls need to follow in order to win.
And nobody follows it better than sisters Jasmine and Raisa Pleasants.
“My way of coaching is that once we get into regionals and state, I have game plans that I tell them they have to execute,” Muraki said. “If they don’t execute the game plan, in my opinion, they won’t have success.”
And theses sisters have had plenty of success. Even if it’s not as much as they would like.
In their youth, Jasmine, a senior, and Raisa, a junior, found their start in club wrestling.
Jasmine fell in love with the sport after watching their older brother Dylan.
Raisa followed suit, but only after watching Jasmine.
“I started doing it because I saw her, and at first, I was kind of scared,” Raisa said. “But I thought, ‘If she can do it, I can, too.’ ”
While Raisa was still at the club level, Jasmine entered Jefferson’s program and began working with Muraki.
“I have to give her parents credit because I told her mom and dad that girls high school wrestling is different than club wrestling,” he said. “There are very good wrestlers here and there’s certain techniques that Jasmine will have to learn to be successful.
“I told the parents that I can get her to become a state champ if you let me do what I need to do.”
Jasmine entered the Tacoma Dome for the state championships her freshman year, but she was coming off a loss in the first round of the Kelso Tournament.
But then she stormed to a state title. Jasmine defeated Puyallup’s Brooklyn Bartelson, the younger sister of four-time state champion Jordyn Bartelson, in the 112-pound weight class to win her first state title.
“[Club wrestling] helped definitely a lot,” Jasmine said. “Because middle school, you know, is pretty crappy and club wrestling has helped us a lot. That’s why we are more advanced than a lot of people.”
Jasmine had taken the first, and maybe most important, step toward joining the elite club of four-time state champions, which currently has two members — Jordyn Bartelson and Kiona-Benton graduate Sheridan McDonald.
But then injuries happened.
An elbow injury sidelined Jasmine as as sophomore. Raisa entered Jefferson last year and they reached the Mat Classic together.
But Jasmine injured her shoulder during the 130-pound finals. She placed second and Raisa would place third in the 100-pound class.
“Obviously, I wanted to make the finals because that’s what I was focusing on,” Raisa said. “But just the whole experience itself was really cool to see and I know that I’m, hopefully, going to be there in the following years.”
Both sisters know that they are capable of taking state titles home. But they are also looked to as leaders of the wrestling team.
During warmups, its Jasmine calling out the stretches. And when Jasmine is not there, Raisa is the one calling them out; a role that she hopes she will get more used to once Jasmine graduates.
“They already look at (Raisa) as a leader,” Jasmine said. “She may not be an upperclassman leading the stretches but she already is a leader on the team.
“People look up to her. She’s a great wrestler.”
Jasmine and Raisa feed off of each other on the mat. Off the mat, they are best friends and the love they have for each other runs deep.
How much would it mean for them to win titles in the same year?
“It would mean everything,” Jasmine said. “She’s my best friend and we do everything together, so that would be so great and be so much fun. It would be awesome.”
Raisa’s eyes began to tear up.
“Obviously, I would be really proud of her,” Raisa said. “I just don’t feel it (would be) as surprising because she is amazing.”
Of course, her coach would be proud, too.
“From their perspective, they probably think that I want it more than they do,” Muraki said. “But I think of them as two of the better girls in the state, and they should be able to win it.”
Jordan Whitford: 253-597-8680