North Bend wrestler brings home big national honor

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NORTH BEND - A middle-school wrestler from North Bend recently staked his claim in the national wrestling community when he finished fifth in his 115-pound division at the National High School Coaches' Association National Open Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, VA. in June.

Vince Vasquez, a seventh-grader who wrestles for Chief Kanim Middle School in Fall City, brought home some nice awards for his accomplishment - including a certificate and sculpture - but he isn't letting it get to his head.

"Got to stay humble," Vasquez said.

The competition featured wrestlers of all ages from 48 states wrestling under rules of so-called "folk" wrestling; this form of wrestling is what one would find if they watched a high school match at Mount Si. Vasquez, in his division, competed against nine other wrestlers; one of whom was also from Washington, the rest were from the Eastern United States. Vasquez won his first two matches against wrestlers from Pennsylvania and Virginia. He then lost twice, first to another Pennsylvania wrestler who would go on to win the division, and then to an opponent from Minnesota. Vasquez then beat a wrestler from Alabama to bring home the 5th place trophy.

His dad, also named Vince, is proud.

"[Vince's] a decent little wrestler," said his father.

Wrestler Vince also competes in other forms of the sport, called Greco-Roman and freestyle. He'll be busy starting in October wrestling in other competitions, and that is to last into next year. His father is planning on letting his son wrestle at a higher weight class next year, around 120-125 pounds, but dad's still not going to let all of the new-found success get into his son's head.

"I teach him to be humble because it's a rough sport," said the father.

As to how middle-school competitions help him get prepared, wrestler Vince again shows his humility.

"I just do my best and that's all," said the wrestler.

Vasquez has wrestled for several years; the entire time under the instruction of coach Paul Keiser, and most recently, his coach at Chief Kanim, Tony Schledfeldt.

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