Pac Coast Wrestling to be bigger than ever at Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds

So much space this year for the Pac Coast Wrestling Championships, which will feature 140 boys and girls high school wrestling teams competing on 12 mats at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Photo by Paul Valencia
So much space this year for the Pac Coast Wrestling Championships, which will feature 140 boys and girls high school wrestling teams competing on 12 mats at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Photo by Paul Valencia

Evergreen High School wrestling expects up to 140 boys and girls teams to be competing this week at Pac Coast

Paul Valencia
ClarkCountyToday.com

The Pac Coast Wrestling Tournament has been around for years, presented by Evergreen High School, but it has never been around quite like this year’s event.

No longer at an area high school, one of the biggest high school wrestling events in the Northwest will be held at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds on Thursday and Friday.

Oh, and it will be bigger than ever.

A year ago, when the event was held at Hudson’s Bay High School, the Pac Coast drew 59 teams.

On Thursday and Friday, that number will more than double. 

Jake Wilcox, the head coach of Evergreen wrestling, runs the Pac Coast Wrestling Championships, now in its first year at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. He expects this will be the tournament’s home for years to come. Photo by Paul Valencia
Jake Wilcox, the head coach of Evergreen wrestling, runs the Pac Coast Wrestling Championships, now in its first year at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. He expects this will be the tournament’s home for years to come. Photo by Paul Valencia

Jake Wilcox, the head coach at Evergreen, said it was important to bring girls wrestlers to the Pac Coast, but in order to offer that opportunity, the event needed a bigger venue.

On Wednesday, wrestlers from Evergreen High School and other volunteers set up the Event Center into a wrestling room — a very large wrestling room.

This year will feature 12 mats and has as many as 140 teams — boys and girls — representing more than 80 schools.

“It’s a legacy for me. It’s a lasting impression I can leave on the sport of wrestling,” Wilcox said of helping to make Pac Coast bigger than ever.

“I can’t think of anything that was more monumental and impactful in my life than me becoming a wrestler,” Wilcox said.

Wrestlers set up one of 12 mats that will be used at this week’s Pac Coast Wrestling Championships at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Photo by Paul Valencia
Wrestlers set up one of 12 mats that will be used at this week’s Pac Coast Wrestling Championships at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Photo by Paul Valencia

No, he added, he was never great as a wrestler. He described himself as an “OK” wrestler. But the sport did so much for him, which is why he is coaching the sport now.

“The mindset, the mental toughness of being a wrestler, it got me through … the hardships in life,” Wilcox said. “I wanted to give back to the sport of wrestling. This is my way, my way to thank wrestling.”

The Pac Coast has always been presented by Evergreen wrestling, but it has had several venues. When Evergreen High School went through a renovation, its gym got smaller. So the wrestling tournament moved to Mountain View High School. Then to Hudson’s Bay High School.

Now, the bigger venue.

Wilcox said the Event Center has been great to work with for this tournament. Administrators there, he said, want to host more sporting events in the future.

In fact, the state of high school wrestling, as we know it, could change in the coming years, Wilcox said. For decades, Mat Classic — high school wrestling state championships for all classifications under one roof — has been held at the Tacoma Dome. Well, there is no guarantee that the dome will be available in the coming years.

The wrestling community has to be prepared for changes, Wilcox said. He theorized that state wrestling could be separated, with some classifications at one facility, and other classifications at another facility.

“This could be a precursor for things to come for wrestling in the state,” Wilcox said.

Yes, the Clark County Event Center could one day host a state tournament. And a huge two-day event could show the wrestling community the event center’s potential as well as things to improve for the chance to land a state tournament. 

First, the Pac Coast Championships.

Signage for the Pac Coast Wrestling Championship will be put up by the time the tournament starts on Thursday. Photo by Paul Valencia
Signage for the Pac Coast Wrestling Championship will be put up by the time the tournament starts on Thursday. Photo by Paul Valencia

Wrestling starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday and will go all day. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. Friday. The hope, Wilcox said, is that there will be a break around 4 p.m. to set up the arena for finals. The finals are tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, with two mats — a boys championship mat and a girls championship mat.

Cost is the same as last year: $20 for a two-day pass or $12 per day, or $16 and $10 for senior citizens and students. There is a $6 parking fee each day at the fairgrounds.

“It’s awesome for Clark County, for all of Southwest Washington,” Wilcox said.


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