ANACORTES — When the La Conner School District cut the high school’s wrestling program for budget reasons, brothers Elijah and Arjuna Adams knew they didn’t want their prep careers to end.
It’s taken some planning and some getting used to, but both have found a home as wrestlers at Anacortes High School.
Elijah, a senior, and Arjuna, a freshman, have continued their studies at La Conner, but now wrestle for the Seahawks. And both coach Chris McLeod and Seahawks wrestlers say it’s been a good fit.
“They’re hard workers, and they’re committed,” McLeod said.
After La Conner cut wrestling, both wrestlers had to decide where they’d land.
“I knew I wanted to wrestle somewhere, but I wasn’t sure where,” Elijah Adams said. “I decided on here. It’s closer, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun.”
Before the brothers could join the Seahawks, there were some logistics to be worked out.
The Adamses had to provide their own transportation to Anacortes for practices. Elijah Adams, who drives, took care of that.
They also needed to find a spot where the team bus could pick them up on the way to tournaments and league matches away from Anacortes.
Fitting in with their new teammates? That was hardly any trouble at all.
The brothers say they were welcomed as soon as they donned the school’s signature purple.
“I knew one person on the team,” Elijah Adams said. “Now I know everyone on the team.”
Arjuna Adams admits the whole process was odd at first.
“It was a little weird,” he said.
But their new teammates made them feel welcome.
“They’ve been cool. They’ve fit in well,” Seahawks wrestler Carlos Sanchez said.
Junior Conner Smith said it helped that the Adamses are knowledgeable about the sport.
“They came in knowing a lot,” he said.
McLeod said both Adamses proved themselves on the mat, beating teammates to earn varsity spots.
Arjuna Adams has wrestled at the 138- and 145-pound weight classes, McLeod said. Elijah Adams has wrestled at 195 and 220, and even stepped in at 285 when the team needed someone to compete there to avoid a forfeit.
“They’ve been good teammates,” McLeod said.
He said the brothers may go to a different school, but when they step on the mats they’re Seahawks, just like their teammates.
“We’ve got a tight-knit group here,” McLeod said.