Cory Vombaur has the keys to the wrestling room at Camas High School.
After winning a state championship at Evergreen High School, in Vancouver, and becoming a four-time NCAA qualifier at the University of Wyoming, Vombaur takes over a thriving wrestling program in Camas after Glenn Hartman retired.
Vombaur served as an assistant coach last season. Hartman let him run the practices, while both of them coached during matches. Now, it’s the Vombaur show.
“I love to compete. If it’s Monopoly, I’m trying to win,” Vombaur said. “I hope to instill that in my wrestlers. They might not always win, but I want them to keep fighting for as many points as possible.”
Captains Talon Edmiston and Bryant Elliott say Vombaur pushes them and their teammates to the limit every day. Together, they are trying to start a wrestling dynasty. There is a different logo on the singlets they wrestle in with the same “Camas Pride” message seen around town.
“Camas is successful in athletics, and I want wrestling to be a big part of that,” Vombaur said. “I’m proud to live in Camas. I know my wrestlers are proud to live here. We just want to represent that pride we all have on our uniforms.”
Battle Ground beat Camas 36-31 Wednesday, in the first match of the season. Edmiston, Elliott, Triston Groth, Michael Strickland, Dominic Delgado, Rylan Thompson and Sam Malychewski earned solid victories for the Papermakers.
“As a senior, it feels good to start off with a win. Seeing the team lose as a whole was really hard because we’re a family,” Edmiston said. “I’m looking forward to getting right back to work with these guys. Embrace the grind.”
Camas clinched third place at a tournament in Oregon City Saturday. Edmiston earned second place and Elliott took third place. Camas also sent seven girls to a tournament in Yelm. For most of them, it was their first wrestling match.
“I pushed hard for a girls team,” Vombaur said. “It’s good for the school and the district, and it’s good for the sport. I hope next year we get an even better turnout.”
Elliott finished in fifth place at the state tournament last season. This time around, as a senior, he would like a shot at the title.
“It’s not going to come easy,” Elliott said. “It’s all up to me. I could have the best coaches, but it doesn’t matter if I don’t work hard.”
Vombaur said Elliott is fun to watch on the mat, but he has also learned to listen to criticism and let it make him stronger.
Elliott agrees. There were times as a freshman and sophomore when he only cared about his own performance. Through maturity, he has learned that he doesn’t win without his team.
“I tell the guys to find that one thing you need to work on after a match and get after it,” Elliott said. “Nobody wrestles the perfect match. Not even if you are a national champion.”
Perfect advice for a team of Papermakers.