Wrestling: Hartmann, Wilson win state championships for South Kitsap

South Kitsap State Champions
Year     Wrestler                      Weight
1976    Jim Cutchall                285
1977    Ron Coppinger            115
1979    Dave Dyess                  141
1981    Dean Purdue               129
1989    Lee MacDiarmid         122
1992    Chad Nass                   141
1994    Tuan Nguyen               115
1996    Stuart MacDiarmid     159
2002    Derek Kipperberg       119
2005    Brent Chriswell           171
2006    Josiah Kipperberg       112
2006    Brent Chriswell           189
2011    Terrill Wilson              119
2011    Conner Hartmann       189

There are numerous outlines of Washington state along the beige wall at Maguire Wolf Den.

Each one represents past South Kitsap wrestlers who have placed at Mat Classic. And for the first time since 2006, the first-place state will add two more names as seniors Conner Hartmann and Terrill Wilson won Class 4A state championships Saturday at Mat Classic XXIII at the Tacoma Dome.

But among the Wolves’ 13 individual state-title winners, perhaps none were more surprising than Wilson.

“It’s a story we’ll talk about forever,” South coach Chad Nass said. “Nobody else thought he had a shot, but he did.”

On Friday, he upset the top-ranked 119-pounder in the quarterfinals with a 7-6 win against Bryce Evans of Rogers. A two-time state runner-up, Evans entered state with a 35-0 record. Wilson, who was ranked fifth in his weight class in the 4A classification, had a pair of takedowns against him in the third period.

But he was not finished there.

Wilson, who finished with a 31-5 record, returned Saturday to upset the state’s second-ranked wrestler in his classification, Ryan Rodorigo of Lake Stevens, 7-5, in the semifinals.

The championship match was not much easier for Wilson, who entered the Tacoma Dome unranked in his classification. Wilson needed just nine seconds to earn a 2-0 lead on a takedown against Central Valley’s Colton Orrino. But Orrino scored on a stall later in the period and led 3-2 headed into the final round. Wilson then tied it, 3-all, in the third period and nearly scored on a takedown before regulation ended.

“Most of my opponents try to get the jump on me because they know I’m really quick, so they try and go first,” Wilson said. “I just felt like I used that to my advantage and that’s how I won it.”

Wilson won the title when Orrino was cautioned for a third time with 13 seconds left in overtime, which is an automatic point.

“I felt like it wasn’t the best win or it wasn’t the most dramatic win,” said Wilson, adding that he hopes to assist Nass in the future.

It was not always easy. Wilson said he was persuaded by coach Steve Smith to turn out as a freshman for the first time at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City, Kan. He advanced to state there, but moved to Port Orchard in 2008 when his parents decided to retire here.

Wilson finished fourth at regionals as a sophomore – the top three placers qualified for state that year. He finished seventh at 119 last year.

“He’s as tough as they come,” said Nass, who moved Wilson from 125 to 119 as the postseason approached because he felt he matched up better with his competition in that weight class. “I don’t think there’s a stronger pound-for-pound wrestler in the state. I don’t care what weight. And he’s so quick. It’s just a matter of being able to put it together for six minutes at a time.”

Hartmann’s ascension to state champion was much different. After placing second last year at 171 at state – he lost a 5-2 decision against Auburn’s Dylan Rutledge – Hartmann long was the state’s top-ranked wrestler in his class.

With Rutledge moving up to 215, Hartmann had few challengers this season. He pinned his first two opponents at state before earning a 5-4 decision against Snohomish’s Mark Morrill in the semifinals.

“I felt like my semis match was tougher than my finals match,” Hartmann said. “He was good.”

That set up a rematch against Thomas Jefferson’s K.W. Williams, who nearly upset Hartmann a week earlier at regionals in Shelton. Williams had two takedowns in the first round of that match before Hartmann prevailed, 9-6.

“Last time I had some trouble defending his shots,” Hartmann said. “I did some defense work and it paid off.”

Hartmann, who finished the season with a 37-0 record, said nearly losing was a motivation. But he also cited the prospect of graduating after losing a championship match. That last occurred in 2008 when Matt Foxworthy, who now competes at North Idaho College, lost the title match at 215.

“I’ve seen so many of my close friends, my older friends,” Hartmann said. “They talk about getting second and how it was their senior year and it haunts them 20 or 30 years down the road. I wanted to get that final step; otherwise I would always regret it.”

In addition to Hartmann and Wilson, Cody Barich placed third at 145, while Kris Fenton was sixth at 152. They helped the Wolves finish sixth in 4A with 77 team points. Lake Stevens was first with 129.5 points.

“We had a great tournament,” Nass said. “It was just unbelievable.”

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