Chriswell, Kipperberg tapped as All-Americans by national mag

Between the two of them, Brent Chriswell and Josiah Kipperberg had one heck of a senior wrestling season. With individual state titles, a top 10 team finish and a combined match record of 70-2, things couldn’t get much better for the South Kitsap duo – until now.

Both Chriswell and Kipperberg were named to the Wrestling USA Magazine All-American Team, which was released in the magazine’s May 15 issue.

Wrestling USA publishes 12 editions a year and is considered one of the top — if not the best — high school and college wrestling magazines in the country.

“If I’m in the magazine, then I’m really excited,” Chriswell said. “My dad looks through it all the time. I look for new shoes in it but that’s about it.”

But that may change now.

“I thought it was cool,” Chriswell said. “Especially when I saw all those kids (featured in the magazine). I would have never thought I would get something like that.”

But the numbers that Chriswell put up not only this past season but in his three-year high-school career garnered him the recognition. As did Kipperberg’s.

Wrestling USA uses seven factors of consideration in determining its All-American Teams. Some of those factors include overall varsity high school record and accomplishments at the respective individual’s state tournament, any National Junior Freestyle and Greco-Roman success, performances at prestigious regular season high school tournaments, nomination forms and letters of recommendation sent by coaches and parents and academic excellence and citizenship.

“One of our favorite features of the year is the annual Wrestling USA Magazine All-American Teams,” the magazine’s national editor Dan Fickel wrote in his editorial from the May 15 edition. “Each year we are proud to recognize the top high school seniors in the country.”

In all, the magazine listed 13 Dream Teamers, 13 Academic Teamers, 96 other All-Americans and 120 Honorable Mention All-American selections. Forty-seven states are represented from the over 400 nominations received.

Chriswell was one of those 96 All-Americans while Kipperberg was a honorable mention All-American. They are the first-ever South Kitsap wrestlers to receive such an honor.

The pair’s career high school records were used in determining their selections. In three years at South, Chriswell was 105-4 with 90 of those wins by pin while Kipperberg posted a 90-17 mark with 47 pins.

Fickel contacted South Kitsap coach Chad Nass back in the winter wanting numbers on his two state champions. Chriswell had just won his second straight state title in February, while Kipperberg was coming off a title of his own.

Chriswell went undefeated in his senior season, racking up a mark of 36-0 with 31 pins on his way to the 189-pound title while Kipperberg was equally as good, going 34-2 in winning the 112 title at Mat Classic.

Chriswell said getting the honor was nice but seeing Kipperberg getting the same recognition made it even better.

“I think it’s really cool, especially coming out of Washington,” Chriswell said. “Usually, there’s no one out of Washington (getting any recognition). It’s rare anyway. Usually it’s guys in the Midwest or back on the east coast.”

Nass said he thought both had a shot and was really pleased when both made it.

“This is a big deal – it’s huge,” Nass said. “I had a hard time not telling anyone about it. I had to sit on it for a while but when I finally got the word (from Fickel), I was pretty excited.

“I’m not surprised in terms that both of those kids have done everything to be on that list,” Nass said. “Nationally, you put them up against anybody in their weight class and they will stand up right up there with them. It really is quite a feat for them.”

And some really good PR for the program.

Nass said that Chriswell and Kipperberg have been carrying the program’s torch the last couple of years and this kind of national recognition can do nothing but good, especially when the younger kids see what kinds of accolades have been made possible.

“(Hopefully) we’ll have some young kids see this and think ‘I want to be like that’ and step up and shoot for that,” Nass said. “The bar has been raised. You want to be better than the people that came before you and Brent and Josiah are two of the best, so ...”

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