WRESTLING | Yelm ends 20 years of South Kitsap league dominance

YELM — South Kitsap coaches and wrestlers long have downplayed the significance of its dual-league match winning streak that lasted a generation.

But for opponents, it long has served as motivation.

And one finally was able to take advantage of that as the Wolves lost 47-15 Thursday at Yelm to end its 189 dual-league match winning streak. The last school in the league to defeat South during the regular season was North Thurston in December 1992.

Yelm coach Gaylord Strand said he and his wrestlers were aware of the Wolves’ success before the Tornados moved from Class 3A to 4A Narrows at the beginning of the school year.

“You can’t help it,” said Strand, adding that rival coaches also talked about the streak with him. “It’s on the Internet and in the newspaper.”

Before Thursday, South coach Chad Nass never had seen the Wolves lose a dual-league match as a competitor or coach. Nass, a 1992 South graduate who has coached the program since 2004, was a freshman at Pacific Lutheran University the last time the Wolves suffered a league setback. He said he is not sure if the streak ending relieves pressure on his team moving forward, though.

“I don’t really know,” Nass said. “There’s a part of you that goes, ‘Now we don’t have to worry about that anymore.’ But we never really focused on that, anyway.”

Strand, whose team went undefeated in league this season and did not lose a dual-league match during the last four seasons in 3A Narrows, said he was not convinced his team would defeat South. Including a forfeit win for Yelm at 113 pounds, Strand said he had each team pegged for seven wins.

“I was really worried,” said Strand, who did not know how many consecutive dual-league matches his team has won. “We had some kids win some crucial matches.”

That included some upsets, notably freshman Holden Miller’s 8-6 decision against senior Illya Tsveytkov at 195.

“That was a big surprise for us,” Strand said. “He’s a specimen for us.”

With the match starting at 138, Nass knew his team would have to start quickly because the Tornados were “so tough” in the lighter weights. South wrestlers scored the initial points in 6 of 14 weight classes, but fell behind 13-0 before Sam Skinner won a 5-2 decision at 160.

“To have any chance at all we had to win those matches,” Nass said. “We knew they weren’t going to be easy. Some of them were a little bit of long shots.”

The Wolves also did not dominate many matches. Michael Beard scored the school’s only fall when he pinned Jayce Allred in 2:39 minutes at 182. Yelm scored 30 of its points on pins and a forfeit. Perhaps just as impressive was a dozen of those points came from freshmen. Strand hopes that portends future success — and perhaps a developing rivalry with South.

“We’re going to be solid here for the next three or four years — and hopefully beyond,” he said.

The new rivalry could continue as soon as next week when the schools will meet again at the sub-regional tournament at Foss High School. While Nass praised the effort of his wrestlers, he said the team has plenty to work on before the postseason begins.

“We’ve got to get better technically with our tactical skills,” he said. “We’ve got to have a little better plan when we go out there.”

At Yelm 47, South Kitsap 15

106-Jacob Nolan (Y) p. Matt Pace 2:23. 113-Thomas Munoz (Y) wins by forfeit. 120-Darren Harris (Y) p. Ryan Rea 3:08. 126-Victor Munoz (Y) d. Kieran Holloway 15-2. 132-Tanner Page (Y) d. Adam Lutovsky 15-8. 138-Brian Rochester (Y) d. Joel Sherman 13-0. 145-Dillon Harris (Y) p. Ben de Lacy 4:59. 152-Brandon Rochester (Y) d. Adam Gascoyne 10-7. 160-Sam Skinner (SK) d. Andres Miller 5-2. 170-Bryce Broome (SK) d. Anthony Allred 6-4. 182-Michael Beard (SK) p. Jayce Allred 2:39. 195-Holden Miller (Y) d. Illya Tsveytkov 8-6. 220-Jeff Leuth p. Kyle Kennedy :41. 285-Damien Medeiros (SK) d. Tristan Glaser 5-0.

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