South Kitsap sends five wrestlers to state finals

"It's not an exact science, but the half rule tends to ring true at wrestling regionals.South Kitsap High School wrestling coach Ron Hudiburg said the half rule means half the number of wrestlers that qualify for regionals move on to the state tournament.That theory held true for SK as it advanced five of its 10 wrestlers to the Tacoma Dome for Mat Classic XII, which begins Friday at 10 p.m. and continues all day Saturday.We figured we'd get five kids, Hudiburg said. Didn't know exactly who they were, but we (coaching staff) had some pretty good ideas.The Wolves advanced the hard way, with four of the five wrestlers needing to win in the consolation bracket to stay alive.Jake Sheppard (189 pounds) was the only SK wrestler to win both matches last Friday to set up his championship bout Saturday against Kentwood's Luke Hetherington.Trailing 4-0 early in the match, Sheppard knotted the score at 6-6 with a takedown, but Hetherington countered with a takedown to win the match 8-6.Arwin Snay (119), Micky Dougherty (135), Evan Winslow (145) and Nick Williams (171) were forced to wrestle loser-out matches on Saturday. But they battled their way through the consolation bracket and came out with top-four finishes to qualify for the state tourney.After losing to Kentwood's Matt Boyovich 8-3 in the second round, Snay coasted through the bracket and took third place after manhandling Towner Buck of Kentlake 13-4 in the consolation final.Dougherty went the same route as Snay but had to settle for fourth place after suffering a concussion against Enumclaw's Quintin Josie in the consolation final.After many minutes of laying motionless, Dougherty was wheeled off in a stretcher and taken to the hospital. His status for this weekend was doubtful Monday. It was his third concussion of the season.Williams battled back from Friday's disappointing overtime loss to Nate Nead of Tahoma and stormed his way to a third-place finish.Williams said going through the back door is something all too familiar to him.This always happens to me, Williams said. That's the third time in a row I've had to do that.Williams said the early loss acted as a motivating factor the rest of the tournament.After my first win, I really picked it up. I knew that if I didn't wrestle this (consolation final), I wouldn't be going to state, he said.Winslow, a sophomore and only SK underclassman going to state, is relishing his accomplishment. After placing fourth at regionals, Winslow is hoping to place at state.That's the goal, he said. I had a slump in the middle of the year and then I snapped out of it two matches before the regular season was over.Winslow also lost Friday night, but he used that loss as a motivating tool.I just said to myself to start over, forget about yesterday's match and get through, he said."

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