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Wolves send four to state
"For a quartet of South Kitsap High School wrestlers, their accomplishments this season are now footnotes as they battle the state's best at Mat Classic XIII at the Tacoma Dome on Friday and Saturday.The foursome of seniors Lowell Bosch (171), Art Lim (135), Aaron Kipperberg (119), and junior Derek Kipperberg (112), survived heavy competition at the 4A Region 2 meet at Foss High School in Tacoma last weekend to advance to the elite tournament.Bosch became the first SK wrestler to capture an individual title since Arwin Snay and Brad Jackson accomplished the feat two years ago.After entering sub-regionals without ever winning an individual title, Bosch suddenly finds himself with a pair of titles.By earning the No. 1 seed in state, Bosch guaranteed himself of facing a No. 4 seed in the first round.He will face Ryan Auld of Bothell in the first round. A win against Auld would pit him against Angel Betacourt (Eisenhower) or Marco Boccato (Decatur).One thing Bosch doesn't control is the positioning of the bracket.SK coach Ron Hudiburg said anything can happen at the tournament but was pleased Bosch would have a decent path to the semifinals before facing in all probability Brent Lang of Oak Harbor, who made quick work of Bosch at the Lake Washington Invitational early in the season.The other favored wrestler to win the 171-pound title, Dan Pitsch of Spanaway Lake, is on the opposite end of the bracket.Bosch wouldn't have to face Pitsch until the final.This is all good news for Bosch, who said his goal is to place in the top eight.But for now Bosch is excited about his prospects at state and vows to do a better job than the two-and-out performance he had at state as a sophomore two years ago.I was just lost, Bosch said. I didn't know what to do. Hopefully that won't happen this time.Bosch said he's entering the tournament with the most confidence he's had in himself.He gives credit to his early physical conditioning, but more importantly he said it's his mental toughness that has helped him through.He said his regional championship match against Sumner's Kurt Evans is a perfect example of that.I had no idea I was going to beat that guy, Bosch said. I wasn't nervous at all. I think I wrestle best when I'm not nervous.Hudiburg said he can envision Bosch placing at state.He's finally gotten more aggressive and a little more confident, Hudiburg said. It's a tough weight class at state, but if he gets in there and wrestles well as he did today (at regionals), he could get a medal.After an abysmal performance at regionals last year, Aaron Kipperberg redeemed himself by earning third place at regionals, though he started out similar to last year with a crushing first-round defeat.The difference was his ability to battle through two loser-out matches.To get to the third-place match and earn a berth to state, Kipperberg had to face Tahoma's John Maryanski.Trailing 7-5 with one minute remaining, Kipperberg scored a reversal and three near-fall points to pull out the win.He coasted to a 7-0 win against Bryon Bromley of Gig Harbor to earn third place.He now faces Mickey Elliot, a No. 2 seed from Spanaway Lake. Kipperberg faced Elliot at the Lake Washington Invitational and won by a narrow margin.Though the brackets are tough, Kipperberg also has a decent draw.Unless he made it to the finals, Kipperberg wouldn't have to face Matt Boyovich of Kentwood or Brett Wagner of Rogers of Puyallup.He also wouldn't have to face Michael Roggenkamp of Enumclaw until the semifinals.The 119-pound weight class does not have a returning state champion, nor does the 112-pound weight class for Derek Kipperberg.Derek Kipperberg, second at regionals, wrestles John Garcia of Oak Harbor, the No. 3 seed from the Region 3 tournament.If Kipperberg wins, he will likely face Luke Kuhn of Gonzaga Prep, who pinned Kennewick's Josh Williams (a 103-pound state champion last year) at the regional final in Spokane.Kipperberg wouldn't have a shot at a rematch with Gig Harbor's Jen Easton unless they met at the finals.Kipperberg said there's obviously a history with some of these wrestlers, but said it's important to look forward.Once you get to the next level you look for the next level, Kipperberg said. It never ends.Though this is the junior's first trip to state as a participant, Kipperberg said he'll be ready.I'll be mentally ready for it because I've watched a lot of it, he said. You just have to block out (the distractions). Some people really look at the crowd, but so what? The focus is wrestling.Lim, like Aaron Kipperberg, is making first and only trip to state.The only good news about Lim's first opponent is that of the four No. 1 seeds he could have drawn, University's Tommy Owen wasn't the one.Owen (143-8 in his career) is a two-time state champion and a runner-up last year. He will face Benson Henderson of Decatur in the first round.Lim, also the school's ASB president, said he's going to make the best of his trip.I'm just glad I moved on, Lim said. That was my main goal. Now I just have to be mentally prepared. It's just a big mental game. You need to be prepared to lose and come back. This is the end of my career but it's a good way to finish...going to state.Hudiburg echoed Lim's sentiments about the mental strain of the tournament.It's all a mind game, Hudiburg said. A lot of kids just can't take the pressure. "