SK ready to defend 86-match league winning streak

Only two state qualifiers return, but the talented South Kitsap High School wrestling team returns a wealth of familiar faces.

Senior Derek Kipperberg (119 pounds) highlights the returning wrestlers. He’ll be gunning for a state championship after placing fourth at state last year.

He’ll have to wait another three weeks before hitting the mats, though. He suffered a hairline fracture in his right hand at practice.

Senior Evan Winslow (160), a state qualifier two years ago, just missed state last year in a stacked weight class.

Other returning varsity wrestlers include seniors Kyle Caldon (152), Brendon Little (130-135), Kyle Timbers (112), juniors John Cisney (135), Jacob Kathan (145), Devon Spencer (189) and sophomores Micah Kipperberg (112), and Patrick Kelley (140-145).

SK coach Ron Hudiburg, entering his 18th season at SK, said most of the weight classes have been established, except for the middle weights.

“I honestly don’t know who’s going to be on top between (125 and 145),” Hudiburg said. “It’s going to be a dogfight.”

Another battle will be between Timbers and Kipperberg at 112 pounds.

They were equal to the challenge last year and Hudiburg said it could be the same this year.

Because of the levy failure last year, Hudiburg was able to have freshmen wrestlers.

That opened the door to a 103-pound wrestler. But now that the junior highs have restored their sports programs, Hudiburg finds himself in the usual predicament of searching the halls for a 103-pound student.

The heavyweight weight class is an unknown as well.

Senior Buddy Anderson, who notched some wins last year, isn’t turning out this season.

Senior Chris Krueger may be an option though.

Krueger, who plays football, has never wrestled, but he’s strong and the coaches are optimistic they can mold him.

Sophomore Jon Potts wrestled at heavyweight as a freshman last year but will be in his natural weight class of 215 pounds.

“I’d like to find us a 103,” Hudiburg said. “I think we’re as strong a dual team or better than last year.”

As for the 86-match winning streak in the Narrows League, Hudiburg said he isn’t sure a new streak should be created.

He is referring to the new Narrows League Bridge Division that includes the defunct Olympic League teams.

“The only familiar team we’ve faced (throughout the streak) is Gig Harbor,” Hudiburg said.

The streak is official and will undergo its first challenge Dec. 4 at Stadium.

Though the brief two-year rivalry with Capital is dead, the Wolves will easily create a new rivalry with Central Kitsap, which is also rich in tradition.

Hudiburg said North Kitsap will have some good wrestlers, but the rest of the league will be spotty.

SK will compete in the same tough tournaments this year.

After the Lake Washington Invite Dec. 8, SK’s next big tournament will be the Pacific Coast Championships in Vancouver, Wash. Dec. 28-29.

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