Sports

Wolves earn eighth straight league crown

Maybe the South Kitsap High School wrestling team should re-name itself the Nailbiters instead of the Wolves.

For the last three years, SK has seen its Narrows League dual-match winning streak come oh-so-close to finally ending.

But somehow, some way, the Wolves have found a way to keep it alive, and they did against the Bellarmine Lions with a 37-25 win to clinch their eighth consecutive Narrows League title.

SK entered the unfriendly confines of the Bellarmine Prep gym Thursday night with its 94 dual-match winning streak on the line.

Mostly the roar of the SK crowd could be heard during the first seven matches, during which SK took a 27-3 lead.

The teams opened at the 125-pound classification, meaning the match would end at the 119-pound match.

It was by luck of the draw that the drama grew so intense.

Had the match started at 103, SK probably would have clinched before the last three matches were wrestled and the win would have been more anti-climatic.

Instead, the fans were treated to an emotional rollercoaster.

SK took a comfortable 24-point lead going into the 171-pound match, only to see Bellarmine run off four straight wins to pull within eight points.

An SK forfeit at 103 pounds pulled Bellarmine to 27-25 with Kyle Timbers (112) and Micah Kipperberg (119) left to ward off Bellarmine.

Because of an injury to Brendon Little (130 pounds), SK coach Ron Hudiburg had Timbers wrestle his normal weight but pushed Kipperberg up to 119 and Derek Kipperberg was at 125 and won by forfeit to open the match.

The adjustment paid off.

Timbers earned a major decision (13-4) against Jeff Gazarek to give clinch no worse than a draw.

Entering his match, Micah Kipperberg said he wasn’t concerned about getting pinned.

“I had that feeling in me. It was pretty unlikely I was going to lose,” he said. “Coach just told me, ‘Don’t slam him and don’t hold him. Just go after the win.’ ”

Kipperberg did just that, with an emotional pin with 46 seconds left in the first round.

Timbers said Hudiburg just wanted him to wrestle smart on the mat.

“He didn’t want us to try and get the six points and try to show off,” Timbers said. “He wanted us to go out there and wrestle tough and get the win.”

SK’s John Cisney (140 pounds) and Kipperberg were the only SK wrestlers to record pins.

Kyle Caldon (152) won by technical fall. Other winners included Dustin Johnson (130), Pat Kelly (145), and Evan Winslow (160).

The score was nearly identical to the teams’ first encounter Dec. 6--a 38-24 SK win.

“It was almost exactly the same lineups too,” Hudiburg said. “The only difference is they forfeited to us at 135 and Potts pinned (his guy) but didn’t wrestle the same guy (tonight). I knew if we beat them at 140 and 145 that we’d probably beat them.”

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