Wolves send 13 to regional meet

The name of the game is getting as many wrestlers through to regionals as possible.

The current South Kitsap High School wrestling team accomplished its goal for the most part, qualifying 13 wrestlers at the sub-regional tournament at Central Kitsap last Saturday for the regional tournament at Snohomish this weekend.

The regional will consist of wrestlers from the Narrows League Bridge Division, WesCo North, and WesCo South.

After years of competing against tough SPSL teams in regional contests, the new-look regionals may provide a breath of fresh air for SK, but there will be no slouches, SK coach Ron Hudiburg said.

Highlighting the WesCo North is Lake Stevens.

After winning the state team title the last two years at the 3A level, Lake Stevens hopes to do the same in its 4A debut this year.

It ran away with the WesCo North team title, beating runner-up Cascade by 85.5 points.

Burke Barnes (125 pounds) hopes to become just the fourth wrestler in state history to win four state titles.

After three state titles at 3A, Barnes will be going for his fourth at the 4A level.

Highlighting the WesCo South is Everett, which is also made a jump to 4A this year.

Everett won the South Division championship well ahead of Kamiak 291-215.5.

SK sent seven wrestlers to the sub-regional finals Saturday but only two — Derek Kipperberg (119) and Pat Kelly (145) — earned No. 1 seeds for regionals.

Dustin Johnson (125) lost a controversial match to CK’s Wes Brisbon.

Tied 7-7 in the waning seconds of the second period, Johnson had an apparent takedown but the ref thought otherwise.

Johnson went on to lose the thrilling match 13-11.

Hudiburg and his assistants voiced his dissatisfaction and was given an unsportsmanlike penalty.

Hudiburg, still upset, was given a second unsportsmanlike penalty and was ejected from the gym.

“It was an iffy call,” Johnson said. “I’ve been in that situation before. Sometimes refs call it and sometimes they don’t. The coach thought it was and I thought it was. The coaches did their job. I’m glad they did what they did.”

Johnson said Hudiburg was right in arguing the call.

Kipperberg, who had been taken down only twice all season, gave up a takedown and reversal points to Olympic’s Ryan Wheeler before pinning Wheeler midway through the second period to earn the 119-pound title.

Sophomore Pat Kelly (145) earned a hard-fought 6-3 decision against CK’s Tyler Cowgill.

To get to the finals, Kelly escaped with a 3-2 win against North Kitsap’s Mike Baker.

Kelly defeated the same two wrestlers two weeks ago at the SK Invitational.

“That’s the kid (Cowgill) I wrestled at our finals and he was tough then, too,” Kelly said. “The coaches got me pumped up and ready for this match and I went after it.”

One of Kelly’s strengths is his ability to ride his opponents.

“In my riding, I kept him knocked down and when I was on the bottom I was fighting to get up the whole time,” he said.

Evan Winslow (160) would have most like won his championship match against Port Angeles’ Brad Luvas. But an illegal slam injured Luvas and was declared the winner, forcing Winslow to settle for second place.

Micah Kipperberg (112), Brendon Little (130), and Jon Potts (215) also placed second after losing their championship matches.

Johnson said he thinks realistically SK can advance five or six wrestlers to state.

“In the postseason it’s all mental from here on out,” Johnson said. “There’s upsets all the time. You gotta have the mental side of it down and be ready all the time.”

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