Kipperberg brings home title
June 12, 2008 · Updated 2:19 PM
As a sophomore, South Kitsap High School wrestler Derek Kipperberg was forced to sit out the season because of a dislocated elbow.
There was always next year to become a state champion.
His junior year as a 112-pounder went smoothly until he lost a heartbreaker in the state semifinals.
A tearful Kipperberg managed to bounce back and split his next two matches to take fourth.
Foiled again, Kipperberg had one last chance to accomplish a goal that eluded him the last two years.
Undaunted and fearless, Kipperberg rolled through the competition to capture the 119-pound state championship last weekend at Mat Classic XIV in the Tacoma Dome.
SK senior Evan Winslow lost his first-round match only to come back through the consolation bracket to snag fourth place.
Other SK wrestlers didnt fare as well.
Sophomores Micah Kipperberg (112 pounds) and Pat Kelly (145) went two and out.
Junior Dustin Johnson (125) and senior Kyle Caldon (152) suffered a similar fate.
Derek Kipperberg capped his magical run with an 8-3 win against Kamiakins Tyler Sherfey.
Kipperberg became the ninth SK wrestler to win a state title, and the first state champion for the school since Stuart MacDiarmid won it in 1996 at 158 pounds.
SK coach Ron Hudiburg said there wasnt any doubt Kipperberg was going to win the tournament.
We knew he had it in him. It was just a question of getting him going, Hudiburg said. Hes just so disciplined and hes got great gifts and makes the most of what he has, Hudiburg said. Hes got a great work ethic that nobody compares to.
Hudiburg said the best thing to happen to Kipperberg was his semifinal loss at regionals last week.
It got him back to reality and settled him down, he said.
Kipperberg agreed with his coach.
It was very good (to lose), Kipperberg said. I got my eyes open a lot (at state), and the coaches kept pressing me. I just knew what I had to do and wrestle through.
Kipperberg said the goal of becoming a state champion was there from the first day he started wrestling three years ago.
I never thought itd go this far, he said. Its incredible how God worked and got me here.
Despite the expectations from himself and those around him, Kipperberg said he was calm through the whole experience.
There was no pressure, he said. The coaches told me to feel no pressure going in and I stayed loose.
Unlike other sports where athletes are spotted by college recruiters early, Kipperberg had received no interest from colleges prior to the state tournament.
Hudiburg said its typical for recruiters to come out in droves at the state tournament.
Some recruiters could be seen talking to him after his championship match.
Kipperberg said hed be very interested in wrestling at a university.
Gods opened the door in that direction, so Ill go in that direction and hope it works out, he said.
SK senior Evan Winslow could have folded his tent after suffering a first-round los to Battle Grounds Jay Carlile.
But the gritty 160-pounder pounded his way through the consolation bracket to earn a fourth-place finish.
What was more gratifying for Winslow was his ability to defeat wrestlers he had lost to during the season.
Winslow started his journey with a tough 6-4 decision over Enumclaws Quentin Josie.
He then proceeded to rout Decaturs Jason Bressler, 9-2. Bressler had beaten Winslow at the Highline Team Tourna-ment.
Winslow continued his run with a 1-0 nail-biter over Kentwoods Brian Gustaf-son. That win pitted Winslow against Sumners Cory Devela, who had crushed Winslow 14-0 at the CK Matmen tournament in January.
But Winslow turned the Tide and held off Devela in another 1-0 decision.
The winning run ended with a 9-2 loss to Capitals Derrick McLaughlin.
It was a weekend Winslow said he will always remember.
I set my goal to be state champ, but the best I could do (after the first-round loss) was third, so I had to re-set my goals and wrestle the best I could wrestle, Winslow said. I ended up beating guys I had ended up losing to during the season.
Against Devela, Winslow said he knew he wouldnt win if he tried to get into a throwing war, which is what doomed him at the CK tourney.
I knew if I just stayed low and rode him hard, hed gas in the third round and Id come out on top, he said.
As for McLaughlin, Winslow said sometimes there are opponents one cannot beat.
Having faced and lost to McLaughlin a half-dozen times over the last couple years, Winslow said McLaughlin wrestles a certain style he just cant stop.
Now with his SK wrestling days over, Winslow said the best memory hell with him is the record he and his father, Brett, share.
Its cool me and my dad are the first father-son combo to be on the wall in Souths history, Winslow said. Thats a cool feeling.
Brett Winslow placed third at state in 1974 and 1975, making the Winslows the first father-son state placers from South Kitsap.