SK wrestlers place fifth at prestigious PCW

South Kitsap High School wrestling coach Ron Hudiburg knows all too well how the first half of the wrestling season dictates how the second half of the season will go.

Based on the first-half performances from his wrestlers, Hudiburg likes the path they are on as the Wolves enter the heart of the Narrows League Bridge Division schedule. SK opens the second half of the season with a home match against North Kitsap Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Wolves are coming off a school-best fifth place finish at the Pacific Coast Wrestling Invitational in Vancouver, Wash., on Dec. 28-29.

In the previous four years it had participated in the tournament, SK never finished in the top 10.

That changed in late December when SK had six wrestlers place.

Senior Dustin Johnson (125 pounds) finished third individually to lead all SK wrestlers.

Other placers were Devin Spencer (189, 4th), Micah Kipperberg (130, 5th), John Cisney (152, 5th), Pat Kelly (145, 7th), and Jon Potts (171, 7th).

Hudiburg said it took a total team effort for SK to place as high as it did.

“We wrestled real well, aggressive,” Hudiburg said. “Every kid won at least one match and all but one wrestler won two matches.”

The tournament featured 31 teams of different classifications from California, Oregon, and Washington.

Hudiburg said the tournament not only marks the end of competition in 2002, but it is also a symbolic ending of the first half of the season.

The wrestlers, especially the underclassmen, have gotten much-needed mat time and now must channel that with their confidence to succeed in the latter half of the season.

Hudiburg said the only letdown thus far was the championship dual-match loss to Sumner at the Highline Invitational.

“I think we did a great job in the first half,” Hudiburg said. “Other than the Sumner match we wrestled well. It turned out to be a blessing though. It was a wake-up call.”

Hudiburg said the intensity of matches will heat up in January with the season-ending dual match with rival Central Kitsap being moved back to Jan. 28.

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