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Wolves lead the pack
Hundreds of west Sound wrestlers learned the difficulties of surviving the Narrows League sub-regional tournament last weekend.
After two days of brutal competition against Bridge and Bay Division foes, only 49 were left standing when the final match ended at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night at Olympia.
The top eight placers in each weight class earned a trip to this weekends regional at Foss High School this Friday and Saturday.
Expectations, surprises and disappointment were the common expressions felt by area coaches and wrestlers.
South Kitsap will send the most wrestlers out of the area, with 18.
Central Kitsap sends 14, Olympic nine, North Kitsap five, and Bremerton three.
CKs hopes of getting at least four wrestlers to state were dashed when 145-pounder Mike Frerichs suffered a shoulder injury on Friday in the second round, which eliminated him from the competition and ended his season prematurely.
Frerichs was looking to get back to state, where he advanced all the way to the state final before being disqualified last year.
CK seniors Chad Eickmeyer (135 pounds), Jason Sencil (140), and Josh Martinelli (152) cruised to sub-regional championships.
SK also crowned three champions, with sophomore Brandon Kelly (112), junior Micah Kipperberg (130), and senior Pat Kelly (145) earning No. 1 seeds into regionals.
Olympics Alex Jaime (103) and North Kitsaps Clark Hutchman (160) also won individual titles.
While the winners came as no surprise, several wrestlers expected to make it to the finals came up short.
SKs Dustin Johnson (125) lost his last two matches to finish fourth, and Olympics Clyde Switzer saw his undefeated record of 27-0 fall to 27-2 and a fourth-place finish.
SK coach Ron Hudiburg said the most important thing about sub-regionals is getting as many guys through to regionals as possible.
We had some champions and we had some heartbreakers, Hudiburg said. The important thing here was to move on and do the best we could.
Johnson battled sickness and a sore elbow to finish fourth.
Hudiburg said he expects Johnson to be back into form by this weekend.
By Friday nobody remembers what happened at the sub-regionals, Hudiburg said.
By qualifying 18 wrestlers, Hudiburg said this is one of the largest groups hes taken to regionals. While the sub-regionals take the top eight, only the top four in regionals advance to state.
Hudiburg said a lot of things have to happen in order to have a good regional tournament.
Conditioning is very important, and youve just gotta be on, he said. Of course you have to be good, too.
Hudiburgs biggest concern with his wrestlers is their ability to shut down opponents in the first or second round instead of riding it out for the entire three periods.
Weve got to work on that, he said. Our whole team had trouble with that this year. Weve succeeded because were good mat wrestlers. Thats what has kept us in it.