SK off and grappling

Ron Hudiburg summed up his South Kitsap wrestling team’s first outing of the year as “typical.”

In many ways, Saturday’s Auburn Invitational was quite that. The Wolves won the team title and claimed three individual crowns to give Hudiburg a nice start to what will be his final season.

But to see a sophomore basically dominate his weight class in his first year of high-school wrestling, that was anything but typical.

“I can’t say enough about that kid,” senior Craig Senter said of newcomer Brent Chriswell. “I’m very impressed with him. He’s very polished. I’ve never seen a sophomore like that. It’s pretty amazing. He has a good chance of, I’m thinking, state champion for him this year.”

Chriswell, who ranked seventh in the nation as a freestyle wrestler this year, rolled to his first high school title, winning the 160-pound division and leading the Wolves to the team title. Chriswell pinned Auburn’s Joe Fogarty in the finals to highlight his first-ever tournament for South Kitsap.

“I was happy,” Chriswell said. “I wish I would have been more offensive, but I was happy.”

Chriswell pinned all three of his opponents, taking advantage of his strength and quickness to make an impression on his teammates and coaches.

“He was pretty impressive,” Hudiburg said. “He was very aggressive. We didn’t see that out of some of them today. They kind of stood around flat-footed and when you do that, you don’t go anywhere.”

Chriswell said his first tournament was no different than any other he’s been involved with.

“I just wanted to try my best,” Chriswell said. “I always try to think that it’s just another normal match. I just wanted to go out and wrestle like it was practice.

“It’s different because I’m used to a more grown-up environment,” Chriswell said of his free-style wrestling. “I’m used to wrestling with college kids or older kids that have graduated. I’m used to being the runt of the group and now, I mean, I’m not the biggest or strongest, but I have a lot of technique to help out the team.”

He helped the Wolves to 163 team points, giving them the tourney title. Kelso was second at 145.5 while Decatur took third with 135 points.

“Lots of mistakes, but lots of good things, too,” Hudiburg said of his team’s first outing. “You can’t expect all of them to be right on every time. We saw some typical beginning-season mistakes, and you go back and work on those and you go out the next time and try to make things better.”

Chriswell joined Pat Kelly and Brandon Kelly as division winners. Pat won the 152-pound crown while Brandon took home the 130-pound title.

“My goal was to win, but I wanted to win it easier than I did,” Pat Kelly said. “There were some pretty tough matches and I’m not in the shape I wanted to be in, but we can change that.”

Pat Kelly, who moved up five pounds this year, won a close match against Tali Talakai of Chief Sealth 5-3, coming back to win the match in the final two minutes.

“Most of the guys are stronger than me, but technique will take care of most of it,” he said. “Last year, I relied basically more on strength but up here at 152, there are guys that are pretty strong.”

“He was a little rusty today but he’s got so much toughness in him, he makes up for it,” Hudiburg said. “His technique is better but not as good as it should be. But it will get better.”

Brandon Kelly scrapped out a 10-8 win over Dustin English of Decatur for his first title of the year.

Jeff Cink finished second in the 171-pound class while Jon Potts was second in the 189-pound division.

The Wolves got third place finishes from Kyle Coppinger at 140 and Senter at 145. But Senter was not pleased with his performance.

“Not at all,” Senter said. “The last match was all right (a pin of Wayne Parker of Kelso), but I don’t know what I was thinking (in his 3-0 loss to Nathaniel McRae of Chief Sealth in the second round). I had a lot of opportunities but I was just sluggish.

“I think it’s a learning experience,” Senter said. “For a lot us, I think it’s a wakeup call.”

Most of the Wolves were happy with the outcome, but know there is work to do.

“We did all right,” Pat Kelly said. “But we and the coaches know we could have done better.”

South Kitsap placed third in junior varsity action with 146 points. Auburn won the meet with 170 points while Clover Park was second at 160.

Rodger Nuttall won the 119 division, while Brady Winslow took the 140 class for South Kitsap. Tyler Hoskins was second at 125 with Andrew Lim grabbing second in the 145 division. Orry Perez finished second at 160 pounds.

The Wolves opened their dual-match season at home Tuesday night against Bellarmine. South Kitsap puts its 104-straight league dual match winning streak on the line Dec. 15 against Port Angeles.

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