Hudiburg goes out a winner

Ron Hudiburg was styling in his new letterman jacket Saturday afternoon at the South Kitsap Invitation.

And by day’s end, he was smiling as well, as his Wolves sent him out a winner after he’d coached for the final time in a gym he’s called home the last 20 years.

“I’m prepared for it,” Hudiburg said of retirement. “I’ve been preparing for it for two or three years. It won’t probably hit me ’til later. I’m just glad to have been a part of all this. There’s a lot of history here and I’m just one piece of it. These guys are going to carry on and do a great job, and I’ll get to watch, and that’s important.”

The jacket was a gift from assistant coaches Chad Nass and Dave Dyess, a present for the coach who is retiring at season’s end after a 35-year career, 20 of those at South.

The team did its part by winning the six individual titles and giving Hudiburg his ninth SK Invitational title, while sending the team into the post season on a roll.

“It was really fun,” Hudiburg said. “We had some good wins and a good team effort. Five champions and a team title —you can’t ask for more than that.”

The Wolves won the team title with 207 points, while Pasco took second at 169.5. Olympia was third with 152 points. South got individual titles from Micah Kipper-berg, Pat Kelly, Jeff Cink, Jon Potts and Kyle Saltsgaver,

“It’s really nostalgic. I mean, it’s the last time I will ever wrestle in this gym,” senior Cink said. “I had a lot of fun and ended up doing pretty well today, and that’s always fun.

“And it’s great,” he said, “because it’s Hudiburg’s last time in the gym here, so it was really good for myself and the entire team to really wrestle well for his last time.”

Cink, who won the 171-pound weight title with an 8-4 decision over Michael Francik of Pasco, was instrumental in getting this final title for Hudiburg.

“It was kind of unsaid, but a lot of seniors felt really strongly that way,” Cink said. “We all knew.”

Emotions were running high for the seniors, knowing that this was their last home match, as well as Hudiburg’s.

“Before the match, I was telling myself I’m not going to lose my last match ever at South, so it felt pretty good to walk away with a win,” Kelly said. “It feels good to be a senior and send him out with a victory. We really don’t have to say anything; everybody knows they want to give their all for Coach.”

Kelly won one of the day’s best final matches, defeating Jake Friedman of Peninsula 12-8 in the finals of the 152-pound division. He had seen his opponent narrowly defeat teammate Brent Chriswell a month earlier in the Pacific Coast Tournament and was ready for a tight match.

But the focus of the day was on Hudiburg and the seniors.

“Before the finals match, me and a few guys (Kyle Coppinger, Pat Kelly, Micah Kipperberg and Brandon Kelly) went down to the mat room and just drilled a little bit and got warmed up,” senior Craig Senter said. “We were just realizing that this would be the last time we’d ever wrestle here. It was intense.”

Senter took second in the 145-pound division, losing 5-4 to Jon Porter of Evergreen, a familiar foe.

Senter is now 2-2 against Porter, losing twice at the SK Invite but beating him twice in Vancouver.

“I was up 4-3 and he just snatched it from me,” Senter said. “It’s always neck-and-neck, and we talk about it.”

And there’s a good chance the two will meet again at the regional meet.

“I have the next two weeks to think about what just happened and another week to prepare,” Senter said. “I’m going to go out and work hard.”

Micah Kipperberg won his finals match with J.G. McCall of Peninsula 17-5.

“We talk for the coach, so we just went out and wrestled and did what we do best,” Kipperberg said.

“It was great, I had great fun and I had a great night, too,” Saltsgaver said of his win the in the 215-pound division. “It’s going to get tougher, and the opponents are going to get better. And I have to work some more.”

That pretty much sums up the team’s feelings at this point.

“I really like where everybody’s at right now,” Cink said. “We’re pretty solid all the way around and I think we’ll do fairly well this year.”

“I’m real glad that Coach went out with a victory,” Senter said. “Now we just need to get Coach a sub-regional win and then regions and hopefully state and send him out just like (baseball Coach Elton) Goodwin.”

Team scores

1. South Kitsap 207; 2. Pasco 169.5; 3. Olympia 152; 4. Evergreen 148; 5. Central Kitsap 114.5; 6. Kentlake 92; 7. Peninsula 89; 8. North Kitsap 71.

Championship results

103 - Jerry Yniquez (P) tf. Josh Brodie (O) . 112 - Shane Martin (O) d. Martin Salinas (P) 9-5. 119 - Matt Lowry (E) d. Ryan Nunez (CK) 5-3. 125 - Sophath Heang (O) d. Jomar Calma (CK) 5-3. 130 - Cory Vombaur (E) d. Brandon Kelly (SK) 3-1. 135 - Micah Kipperberg (SK) md. J.G. McCall (Pen) 17-5. 140 - Jordan Alberts (E) p. Kyle Coppinger (SK) 2:31. 145 - Jon Porter (E) d. Craig Senter (SK) 5-4. 152 - Pat Kelly (SK) d. Jake Friedman (Pen) 12-8. 160 - Tyler Cowgil (CK) d. Treacy Walsh (K) 4-3. 171 - Jeff Cink (SK) d. Michael Francik (P) 8-4. 189 - Jon Potts (SK) d. Kyle Rable (E) 10-6. 215 - Kyle Saltsgaver (SK) p. David Watson (O) 1:05. 275 - Jason Brown (E) d. Dylan Dixon (O) 4-2.

Third/fourth place

103 - Josiah Kipperberg (SK) d. Derek Roberts (Pen) 9-1. 112 - Matt Grimes (NK) p. Justin Schadler (P) :52. 119 - Bret Young (K) d. Garrett Lyman (SK) 8-2. 125 - Andy Wray (K) d. James Borey (P) 14-9. 130 - John Borey (P) d. Jesse Stokke (K) 5-4. 135 - Brandon McCreedy (E) d. Jerrell Smith (NK) 5-4. 140 - Nate Hove (Pen) d. Jose Duarte (P) 9-4. 145 - Andrew Underwood (Pen) md. J.R. Campos (P) 11-2. 152 - Doug Piehl (NK) d. Stevie Martinez (P) 1-0. 160 - Chris Segawa (O) d. Andrew Esparza (P) 8-6. 171 -John Winsper (CK) d. Kyle Benson (O) 6-0. 189 - Daniel Mayfield (CK) p. Ryan Malama (K) 2:27. 215 -Mike Storey (NK) d. Demitri Miles (P) 6-4. 275 - Ben Chapman (K) p. Danny Glushko (NK) 2:05.

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