SK eyes even more titles as post-season action looms

With their Narrows League dual-match winning streak safely at 113 consecutive matches, coach Ron Hudiburg and the South Kitsap wrestling team turns their attention to more important things — titles, as region and state titles.

The wrestling postseason begins Saturday as the Wolves head to Olympia for the sub-regional tournament that will see all 16 teams in the Narrows League participating. The top eight individuals in each weight class advance to next week’s regional tournament in Bremerton.

“We haven’t won it for the last two years,” Hudiburg said. “We lost to Foss last year by just a few points and we’d like to win that back. I think we will.”

The Wolves have been off for two weeks since hosting the SK Invitational on Jan. 24, and they’ve used the time to do a little work while mixing in some handball.

“We’re still not in the best shape yet,” Hudiburg said. “But we will be in the next week. We’ll start picking it up a little bit.

“We’ll get through this tournament and move on,” Hudiburg said. “And then we’ll really start to get serious.”

Hudiburg said he expects to qualify six to 10 wrestlers in the 14 weight classes, but that number could be higher since the Wolves are sending 24.

“I’m just going in, not expecting much but I’m going to go wrestle my best and get through it,” the Wolves’ Micah Kipperberg said.

Kipperberg, who placed seventh at the state tournament last year, said the draw in the 135-pound weight class is favorable to him, since his chief opponent, Jamie Shrader of Foss, is in the bottom half of the bracket.

“I don’t have to worry about him to the finals,” said Kipperberg, who is 19-4 on the year with 11 pins.

“I’m definitely doing good right know,” Kipperberg said. “I’m on top. I’m at my best. I’m ready to go out and rip people up.”

Also coming in on a roll is Jon Potts, who won titles at the Central Kitsap Matman and SK Invitational tournaments last month.

“The previous years, I wasn’t doing so well at this time of year,” Potts said. “So it’s nice that I am doing well this time of year. I haven’t been beaten since back in December.”

Potts is 18-5 on the year in the 189-pound class, getting seven of those wins by pin.

“It’s a good weight class, their are some good guys in it,” Potts said. “But I’m confident that if I go in and do my best, I’ll do pretty well.”

Potts said he’s looking forward to getting matched up with Central Kitsap’s Daniel Mayfield, a wrestler he’s beaten before.

“He’s good, so I know he’s out to get me,” Potts said.

Potts said he’s focused on winning the tournament title for a couple of reasons.

“A lot of it’s for my team,” Potts said. “I want us to be district champs at the tournament and I want to win. As far as going into state, it’s better to go in winning than it is to come in through the bottom of the bracket because you want more confidence and it gets you a better seed. And pride, too.”

But an individual loss at the sub-regional round wouldn’t be totally devastating.

“I’d just go out and work harder in practice,” Kipperberg said of not winning his weight class. “I’d use it as a motivator.”

Kyle Coppinger comes into the tournament off two close loses in the finals of the 140-pound division at the Matman and SK Invitational.

“It’s kind of devastating, but I’m hoping this is where I step it up,” Coppinger said. “It’s time to step it up.”

Coppinger, who went 18-4 in his matches this year, likes his draw.

“I’m the No. 1 seed on my side and the bracket is pretty good,” Coppinger said. “I think I’ll do pretty well.”

“It’s win or go home, and you have to really motivate yourself,” Coppinger said. “You don’t want to go home. I know I don’t.”

With Hudiburg’s retirement coming at the end of the year, a lot of focus has been placed on the dual-meet winning streak and not the fact that the Wolves have won three tournaments this year.

“We took him through all the dual meets this year and beat everybody,” Potts said. “Everybody’s been gunning for us the last four years we’ve been at South. I think the difference is, we don’t talk about how good a tournament team we are, we just go out and win them.”

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