SK romps at regionals

The road goes ever on for the South Kitsap wrestling team and coach Ron Hudiburg.

Facing stiffer competition and overcoming a minor, unexpected setback, the Wolves won a school record four Class 4A Region III wrestling titles Saturday, sending their retiring coach into his final state meet with 10 wrestlers and a shot at that elusive state team title.

“Those were the 10 kids we were talking about, and that’s what happened,” Hudiburg said. ”But next week’s a whole other thing. We got some kids that can score and we got some numbers. We’re going to do the best we can.”

After winning just one regional title last year, the Wolves picked up four, led by Brandon Kelly at 130 pounds, Kyle Coppinger at 140, Pat Kelly at 152 and Brent Chriswell at 160.

Also going to state for South are Craig Senter at 145, Jon Potts at 189 and Micah Kipperberg at 135. Jeff Cink, Josiah Kipperberg and Steve Razey will be alternates at the state meet.

“The ones we really felt like we needed to get through are the seven that are going on,” South assistant coach Chad Nass said. “Those seven, we had to get through if we wanted to make a run at next week.”

State titles will be determined Friday and Saturday at Mat Classic XVI in the Tacoma Dome. South has never won a state wrestling team title.

“I don’t know if it’s enough to win it, I mean, if we go in there and have a great tournament, yeah, maybe,” Nass said of the Wolves seven qualifiers. “But going in with those seven guys and we wrestle well, I think we can get a team trophy, and that’s probably more realistic. But if we go in and have a great day, you never know.”

Defending state champ Heritage won the region title with 252 points. Battle Ground took second with 215 while the Wolves were third at 191. Central Kitsap took fifth at 94.5 while host Bremerton was ninth at 51.5.

Central Kitsap will send four to the state meet, led by Daniel Mayfield, who finished third at 189. Joining Mayfield are John Winsper, Scott Jennings and Tyson Hicks. Bremerton is sending Dustin Heistand at 140 and Danny Smith at 145. Olympic got two through to the state meet, Cody Gapp at 140 and Matt Gipson at 130. North Kitsap’s Matt Grimes will be the lone Viking making the trip.

“The Wolves opened plenty of eyes with their four titles and the one title they didn’t get.

Micah Kipperberg, who won the Wolves’ only regional crown last year, was upset 11-8 by Chris Spurlock of Heritage in his first match Friday night and needed to win four matches Saturday to make it back to state.

“I didn’t lose any sleep over it, but I knew I needed to get my head on straight and focus and wrestle my best,” Kipperberg said. “And that’s what I did. I got my confidence up, went in and did what I needed to do and got through it.”

Kipperberg blew through his competition Saturday, getting pins in two of his four matches and winning the other two by a combined score of 30-2, the final a 16-0 whitewashing of Central’s Tyson Hicks for third place.

“We’ve seen kids through the years in that situation, and there’s two ways you can go. You can go back up or you can keep going down,” Nass said. “Micah’s a senior, he’s been here before, he knows what it’s all about. For him to come back and get third, that shows a lot of heart and a lot of pride.”

The rest of South’s team seemed to feed off of Kipperberg’s win, especially Coppinger, who followed a close victory Friday night with a 16-1 win over Olympic’s Cody Gapp before taking the 140-pound title by pinning Dustin Hei-stand at the 5:01 mark.

“My goal was to make it to the finals and then hopefully take it home,” Coppinger said. “Taking third at (last week’s sub-regional) and then taking first here, that’s pretty good. I wanted to take first but believing I could take first ... but after I won that first match I started believing in myself.”

The best part of Coppinger’s run was knocking off Heistand and Gapp, the top two placers at last week’s sub-regional.

“It was up there, it was intense,” Coppinger said of the level of competition. “It was a lot different from our regular season. Everyone’s battling. No one wants to go home. Your confidence goes way up and that’s what you want. It just feels good.”

Brandon Kelly was feeling pretty good about his win as he continues to elevate his game.

“You always want to win a finals match,” Brandon Kelly said. “I had some good competition but I felt that I wrestled good today. It was nice to come away with a W.”

He beat Dennis Parks of Battle Ground 15-8 for his first regional title and second trip to state.

Brandon’s older brother Pat blew through his bracket, winning his fourth tournament title in a row with a 16-6 shellacking of Alex Bubb of Skyview.

“I’ve wrestled him twice before with pretty much the same results, so I was pretty confident going in,” Pat Kelly said.

As far as the state meet, Kelly’s confidence is riding high. He was seventh a year ago.

“Hopefully I can get in there and make an impact,” he said. “The seven guys we have going are a pretty solid group.”

Chriswell continued his remarkable sophomore season with his first regional title, beating Battle ground’s Carlyle Scott, 15-3.

“He’s a strong guy but most guys are stronger than me,” Chriswell. “But I thought I did pretty good. I thought we all did pretty good.”

Potts saw his winning streak that dated back to December come to an end with a 7-5 loss to James Olcott of Battle Ground in the finals of the 189 division.

“As the postseason progresses, you see better and better guys,” said Potts, who must wrestle with a protective mask to protect stitches in his eyebrow. “And that’s all part of the game so you just roll with it.”

His match, which came down to the final seconds, was a learning experience he said.

“It makes me know I’m not unbeatable, which I already knew, but I think it’s going to help me actually,” Potts said. “Now I know some stuff I need to work on for next week. Obviously, it’s better to get beat at regionals than get beat at state and some guys that lose at regionals go on and do better at state. It’s who pushes the hardest.”

Senter, who makes his second trip to the state meet, lost to Robert Davis of Foss in the finals of the 145 division for the second week in a row and third time overall.

“I guess the third times not the charm,” Senter said. “He’s tough. He has such good balance, it’s hard to get anything on him.

“To tell you the truth, I’ve never won a varsity tournament, so I’m a little disappointed,” Senter said. “That was one of my goals this year, to finally win one because I’ve had about a dozen second places. And it’s not like I’m just satisfied to get to the finals because I’m always trying to win it but then I’m wrestling with the best. But I’d like to be winning.”

The state meet will bring an end to the careers of coaches Hudiburg and Smith. Both were recognized before the finals began.

“It’s starting to cross my mind every once in a while that this is the last time,” Smith said. “You know, you’re focused on what you’re doing and you’re focused on where you want the kids to go. You’ve got so many different things going on, it’s really hard to sit and dwell to much on that. As the weeks go by, I’m sure it will start to sink in.”

Hudiburg just keeps looking forward.

“It doesn’t feel any different,” Hudiburg said. “We’re just having a good time.”

2004 4A Region III

Wrestling Championships

Team scores

1. Heritage 252; 2. Battle Ground 215; 3. South Kitsap 191; 4. Henry Foss 124; 5. Central Kitsap 94.5; 6. Evergreen 89; 7. Olympia 84; 8. Mountain View 76.5; 9. Bremerton 51.5; 10. Skyview 48.5; 11. Port Angeles 44; 12. Olympic 39.5; 13. Bellermian Prep 31; 14. Capital 23; 15. Hudson’s Bay 22; 16. Stadium 22; 17. Shelton 17; 18. North Kitsap 16; 19. Fort Vancouver 14; 20. Gig Harbor 7; 21. Prairie 5; 22. Wilson 2; 23. Mount Tahoma 0; 24. Lincoln 0.


Championship round

103 - Anthony Hayes (Hert) d. Jeremy Kelsey (Hert) 9-4; 112- Trevor Hall (BG) d. Shane Martin (Olya) 7-2; 119 - Jason Kelsey (Hert) d. Lucas Enos (HB) 7-0; 125 - Peter Barnes (Hert) d. Cory Vombaun (Evg) 4-1; 130 - Brandon Kelly (SK) d. Dennis Parker (BG) 15-8; 135 - Chris Spurlock (Hert) d. Zach Halcumb (MV) 7-3; 140 - Kyle Coppinger (SK) p. Dustin Heistand (Brem) 5:01; 145 - Robert Davis (Foss) d. Craig Senter (SK) 9-2; 152 - Pat Kelly (SK) d. Alex Bubb (SV) 16-6; 160 - Brent Chriswell (SK) d. Carlyle Scott (BG) 15-3; 171 - Dan Powell (MV) d. Mark Dodge (Hert) 11-3; 189 - James Olcott (BG) d. Jon Potts (SK) 7-5; 215 - Jay Carlile (BG) d. Caleb Osborn (SV) 11-4; 275 - Brad Farmer (Hert) p. Ryan Wolff (BG) 5:25.

Third/Fourth place

103 - Ryan Edwards (BG) d. Josh Brodie (Olya) 8-3; 112 - Kyle Brown (Foss) d. Matt Grimes (NK) 15-3; 119 - John Shrader (Foss) d. Mark Perez (BP) 4-2; 125 - Sophath Heang (Olya) p. Aaron Cunningham (Sta) 2:59; 130 - Bryan Dukes (Foss) d. Matt Gipson (Olyc) 5-2; 135 - Micah Kipperberg (SK) tf. Tyson Hicks (CK) 16-0; 140 - Jordan Alberts (EV) p. Cody Gapp (Olyc) 1:25; 145 - Jon Porter (EV) by default over Danny Smith (Brem); 152 - Andrew Buck (BG) d. Eddie Goodle (MV) 8-5; 160 - Tek Fish (Hert) d. Chris Segawa (Olya) 5-3 OT; 171 - Dean Paul (Foss) d. John Winsper (CK) 5-1 OT; 189 - Daniel Mayfield (CK) p. Stevie Valadez (PA) 3:26; 215 - Josh Cayson (Hert) p. Scott Jennings (CK) 2:56; 275 - Cory Looney (PA) d. Mikel Camus (Cap) 4-2.

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