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Underestimated SK squad deeper, multi-dimensional
If it seems that South Kitsap wrestling coach Chad Nass is walking around with a bit of a devilish grin on his face, its with good reason.
As the Wolves prepare to kick off the 2005-06 season, they return four kids who helped the team to a sixth-place finish in last years Mat Classic, including one state champion and one who placed fourth.
Coupled with a load of new talent, how could the second-year coach not enjoy the position he finds himself in?
There are a lot of reasons to be excited, Nass said. Definitely, there are some high expectations.
The highest of those begins with senior Brent Chriswells run at becoming the first-ever South Kitsap wrestler to win two state titles. Chriswell, who signed with Purdue last month, won the 171-pound title last year and returns at that same weight for a run to the record books.
My goals are the same as last year, just try to do my best and win state, Chriswell said. It will be hard this year because a lot of guys are moving up (to 171).
Chriswell said there is no way he will take anything for granted this year just because he is a defending champ. If anything, hes worked even harder in the offseason to ensure he doesnt get knocked off.
But this team isnt just Chriswell. The Wolves are loaded with talent and could earn multiple state titles come February.
Besides Chriswell, the Wolves get back Josiah Kipperberg (fourth at 103 pounds last year), seniors Rodger Nutall and Kyle Saltsgaver (state participants), senior Chris Hogan and junior Bobby Arendsee (both just missed out on a trip to state last year) along with Kurtis Fenton, Orry Perez, Jesse Barich and Brady Winslow (all of whom saw plenty of mat time last year).
One of the things that we need to do is spread our guys out so were not all stacked up at one or two weights, Nass said. If we can do that, stay healthy and work hard, we could have a really, really special year.
Depth is the key word this year Nass said. He feels the lineup is solid top to bottom, with the exception of having a true heavyweight, which will hurt, but there are kids willing to move up and do the job, he said.
Chriswell will anchor the team once again this year. With a state title already won and his college choice made, he said he is free to focus on defending his title but also showing the senior leadership that this team needs.
Kipperburg will move up a class this year, going at 112 pounds after his great run last year at 103. But the extra weight doesnt seem to bother him. In fact, his goal is set to return to the Tacoma Dome and do better than he did last year.
Were definitely concentrating on whats happening now, Kipperburg said. But Im definitely looking toward the future thats where my goal is. Everyday Im practicing for (state) weekend.
With Chriswell and Kipperburg about as solid at it gets, the Wolves will have plenty of experience back at the middle weights with Hogan, Arendsee, Winslow and Perez.
Both Hogan (140) and Arendsee (152) came one match short of qualifying for the Mat Classic, which left Hogan a full year to plot his next move.
I really want to get to state, Hogan said. It sucks to on the outside looking in. Its just got me pumped up to try even harder.
Fenton will take over Kipperburgs spot at 103 and Nass is expecting a big year from the junior who won a state title in freestyle wrestling last spring.
Saltsgaver could be another with a shot at a state title, but a shoulder injury will force him to miss the start of the year and could jeopardize his whole season.
While the talk around the South mat room is of individual and team titles this year, there is also the little matter of the Wolves Narrows League dual-match win streak, which 123 last year.
Nass said that while the streak is nice and they are proud of it, it is taking a back seat to the bigger goal of claiming a state team title this year.
The Wolves open the season Thursday night at home against Bellarmine. Other key matches include a Dec. 13 dual match with Central Kitsap and the Pacific Coast Invitational in Battleground Dec. 29-20.
2005-06 South Kitsap wrestling schedule
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION TIME
Dec. 1 Bellarmine South Kitsap 7 p.m.
Dec. 3 Auburn Invite Auburn 10 a.m.
Dec. 10 Olympic Duals Olympic 9 a.m.
Dec. 13 Central Kitsap South Kitsap 7 p.m.
Dec. 17 Skagit Valley Invite Sedro-Wooley 10 a.m.
Dec. 29-20 Pacific Coast Invite Battleground TBD
Jan. 5 Olympic Olympic 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 Gig Harbor South Kitsap 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 Port Angeles Port Angeles 7 p.m.
Jan. 14 Central Kitsap Invite Central Kitsap 10 a.m.
Jan. 17 Shelton South Kitsap 7 p.m.
Jan. 19 Bremerton Bremerton 7 p.m.
Jan. 21 South Kitsap Invite South Kitsap 10 a.m.
Jan. 24 North Kitsap South Kitsap 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 Narrows League crossover TBD TBD
Feb. 3-4 Sub-regionals Bremerton TBD
Feb. 10-11 Regionals Mountain View TBD
Feb. 17-18 Mat Classic Tacoma Dome TBD