SK looks to build momentum with state tourney looming

Heading into the latter, and most important, half of the season, South Kitsap wrestling coach Chad Nass is hoping his team sees the upcoming tournament schedule as a precursor to the state tournament.

To be precise, he wants them to look at today’s Central Kitsap Invitational, and every tournament that follows, as practice for the Matt Classic in February.

“They’re practices for the postseason because that’s the format that you wrestle in,” Nass said. “I look for them to get two things done: one, to go out and compete hard; and, just try things that maybe they wouldn’t try in a dual meet but might try in a tournament to see if it works for you.”

It’s this part of the season that gets tough on most wrestlers. The weeks are filled with a couple of dual meets while all day and Saturday is spent at a tournament. And the focus is not only on performing well at tournaments in the hopes of catching a stride for the upcoming sub-regional and regional tournaments but also winning the remaining dual matches and capturing yet another Narrows League title.

That may very well come down to a Jan. 24 dual match against North Kitsap. Both teams are undefeated up to this point and the winner of that match would advance to the Jan. 26 cross-over match to determine the Narrows League champion.

But before that happens, the Wolves will take part in two big tournaments, today’s CK Invite and next Saturday’s SK Invitational.

“We’re going to get an excellent opportunity this weekend to wrestle against some of the teams that we’re going to see in our league competition,” Nass said, “and see them in a tournament rather than in a dual meet.”

And that’s the big difference. The Wolves have a 126 dual-match win streak intact, one that dates back to 1992, but have not done so well during that time frame in tournaments.

“I think if you traditionally look at how we’ve wrestled, we’ve wrestled better in our duals than we have in tournaments,” Nass said. “I think that’s fair to say. And if I could figure that out, I would have already done it and you’d see a really happy man.”

It’s not like the Wolves have a terrible tournament history. They’ve won their fair share over the years, including both the CK and SK Invites, but Nass would like to see his team perform better, top to bottom.

Nass said he and other coaches have tried to put the team in the same kind of mental situations in tournaments as they would in a dual meet. They warm up the same way for both and talk about the approach to each in a similar manner.

“But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to capture the intensity that we tend to have in a dual meet,” Nass said. “I haven’t figured that one out.”

But South has an opportunity to change all that today, and they come in with a group of wrestlers on a roll. Senior Brent Chriswell has yet to lose a match this season and Josiah Kipperberg, who will move up a weight class for now, has suffered a limited number of losses.

Nass said a couple of his middleweights, Quincy Lyman and Javan Miner, have really stepped up their level of competition as of late and he is counting on some strong performances from them, as he is from Chris Hogan, Dylan Watkins and Brady Winslow.

Matches begin at 10 a.m. today with finals slated to start around 4:30 p.m. at the Central Kitsap gym.

South Kitsap 49, Gig Harbor 21

Held Jan. 11 at South Kitsap

103 — Kurtis Fenton (SK) tf. Bryant Boyer 18-1. 112 — Alex Fortune (GH) won by forfeit. 119 — Josiah Kipperberg (SK) p. Jeff Wilde 2:34. 125 — Rodger Nuttall (SK) p. Travis Irving 2:00. 130 — Javan Miner (SK) p. Chase Waterland 1:55. 135 — Quincy Lyman (SK) d. Jesse Chun 7-1. 140 — Jesse Barich (SK) won by injury default over Zach Rousslang. 145 — Chris Hogan (SK) md. Mark McKinney 14-3. 152 — Brady Winslow (SK) d. Victor Infante 7-5 (OT). 160 — Dylan Watkins (SK) md. Zeke Zigler 15-1. 171 — Nick Robison (GH) p. Chris Burns 3:59. 189 — Brent Chriswell (SK) p. Jake Mabry :56. 215 — Matt Foxworthy (SK) p. Mike Biggs 3:59. 275 — Joe Barrett (GH) d. Ryan Sparber 7-1.

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