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Wolves manage fifth in Matman Classic
The 32nd Matman Classic lived up to its growing reputation as one of the most competitive wrestling tournaments in the state.
The annual 16-team tournament at Central Kitsap High School attracted dozens of state-bound athletes Saturday, creating postseason-caliber matches and giving coaches and wrestlers alike a chance to scout some of the competition they’ll face at the state championships next month.
“Pretty stiff competition,” explained South Kitsap coach Chad Nass.
“That tournament there is one of the most competitive in the state this side of the mountains,” added Bremerton coach Jeff Barton.
Graham-Kapowsin won the team championship with 202 points, edging defending 3A state champion Enumclaw (198.5) and Tahoma (160).
South Kitsap (131) placed fifth, the highest finish amongst Kitsap teams, while Central Kitsap (91) earned eighth, Olympic (60) ninth and Bremerton (45) 12th.
Olympic’s Branden Yeik, who last season won the state championship at 130 pounds, finished third in the 140 bracket after a somewhat surprising 14-3 setback in the semifinals against Kentwood’s Cody Quinn. Yeik, who beat Quinn earlier this season, would have faced No. 1 Jason Gray, who also is a defending state champion, in the title match.
“I think it’s good. It identifies things that we can work on to finish out the season,” Olympic coach Steve Polillo said of Yeik’s loss. “Branden is a hard-charging, hard-willed kid. He’ll come back from this fine ... this is just going to strengthen his resolve.”
Yeik’s fellow Trojan, 125-pound Jesse Borcherding, was scratched from the tournament due to cauliflower ear, but he is expected to return to the lineup shortly.
It was South Kitsap, however, that had the strongest showing of the Kitsap teams.
Not only did South crack the Top 5 in the final team standings, but it captured an individual title as well thanks to 152-pound Brady Zurn, who outlasted Shelton’s Damien Shehan 5-4 in overtime to secure an individual title.
Zurn won all four of his matches en route to the crown, including a semifinal match in which his opponent, Enumclaw’s Kario Wallin, was disqualified after running out of blood time.
The 4-0 run Zurn completed at Matman is similar to what he’ll have to do in postseason competition if he plans to make any noise.
“You get a lot of good wrestling against a lot of good opponents,” Nass said of Matman. “That’s what it’s going be like at the state tournament — every match gets tougher and tougher as you get deeper and deeper into the tournament — and that’s the kind of experience you want the kids to have.”
South managed to advance four wrestlers to the semifinals in the championship bracket — Simon Kipperberg (119), Adam Ferguson (130), Kyle Fenton (135) and Zurn — but only Zurn earned a crown.
Fenton, however, advanced to the championship match at 135 and held a 4-3 lead against Tahoma’s Tyler Lamb before Lamb scored a pin less than 20 seconds into the third period to win 5-4.
Fenton, who was seeded No. 3 in the 135 bracket, beat No. 2 Kyle Young of Enumclaw 8-1 in the semis to advance to the finals. The two had squared off earlier this season, with Fenton taking that match as well.
“That’s the best match I’ve seen him wrestle all year,” Nass said of Fenton’s win against Young. “Very dominating.”
Ferguson nearly advanced to the finals, but fell short in the semis against Efrain Aguilar of Graham-Kapowsin, losing 6-4 in overtime. Aguilar went on to win the title at 119 by virtue of an 11-3 win against Enumclaw’s Hunter File in the finals.
“When they got to overtime, Adam took a shot and it wasn’t a very good shot,” Nass said, explaining Aguilar’s match-winning takedown. “That kid was ready and he countered.”
“Those are two evenly matched kids. They could wrestle 10 times and they’d probably each win five.”
Graham-Kapowsin 202, Enumclaw 198.5, Tahoma 160, Rogers 144.5, South Kitsap 131, Kentwood 127, A.C. Davis 110.5, Central Kitsap 91.5, Olympic 60, Shelton 53, Lake Washington 45.5, Bremerton 45, Mt. Spokane 42, Auburn Riverside 39, Jackson 29, Spanaway 9
103—Bryce Evans (Rog) d. Ruben Navejas (KW) 6-2. 112—Cortney Nalley (Dav) tf. Tanner Sturdevent (GK) 24-9. 119—Efrain Aguilar (GK) d. Hunter File (Enu) 11-3. 125—Sam Bauer (Enu) d. Zach Nalley (Dav) 8-2. 130—Wayne Horton (Enu) d. Brian Bitney (Rog) 11-2. 135—Tyler Lamb (Tah) p. Kyle Fenton (SK) 4:41. 140—Jason Gray (Enu) d. Cody Quinn (KW) 8-6. 145—Jacob Jokela (Enu) d. Josh Musick (Enu) 6-4. 152—Brady Zurn (SK) d. Damion Shehan (She) 5-4 OT. 160—Tyler Story (GK) d. Conner Elder (Enu) 10-8. 171—Nick Bayer (Tah) d. Chris Sweet 7-2. 189—Andres Garcia (Bre) d. Jordan Frost (She) 7-5 OT. 215—Grant Haschak (LW) p. Konner Knudtsen 0:32. 285—Allan Thompson (Rog) d. Nathan Herrick (KW) 9-3.