Sports

Oly Duals nice for Knights

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports editor

While early season results offered up mixed results for the Bremerton wrestling team, the Knights stepped it up in a big way Saturday, taking a share of fifth-place while holding their own against some of the state’s toughest grapplers.

Bremerton took a share of fifth place at the Olympic Duals tournament a week ago at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Pavilion.

“I’m really proud,” Bremerton wresting coach Jeff Barton said. “This is definitely a good outing for us. Everybody had some success today in some way, shape or form.”

The Knights began the day with a 45-33 loss to Auburn-Riverside. While it was a loss, AR features two defending state champs, including nationally ranked Michael Mangrum. And while Riversides strengths were in the middle weights, where BHS had to forfeit at 145 pounds and 160, the Knights took the lower weights.

“It was nice,” Barton said. “The first round, we were giving away 30 points to Auburn-Riverside and beat them on the mat.”

The Knights lost just a single match to the Ravens between 103 and 140.

The outstanding opening performance certainly opened some eyes.

“I hope so,” Barton said. “It’s kind of funny. When people see our scores against Auburn-Riverside, they’re saying, ‘Hey, did you see how Bremerton did?’”

After the narrow loss to AR, the Knights battles Bethel close as well, falling 41-33. That sent Bremerton against North Kitsap, a team that will join the Knights in the Olympic League next season. Bremerton earned its first team win in the match, topping the rebuilding Vikings 42-25 to vault the Knights one of three fifth/sixth-place matches.

He said that win should also help open some eyes to Bremerton’s program.

“And North Kitsap will be in our league next year,” he said. “That’s kind of showing right there.”

The win set the Knights up against Peninsula, a match Bremerton took in a narrow 39-37 victory.

“We wrestled aggressively,” Barton said. “I’m just really proud of how they wrestled.”

The Knights were led, as usual, by 112-pounder Billy Richardson, who went 4-0 on the day. But he wasn’t the only Knight grappler Barton was impressed with.

“I saw some really good matches from some really young kids,” he said.

At the lower weights, Barton was pleased with the effort put forth by 125er Cody King and 103er Lauren Richardson, Billy’s sister.

“Cody’s been wrestling really well,” Barton said. “And Lauren had some great matches.”

Andres Garcia was undefeated at 4-0 at 215, including a great 7-5 win against AR’s Jake Pele. At 135, Mark Ebbay also had some tough matches.

“Mark Ebbay, he has had a heck of a tournament,” Barton said. “I’m really impressed with him.”

All those individual successes should give the Knights a boost in confidence, something essential to a successful wrestler, Barton said.

“I just hope it gives the kids some excitement too,” he said. “We had some positives.”

But he also said the team can’t lose focus because of one day’s worth of strong outings.

“What we’ve got to take care of now is ourselves,” he said.

Kingston won the team sportsmanship award, while Olympic’s Camie Yeik won the individual award. Graham-Kapowsin not only won the tournament, but also the team pins title, compiling 34 pin falls on the day.

Bremerton was back on the mats Wednesday against Sequim, which took sixth at the Oly Duals.

And while Sequim won 42-24, the Knights again had some strong individual performances, although the match featured a total of eight forfeits for the two teams.

The Knights will be at Olympic on Wednesday for a large dual meet with six total teams. That meet begins at 4 p.m.

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