Sports

Knights drop tough dual

Bremerton’s Ryan Duffek got the pin on Olympic’s Steven Kang in just 18 seconds when the school’s met on the mats on Tuesday. Olympic took the win however, 62-18, thanks to several forfeits. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Bremerton’s Ryan Duffek got the pin on Olympic’s Steven Kang in just 18 seconds when the school’s met on the mats on Tuesday. Olympic took the win however, 62-18, thanks to several forfeits.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Grapplers for Bremerton High School faced a formidable foe on the mat Tuesday night.

Themselves.

As if opponent Olympic wasn’t tough enough, the Knights didn’t make things any easier on themselves.

“I know we’re better than we wrestled tonight,” Bremerton coach Jeff Barton said Tuesday. “We had a couple kids sick, a couple not make weight. We sort of defeated ourselves … we need to get mentally tougher. We’re not completing moves … and we need to go at it harder. It’s part of being a young team.”

Things didn’t start off too badly for the Knights. 145-pounder Kevin Shardelman made a courageous effort in a 7-0 loss to Trojan Caleb Williams, valiantly fighting off Williams’ last-second efforts to pin him and earn six points for the match, rather than four.

At 152 pounds, Michael Hernandez-Jones was successful in earning a late pin with just 22 seconds remaining in his battle with Olympic’s Lukas Kogut.

The Knights had to forfeit at 160, 189 and 275, but got a great performance from one of its bigger guys, when Ryan Duffek earned a pin of Steven Kang just 18 seconds into the match.

Colin Carter of the Knights, meanwhile, couldn’t hold off the efforts of Zach Churchley, who pinned him with 40 seconds to go in their bout.

The 103-pound class featured easily the most even match of the night between two fierce competitors.

Bremerton’s Billy Richardson broke a scoreless standstill with the match’s first point midway through the second round but Trojan Camie Yeik tied things up with 1:39 left to go. The battle seemed destined for sudden death before the crowd’s chants of “Bil-ly! Bil-ly! Bil-ly!” were able to fire up – Yeik – who suddenly scored a takedown and pinned Richardson with only three seconds remaining on the clock.

It took a few more bouts before the Knights would taste a win again, with 135-pound Daniel Sawyers earning a quick pin of Olympic grappler Billy Neary.

By the end of the match, the team score told a sad story for Bremerton, defeated 62-18.

“Olympic is a lot tougher this year than they were last year,” Barton said. “So is (next opponent) Gig Harbor. We need to come out with a better effort … or they can beat us.”

The meet was the first dual for the Knights since early December. After a long holiday layoff, Bremerton got back in action Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Rainshadow Invitational in Sequim.

“It was a big tournament, a tough tournament,” Barton said. “The upcoming Matman in CK is as tough as they get for a regular season match. It’ll be a real eye opener for a younger kids and a true test for guys like (Richardson) and Sawyers.”

At Rainshadow, Bremerton performed solidly on the whole, taking 12th among 20 teams, for a middle-of-the-pack showing.

Richardson earned the 103 title, defeating D’Long Ferry of West Seattle. Sawyers finished second at 135 after losing to Gabe Chavez of Hoquiam in the title match.

“He wrestled a very strong kid,” Barton said.

125-pounder Daniel Guzman had the next best showing for the Knights, taking fifth in the competition.

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