POULSBO — North Kitsap’s Clark Hutchman will join several of Washington’s best wrestlers for a national tournament in Enid, Okla. this month.
The USA Wrestling Junior National Duals bring together teams of high-level wrestlers from 32 states, then lets them compete in wrestling-mad Oklahoma.
Hutchman will be joined on the Washington State team with a West Sound rival, Central Kitsap’s 160-pounder, Josh Martinelli. Jeff Nimrick, a 140-lb. competitor from Peninsula High School, will also be on the 18-wrestler team, along with David Waters of Sequim.
Hutchman won the state’s freestyle championship in the 160-lb. category on the way to making the team.
He’s excited to make the trip to Enid.
“I get to do something this summer, and wrestle at a high level of competition,” said Hutchman, who has one year left on his career at North Kitsap High School.
Hutchman has been training this spring and summer to get ready for the tournament. In it, wrestlers compete both in Greco-Roman style, which requires more upper-body wrestling and is the style practiced in high schools, and freestyle, which allows more techniques.
While some states, such as Minnesota, send one team to wrestle each style, Washington State’s wrestlers are adept at both, so they will participate in each category.
Last year, the state team took fifth place in Greco-Roman.
The Washington State teammates have been practicing at regional sites across the state such as Yakima, Spokane, and Vancouver.
The team is composed of mostly 17 and 18-year-old wrestlers, although there are some 16-year-olds sprinkled throughout the roster.
The tournament in Enid will be held June 25 to July 1, with wrestlers wrestling a minimum of 10 or 11 times but perhaps twice that as they work their way deeper into the tournament.
No matter how many matches the wrestlers get, it’ll be a challenge, said head coach and trainer Chuck Bullard, who will accompany the team to Oklahoma.
“They’ll be some of the toughest matches these kids’ll ever have,” Bullard said.
He said the effort is worth it, for a chance to wrestle in front of some of the top coaches and scouts in the country.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal for some kids,” Bullard said.