BREMERTON â€” Saturdayâ€™s semifinal round of the Narrows League subregional wrestling meet was a bittersweet cycle for North Kitsap, but the two days of competition has increased confidence.
â€œThe first two rounds we came out and started pinning people; that was great to see,â€ said NK coach Jon Cooke. â€œWe were chasing that first place trophy and (the team) could see it was within reach.â€
The Vikings ended up in second place in the overall team standings. Northâ€™s regular season nemesis South Kitsap rose to the title with 323.5 team points, NK tallied 263, Oly scored 246 and CK rounded out the top four with 173.5.
Though South had a strangle hold on first place for much of the meet, North was hungry to take over in the early rounds of the tournament.
Willis Castle, Matt Grimes and Matt Cordell barreled through the first and second rounds and into the semifinals, as did Nick Miller, Eric Hedin, Anthony Lindfors and Danny Glushko. But only three Vikings carried over into the finals.
While Grimes, Lindfors and Cordell followed through into the championships, the Vikes who were bounced into the consolation bracket fought hard with a ticket to the district tournament in focus at the third/fourth-place match.
The top four wrestlers out of each weight class at the NL subregional meet move on to the Narrows/Greater St. Helens Regional meet Feb. 10 and 11 at Mountain View High School in Vancouver.
So when NK 215-pound senior Glushko was dropped to the consolation bracket in a hard fought overtime match with Sheltonâ€™s Nathan Kimbel, he came back with a vengeance.
Two pins of 36 seconds and 109 seconds captured the third place title for Glushko and a larger pool of points at the regional meet for the team.
â€œThe hard part is getting back focused on the number one goal,â€ Cooke said of the mentality after a semifinal loss. â€œ(Glushko) did that well and I donâ€™t think there was any question in his mind that he was going to make it.â€
Kyle Hollenback also fought back through the consolation bracket to the qualifying match and took third place with a gritty 3-2 decision over CKâ€™s Juan Galvan at 140. Bill Plowman showed his resiliency by recovering from a semifinalâ€™s loss to fight for third place and even more potential points for the Vikings at regionals.
â€œMost importantly, weâ€™re going to place high as a team today,â€ Grimes said after winning the 130-pound championship match over Bremertonâ€™s Daniel Sawyers. â€œAnd I think weâ€™ll do the same next week.â€
Grimes and Lindfors led the Vikings as the only NK subregional champions at Bremerton.
Grimes soundly and fundamentally took the title, and Lindfors lucked out winning his final by injury default. While Cordellâ€™s championship match ended in a closely contested 3-2 decision in favor of SKâ€™s Jesse Barich.
The nine Vikes wrestling on into the regional meet is the most that NK has seen in recent years, Cooke said. And the crew is focused on the task at hand which is to move on to the state meet Feb. 11 with a top four finish.