Olympic wins league; CK, Klahowya both second

CK sending 11 to regionals.


Port Orchard Independent

TACOMA — In a sport where conditioning and maintaining weight are vital, missing any time is difficult.

But Central Kitsap senior Franco Cruz had little choice when an illness forced him to miss nearly a month during the regular season. Despite the absence, Cruz has returned to dominate in recent weeks, including Saturday’s Narrows League Wrestling Championships at Mount Tahoma High School where he was the Cougars’ lone first-place finisher.

After a first-round bye, Cruz pinned consecutive opponents before he won a 10-6 decision against South Kitsap’s Quincy Lyman for the championship at 140 pounds.

“I’ve wrestled him about five times and he always puts up a good fight,” said Cruz, who also defeated Lyman at last year’s sub-regionals to claim the 140 title. “I can’t go through all my moves with that much ease because he’s pretty stable on his feet.”

Cruz placed sixth at last year’s Mat Classic and said his goal is to win a championship this time. He’ll be joined by 10 other Cougars who placed in the top seven at sub-regionals and advance to Friday and Saturday’s regionals at Foss High School.

The only other CK competitor in the finals at sub-regionals was senior Kent Manalo, who placed second at 145. He lost a 7-5 decision against Olympia’s Ian Fischer in the championship. Manalo pinned his opponent in the first round and then won a pair of decisions to advance to the final.

“Some of these guys he beat up badly earlier in the year have made him work,” CK coach Mike Harter said.

The Cougars placed second among the 11 participating teams with 224.5 points behind SK’s 290.5. Olympia (215.5), Foss (173.5) and Bellarmine Prep (172) rounded out the top five.

In addition to Cruz and Manalo, Travis Eickmeyer (fourth place, 112 pounds); Evan Beck (fifth, 119); Bradley Franco (fourth, 125); Ethan Beck (fifth, 125); Karl Koemmpel (fifth, 135); Cameron Anthony (fifth, 140); Chad Massidda (third, 152); Chase Huntley (fourth, 160) and Howie McDonald (seventh, 189) advanced to regionals.

“We’ve done very well,” Harter said. “We have almost twice as many kids advancing to regionals as last year, which is great.”