Keel Slayback of South Kitsap placed fourth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament. (Mark Krulish | Kitsap Daily News)

Keel Slayback of South Kitsap placed fourth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament. (Mark Krulish | Kitsap Daily News)

SK wrestling wins SPSL title

Wolves wrestlers dominate in tournament of state’s toughest league

South Kitsap trailed Sumner by about 20 points heading into Day 2 of the South Puget Sound League wrestling tournament, but the Wolves’ upper weights proved dominant as they ran away with the league championship.

The final count: 421.5 points for South Kitsap, 275 for Sumner, thanks to four more individual South Kitsap champions as well as a handful of lower placers.

Wolves wrestlers Xavier Eaglin (160), Joseph Laws (170), Phillip Chobot (182) and Logan Stafford (220) joined Mitchell Neiner and Stone Hartford as league champions in their respective weight classes. But winning team titles is also about depth, and a number of wrestlers stepped forward on Day 2 to pick up crucial thirds, fourths, fifths and sixths.

“They just wrestled flawlessly,” said head coach Chad Nass. “They got after it, got a lot of pins, and we had champions in four of the six weight classes wrestled that day.”

At 160, Ben Laws reached the final before losing to teammate Eaglin by technical fall. Devin Easley (182) and Adam Kennedy (285) both finished third in their respective weight classes while Jonate McHenry (285) picked up fourth place; Jeremiah Rendon finished fifth at 195; and Jacob Gatlin took sixth at 170.

In all, every single South Kitsap athlete who wrestled on day two ended up placing.

“As a coach, that was pretty satisfying,” Nass said. “That was a total team effort.”

Eaglin’s technical fall win over Ben Laws in the 160 finals was indicative of how the tournament went for South Kitsap. There were quite a few cases in which the team’s individual losses came when two Wolves wrestled one another. Kennedy and McHenry wrestled one another in the 285 third-place match, with Kennedy pinning his younger teammate in 40 seconds.

At 170, Joseph Laws picked up a 6-3 victory over Michael Ager of Rogers. The other two championship wins were pins as Chobot won by fall over Sean Lightbody of Emerald Ridge midway through the second period of their match. Stafford pinned Samuel Husarik in three minutes, 41 seconds.

In the girls tournament, Rosemary Brooks won a league championship at 110 pounds, beating Annika Arriola of Rogers twice. Once in an 8-0 major decision and once by fall.

At 130, senior Brooklyn Roberts also captured a title, winning all four of her matches, including a pin of Melony Bridgeman of Bethel in the fifth round. Hailey Roberts finished third at 135.

The win for the boys in the league tournament caps an unblemished season for South Kitsap wrestling. A shortened season filled with testing twice a week and having to wrestle with masks could have easily led the team to toss in the towel on the year, but the goal-oriented culture of the program instead led them to embrace any opportunity that came their way.

“It really started with our seniors,” Nass said. “They were obviously disappointed that we couldn’t have a state tournament, but they then immediately asked, ‘What’s the best we can do?’”

The SPSL tournament then became their state tournament. And although it’s not the same as wrestling under the bright lights of the Tacoma Dome, the fact that South Kitsap wrestles in arguably the toughest league in the state gave them an opportunity to prove themselves.

And they responded by completing a 14-0 season, including a 52-25 win over Sumner in the Wolves’ final dual meet of the season. For their efforts and the adversity they had to face this year, Nass said he was as proud of this year’s team as he was of his 2018 4A state championship squad.

”They had every reason to not care and they cared immensely,” Nass said.

South Kitsap placers (boys tournament)

106 — Ashton Roberts, third; Theron Quiett, fourth.

120 — Stone Hartford, first; Chase Eaglin, fourth.

126 — Mitchell Neiner, first.

132 — Isaac Perdue, third; Isaac Brown, fourth.

138 — Vincent Nabors, second.

152 — Keel Slayback, fourth; Reis Ecklund, fifth.

160 — Xavier Eaglin, first; Ben Laws, second.

170 — Joseph Laws, first; Jacob Gatlin, sixth.

182 — Phillip Chobot, first; Devin Easley, third.

195 — Jeremiah Rendon, fifth.

220 — Logan Stafford, first.

285 — Adam Kennedy, third; Jontae McHenry, fourth.

South Kitsap placers (girls tournament)

110 — Rosemary Brooks, first.

130 — Brooklyn Roberts, first.

135 — Hailey Roberts, third.

Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group
Keel Slayback of South Kitsap placed fourth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament.

Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group Keel Slayback of South Kitsap placed fourth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament.

Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group
Reis Ecklund placed fifth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament.

Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group Reis Ecklund placed fifth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament.

Reis Ecklund placed fifth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament. (Mark Krulish | Kitsap Daily News)

Reis Ecklund placed fifth in the 152-pound weight category of the SPSL wrestling tournament. (Mark Krulish | Kitsap Daily News)

More in Sports

Mark Krulish
Kraken hope slow and steady wins the race

The tortoise and the hare, one of Aesop’s fables, is one of… Continue reading

q
Kiwanis Park gets new disc golf putting green

It’s golf, but without the heavy clubs, carts and dress code, and… Continue reading

Chad Rounds, Jimmy Lee Burrus and Ryan Hough on the water at the completion of the Warrior Paddle. (Contributed photo)
Veterans paddle to raise awareness for mental health

Armed Forces veterans know what it means to face a challenge head-on.… Continue reading

Raul Ruidiaz tries to squeeze by a Sporting KC defender in Seattle’s 3-1 loss on Sunday at Lummen Field. (Mike Fiechtner/Sounders FC Communications)
Sounders win at Austin, lose at home, but stay in 1st

With a number of veteran players remaining out of the lineup due… Continue reading

The Bainbridge LL Senior All Stars were coached by Larry Goode and Life Horwitz. The players were: Christian Benze, McCrea Curfman, Garrett Goade, Conor Grady, Spencer Grady, Matthew Grant, Jack Grant, Ben Hobbs, Monty Horowitz, Judah Marshall, Andrew O’Connell, Isaac Sellers, Miles Wieland, Owen Bernstein and AJ Stevens. (Photo courtesy Ed Wieland)
BI baseball team that almost wasn’t goes 15-2

At the beginning of the Little League season, it looked like the… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Krulish: 2021 sports season one we’ll never forget

It was likely the shortest high school sports season in state history,… Continue reading

New Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol listens during a news conference June, 24 in Seattle. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)
Seattle Kraken putting together NHL coaching staff

The Seattle Kraken inaugural season is rapidly approaching, and with the expansion… Continue reading

Ben Kussie digs out of the box for the Reds in the 18th annual old-timers and alumni Stars and Strikes game as MacKenzie Bond waits on deck. Bond tripled home Kussie in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings. (Photo courtesy Paimon Jaberi)
Reds win BI’s Stars and Strikes game with walkoff double

Participants glad to be back after year off due to COVID

Dominic D’Amico makes the final out of the game at second base and avoids a collision with a Gig Harbor base runner in the District 2 championship. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
BI Little League majors capture district championship

Team advances to state in Redmond July 17

Jaynie Davis (3) makes the grab coming over from leftfield as Layla Baker backs her up. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK can’t flush away final 2 losses to Gig Harbor

The North Kitsap Little League Majors Softball All Stars had an unusual… Continue reading

The annual Stars and Strikes 
old-timers game will take place 
at noon July 4 at Bainbridge 
High School. 
Review file photo
Old-timers return to field in July 4 Stars and Strikes game

The “old-timers” are going to hit the diamond once again this year,… Continue reading