BREMERTON — There was no better evidence of South Kitsap’s early season success on the mats than the final match in the 170-pound weight class of the HammerHead invitational, which featured Wolves teammates Mason Eaglin and Nathan Marin squaring off against one another.
South Kitsap wrestlers went 4-for-4 in final matches at the Dec. 15-16 tournament. Senior Sebastian Robles was named wrestler of the tournament for the upper weight classes, which helped the Wolves defend their HammerHead crown, finishing 14 points ahead of Sumner for first place.
If you’re a believer in omens, the first match of the finals was surely a sign of success to come for the Wolves.
In the 106-pound finals, South Kitsap freshman Xavier Eaglin was down 5-1 to Olympic’s Anjelo Pangelinan with just 10 seconds left, and needed a big move to make a comeback.
He used a technique known as the merkle, a difficult to master but powerful turn that can be used when points are desperately needed.
“I just had to hit it,” Eaglin said.
And Eaglin did, earning points for the reversal and the subsequent near-fall to take the championship 6-5. Teammate Davonn Keyes would later follow suit in the 160 finals, earning a buzzer-beating takedown to defeat John Bittinger of Gig Harbor, 8-6.
“You have to wrestle for six full minutes, and they did,” South Kitsap head coach Chad Nass said. “That’s what ultimately won the match.”
Robles, the aforementioned wrestler of the tournament in the higher weight classes and winner of the sportsmanship award, took home a major decision against Tanner Lees of Washougal in the 145 finals, winning 13-2 and thoroughly dominating the match.
Teammates Mason Eaglin and Marin faced off in the 170 finals, but the match was somewhat anticlimatic. Eaglin won 7-0, but the match was devoid of much excitement or intrigue, as the two are quite familiar with one another’s styles and techniques from practicing together. And, of course, neither wrestler wanted to do something that would injure his teammate.
“Yes, ‘don’t get hurt,’ that’s obviously a big thing,” Nass said.
Nevertheless, it helped propel the Wolves to the tournament championship. Other top six placers for the South Kitsap boys included Devin Gentz, who finished third at 120 pounds after defeating Keegan Anderson of Puyallup, 3-1; Logan Gleason, who took fourth in the 285-pound division after losing by fall to Roy Crawford Taoipu of Decatur; and Izaiah Davis, who finished sixth at 195 after forfeiting the fifth-place match to Roman Schuck of Thomas Jefferson. Nass said Davis was sick and tried to sleep it off after wrestling on the first day of the tournament, but was unable to shake it.
The Olympic High School boys finished sixth overall (fifth amongst boys teams) thanks to two finals appearances from Alec Acfalle and Pangelinan. Acfalle lost to Jace Coulter of Puyallup in the 145 finals late in the match. Glenn Moe also took home fifth place at 145 pounds after defeating Landon McClune of Eastmont.
North Kitsap received a pair of top six finishes from Robert Gomez, who defeated Jon Williams of Sumner, 5-1, to take fifth place at 126 pounds; and Nouh Hammou who knocked off Brett Womack of Eastmont by fall in 43 seconds to win fifth at 182 pounds. The Vikings finished 23rd among the boys teams and 28th overall.
Bremerton was led by Ryan Sailor, who lost to Duncan Harrison of Mount Si in the third-place match of the 145-pound division. Estan Wakonabo lost a 6-2 decision to Cody Bolstad of Puyallup to take home sixth place at 120 pounds. The Knights were 25th on the boys side and 30th overall.
Also receiving a sixth-place finish was Klahowya, as Dallin Stafford made it to the fifth-place match at 138 pounds, but had to forefit due to injury.
On the girls side, Kitsap schools did not have a winner, but several wrestlers finished as “co-thirds,” which is a term used for wrestlers who reach the third-place match, but exceed the number of matches an individual can wrestle in a single day. The girls tournament was held on Dec. 16.
Among them were Holly Beaudoin of North Kitsap at 115 pounds; Angel Collins of North Kitsap and Ashlyn Morris of Olympic at 120 pounds; Haley Michaelson of Bremerton and Hannah Johnson of North Kitsap at 135 pounds; Hali Deck of South Kitsap at 145 pounds; and Dayonna Hall of Bremerton in the 170B division.
Sixth-place finishers included Jennifer Cabana of Klahowya at 100 pounds; Brooklyn Roberts of South Kitsap at 115 pounds; Rachel Longridge of Bainbridge at 120; Amber Andrada of Central Kitsap in 125B; Annika Taylor of North Kitsap at 145; Cy’nari Green of Bremerton at 155; and Leslie Espinosa of Olympic at 170.
North Kitsap finished seventh among the girls teams, followed by Olympic (14th), Bremerton (18th), South Kitsap (22nd), Klahowya (35th) and Central Kitsap (37th).
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@sound publishing.com.