EAST BREMERTON — The next generation of wrestlers has stepped up for South Kitsap and led the team to its third consecutive HammerHead Invitational team championship during the two-day event held Dec.14-15 at the Kitsap Fairgrounds.
The Wolves racked up 241.5 points, nearly 50 points better than South Puget Sound League foes Sumner thanks to six placers and some dominant performances.
You can bow out and make excuses, but they showed grit and toughness,” said South Kitsap head coach Chad Nass of the long two days over which the tournament takes place. “They kept competing and battling for two days and as a coach that’s all you can ask.”
Senior Deyondre Davis turned in one of the more impressive performances at HammerHead, picking up three technical falls and a major decision on his way to a 5-0 tournament and a championship in the 160-pound weight class.
“He’s just out there being an athlete, and he’s incredible,” Nass said.
Davis capped his day with a 17-0 technical fall over Six Buck of Union in the 160 finals, keeping his opponent off balance during the entire bout.
“For a lot of positions, I like to find my own way to do things and it just throws people off,” Davis said.
The Wolves had two more finalists in sophomore Xavier Eaglin and senior Jacob Laws.
Eaglin, last year’s 106 state champion, has moved up to 126 this year and faced a fellow state champion in Burlington-Edison’s Isaac Lopez, who won at 113 at last year’s Mat Classic. Eaglin lost the match 4-2, though he managed to take some control late in the third period. He scored two points with about a minute to go, but may have just run out of time.
“He had a hard time, he struggled on the bottom getting out,” Nass said. “He finally solved it, but a little late.”
Laws lost his finals match at 145 to C.J. Richmond of Sumner, who finished second in the state at 132 last season.
Logan Stafford and Ethan Fragoso took third at 182 and 220 respectively. Peyton Motter finished fourth at 113. Brooklyn Roberts finished as a co-fifth in the 125 bracket of the girls tournament.
Michaelson, Gomez grab titles
If Davis’s technical fall in the 160 finals was the most impressive finals performance among Kitsap wrestlers, Bremerton’s Haley Michaelson was certainly not too far behind.
In the 140 finals of the girls tournament, she faced off against Ivy Kraght of Kentwood. Within one minute and 34 seconds, she was a champion.
Michaelson had Kraght on the ropes a few different times in their relatively short match, and she was able to get her opponent in a half nelson to pick up the pin and take the crown.
It was an emotional win for Michaelson, a senior, who had poured a lot of time and effort into coming out on top at HammerHead in her final year after finishing fourth the previous year.
“I really wanted to put all the skills I learned into this tournament,” Michaelson said.
Bremerton’s girls team was well-represented on the podium. Catalina Sanchez and Evelyn Taylor each picked up co-thirds at 190 and 235 respectively.
Also winning a championship at HammerHead was North Kitsap sophomore Robert Gomez, who was in charge from start to finish in the 132 finals against Cody Bolstad of Puyallup.
Gomez had two pins and two easy decisions under his belt before reaching the finals. He once again managed to keep his opponent at bay for just about the entire bout and he picked up a 6-2 victory.
“Once he got his lead, he knew how to just control the match and he didn’t get in bad positions in those scrambles,” North Kitsap head coach Robert Gomez said. “He stayed in the moment and didn’t bail.”
Nouh Hammou, a junior, bounced back from a semifinal loss to eventual 195 champion Issac Clark of Puyallup to finish fifth with a 10-6 decision over Colby Demorest of Forks.
Olympic had a pair of third place finishers in Anjelo Pangelinan (113) and Tim Porter (132). Leslie Espinosa picked up a co-third spot in the girls 190 division.
Hayden Steele was the top placer for Klahowya, taking third at 138, winning by injury forfeit over Ridgefield’s Dylan Draper.
106 — Kelton Gagnon, Klahowya, fifth; Garrett Swanson, Bainbridge, sixth.
113 — Anjelo Pangelinan, Olympic, third; Peyton Motter, South Kitsap, fourth.
126 — Xavier Eaglin, South Kitsap, second.
132 — Robert Gomez, North Kitsap, first; Tim Porter, Olympic, third; Estan Wakonabo, Bremerton, sixth.
138 — Hayden Steele, Klahowya, third.
145 — Jacob Laws, South Kitsap, second.
160 — Deyondre Davis, South Kitsap, first.
182 — Logan Stafford, South Kitsap, third.
195 — Nouh Hammou, North Kitsap, fifth.
220 — Ethan Fragoso, South Kitsap, third.
115B — Angelina Ixmay Tzun, Central Kitsap, co-fifth.
125 — Brooklyn Roberts, South Kitsap, co-fifth.
130B — Summer Paul, Klahowya, co-fifth.
135B — Sagel Bush, Bainbridge, second.
140 — Haley Michaelson, Bremerton, first; Elise Scrafford, North Kitsap, co-third.
190 — Leslie Espinosa, Olympic, co-third; Catalina Sanchez, Bremerton, co-third.
235 — Evelyn Taylor, Bremerton, co-third.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.