EAST BREMERTON — They may not be able to recapture the magic of last year’s dream season, but the South Kitsap High wrestling team is off to a fine start in the 2018-2019 season.
Fresh off a victory at the Auburn Invitational, the Wolves grabbed one of the third-place spots at the 2018 Olympic Duals, which took place at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion in Bremerton Dec. 8, a tournament that differs from most in that it’s a greater test of team depth.
But the South Kitsap grapplers were up for the challenge and went 3-1. They beat A.C. Davis 46-30 and topped Union 44-29 before losing to eventual runner-up Toppenish. They then rebounded to beat Kent-Meridian, 57-18, to take a third-place spot.
“Our kids are under the radar,” South Kitsap head coach Chad Nass said. “We don’t have the superstars, but one of the things that made our team last year so special was, they pulled those kids along with them that weren’t as good as that core group and they made them good.”
The Wolves had a 30-28 lead over Toppenish with two matches to go in their semifinal dual after Xavier Eaglin, last year’s 106-pound 4A state champion, accepted a forfeit in the 126-pound bout, but the Wildcats were able to take the final two matches via the pin to score 12 points and pick up a 40-30 victory.
However, Nass was proud of how his team, which has nine new starters in the lineup this year, rebounded to easily top Kent-Meridian in their final dual meet of the day.
“I thought our kids wrestled really well, we have a really young team,” Nass said. “We graduated a lot of kids and I was pleased with how we competed all day. They didn’t get down, they stayed in there and competed.”
The Wolves’ Eaglin, Ethan Fragoso, Logan McKinney and Jacob Laws each won all four of their matches.
The honor of having the toughest draw of the day for Kitsap teams likely goes to the Olympic Trojans, who had to face Curtis, Union and Wenatchee along with Central Kitsap, the only team they beat to finish 1-3 on the day.
Standout junior Anjelo Pangelinan, wrestling at 113 pounds, finished 4-0 and picked up two pins and a technical fall in his three matches. His fourth victory came via forfeit against Union.
He gave his coaches a scare in his first match against his counterpart from Curtis. He was nearly pinned early in the bout, but he eventually rebounded and was able to outlast his opponent, picking up the pin late in the third period of the match.
“I had a rough start, but at the end, I pulled through,” Pangelinan said.
Pangelinan is a wrestler to watch this season. After finishing seventh at state as a freshman at 106 pounds, he did not place as a sophomore. Both years, he was eliminated from the winner’s bracket by Uriel Garcia of Wapato, who has since graduated. While he is currently wrestling at 113 pounds, he’s still certified to drop down at 106.
He’s also one of the most experienced wrestlers of an otherwise young group of Trojans. But with such a wide-open league this year, Olympic can’t be counted out of the title race just yet.
“This is always where we’re just beginning to put pieces together and kids are at the weights they should have been at,” said Olympic head coach Troy Reynolds.
North Kitsap’s Robert Gomez and Nouh Hammou both went 4-0 on Saturday, and Holly Beaudoin bounced back after two losses to score two pins against wrestlers from Central Kitsap and Bremerton.
The Knights went 2-2, while North Kitsap went 1-3 and Central Kitsap went 0-4. Yelm defeated Toppenish in the championship.
Many of these wrestlers will return to the same place this weekend to participate in the HammerHead Invitational, one of the West Sound’s signature wrestling tournaments.
2018 Olympic Duals results
South Kitsap — 3-1. Defeated A.C. Davis, 46-30; defeated Union 44-29; lost to Toppenish 40-30; defeated Kent-Meridian 57-18.
Bremerton — 2-2. Lost to White River 58-15; lost to Auburn 34-24; defeated Mount Si 49-30; defeated North Kitsap.
North Kitsap — 1-3. Lost to Union 46-30; lost to A.C. Davis 54-25; defeated Central Kitsap; lost to Bremerton.
Olympic — 1-3. Lost to Curtis 60-21; defeated Central Kitsap 45-36; lost to Union 43-33; lost to Wenatchee 42-40.
Central Kitsap — 0-4. Lost to Toppenish 61-6; lost to Olympic 45-36; lost to North Kitsap; lost to Mount Si 43-28.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.