SILVERDALE — Central Kitsap’s Matman Classic is growing into one of the state’s most prestigious wrestling tournaments as it continues to expand the number and quality of its teams.
This year, the tournament’s team roster read like a state wrestling honor roll as four of the 15 teams — (final team placing) No. 1 Lake Stevens, No. 2 Rogers, No. 3 Enumclaw, No. 6 South Kitsap — finished in the top 10 at last year’s Mat Classic XVIII Championships.
“This is a great tournament to have at this time of the year because you’ve got some of the best teams in the state there, so they get to see some of the best wrestlers in the state,” said NK head coach Jon Cooke.
North Kitsap senior and returning stater Eric Hedin — 18-1 with 14 pins this season — proved his standing amongst the giants as he battled to the 189-pound championship, winning the final by pinning Olympic’s Laurice Gerig to highlight North’s tourney experience.
“He’s the first North Kitsap kid to win a championship since I’ve been here,” said Cooke, the fourth year NK coach. “Although we didn’t place as high as we would’ve liked as a team, overall they all wrestled very well. It’s a measuring stick at this point in the season.”
As a team, the Vikings finished 10th.
As the tournament segued from the morning qualifying rounds into the quarter- and semi-finals, North had a number of matches against big time opponents in which the Vikings fell just short.
Jim Smith, also wrestling at 189, lost to Gerig by a 9-4 decision in the semifinals before earning his way to third place with two more decisions in the consolation bracket.
At 160 pounds, NK’s Anthony Lindfors made his way into the semi-finals where Rogers’ Kyle Ames stole the match 10-8 in overtime. The loss sent Lindfors into the consolation bracket where he came up short in another overtime match with Ryan Boddy, 3-1, and finished up fifth.
“I think probably the biggest positive that I’d seen was three or four of (our guys) listening throughout the day, and getting that boost, that kick in the rear end,” he said. “They, realizing themselves, that, ‘This is what I need to work on.’”
NK 285-pound big man Bill Plowman was hard at work trying to stop a bloody nose as he was disqualified from the championship bracket when he ran of “blood time,” Cooke said. With a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop in a semifinal jostle, Oly’s Kevin Siperek, the eventual 285 champion, won the match
Plowman had accrued a 10-6 win and a 4:23 pin to get to that point, but after falling to consolation, he fell even further to fifth place.
“It’s hard to lose in the situation and come back and wrestle again,” Cooke said.
For now, the Vikings (8-1 overall, 5-0 Narrows League) are in “dual mode” Cooke said, with three more duals laying ahead before the championship season begins with the Narrows League, West Central District sub-regional meet Feb. 2-3.
North’s dual with Olympia scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled by snow. Next up, the Vikings will host Lincoln in their first home show of the year: varsity starts at 7 p.m. Jan. 18.
Then after a weekend tourney in South Kitsap, the Vikings will be back to host CK Jan. 24 before hosting Foss and potentially SK (tentative reschedule from Jan. 11) for its final dual Jan. 25. Both varsity meets will begin at 7 p.m. at North Kitsap High School.