OLYMPIA — Despite a pair of forfeits that put it 12 points in the hole before the grapplers even hit the mats, the North Kitsap wrestling team made seven pins and beat the Olympia Bears 44-27 Thursday.
“This is very exciting,” said Vikings Coach Jon Cooke. “We were in better shape and we attacked well. It worked out for us.”
The win is also Cooke’s and assistant coach Mike Derda’s first for the purple and gold. But more importantly, said Cooke, is the fact North simply needed experience on the mat.
“What the (North Kitsap) kids needed was some confidence,” Cooke commented. “They went out tonight and won it with hard work.”
The Vikings went down early, after a forfeiture and a loss at the 215-lbs. weight class. But the Vikings bench was fired up after Matt Grimes, wrestling in the 103-lbs. class, pinned Bear Josh Brodie in the third period.
After two additional forfeitures, the Vikings went down 24-12. But Tim Beckwith came back with a pin at the 119-lbs. class and Corey Maxwell pinned another Bear in the 135-lbs. class with one second to go in the first period to knot things up at 24 apiece.
In the 140-lbs. class, Jerrell Smith put the Vikes up with a pin over Bear Peter Gorgas, and Danny Harris bested his opponent, Bear Jason Honton, with a regular decision 10-5 to give the Vikes three more points in another 140 lbs. match. After Corey Bast made another pin at the 152-lbs. class and Will Wrapp lost only by a regular decision at 160-lbs., a Viking victory was immanent.
But Viking Curtis Travelstead, knowing his team had sealed a win, came in for the final match of the evening wanting another pin.
“I always think you should try your hardest even when you don’t need to,” said Travelstead, who wrestled in the 171-lbs. class.
With two seconds to go in the third, Travelstead put his Bear opponent on his back for another pin — the seventh and final on the night.
“We’re very pumped,” Travelstead added. “We’re going to keep up the intensity and conditioning and work on the moves.”
The win was hard fought and showed discipline — a discipline formed out of conditioning that assistant coach Derda insists upon.
“It shows the fact that although they get mad at my warm-ups,” Derda explained, “Every single (Viking wrestler) came up and said they now understand why we do it.
“When they come out (on the mat), they aren’t going to give up,” Derda added.
Bears coach Rocky Isley agreed North Kitsap was too tough on the mats in the duration of the match.
“NK is in better shape than we are,” Isley said. “We were ahead early, but we just got gassed out there.”
Coach Cooke said he believes that now, the team can build on its never-say-die attitude with better technique for the rest of the season.
“With the combination of hard work and technique, this will be a great team,” Cooke said.
The grapplers will face Lincoln in the team’s first home match of the season at 7 p.m. Dec. 9.