POULSBO — In its first home dual of the season, the North Kitsap Viking wrestling team filled the NKHS den with dominance.
The Vikes trotted easily over Lincoln to a 64-18 team win, which boosts them to a 9-1 record as they look forward to one of the most important weeks of the season. Next week also brings a chance to challenge South Kitsap’s ridiculous Narrows League unbeaten streak Jan. 25. (South hasn’t lost to a Narrows League opponent since 1992).
“It was nice,” NK head coach Jon Cooke said of finally wrestling at home. “That’s one thing we’re pumping this week, we’ve hot South Kitsap coming up and we want to pack this place out, so I told them, ‘We’ve got to give people a show.’”
For the first time Thursday night, the Vikings took on Lincoln with a near full cast. Throughout the first half of the season, North has been giving up an average of three matches to forfeits. But since 119-pounder John Stiffler gained eligibility and 130-pounder Lyle Welsh slimmed down to the 125 spot, the Vikings should have a much easier dual road, Cooke said.
“The major thing is we’ve got a couple guys in filling some holes,” he said. “Not giving up those three forfeits, now giving up only one is good morale booster for the kids.”
The 103 spot is now the only spot where North’s roster is vacant.
At 112, Willis Castle started out the meet for the Vikings Thursday with a pin as he earned the fall in the second round over Lincoln’s Jairo Vazquez. However, the Abes returned the favor as Anthony Dayinthabogn pinned Stiffler in the NK 119-pounder’s debut.
Then the Vikings went on a four-match swing that would seal their victory.
It began with Welsh as he pinned his opponent — Thomas Caro — before the end of the first period, then NK 130-pounder Patrick Laurion followed suit, pinning Jessie Wehlast in 1:13.
Johnny Helsing dominated his 135-pound match, rocketing to a 20-4 count and securing the tech fall for the Vikes. Then after two Lincoln fofeits and two more Viking pins by AJ Colpaert (145) and Anthony Lindfors (160), NK 189-pounder Jon Berry also scored a tech fall, as he worked Michael Young by a count of 17-1.
North’s natural 189-pounder Eric Hedin — who leads the Vikings this year with a 19-1 record — made the jump to cover the 215-pound spot with ease.
In 59 seconds, he pinned a determined Josh Cline.
Then Viking big man Bill Plowman accepted one of Lincoln’s four total forfeits to finish the match: 64-18 North Kitsap.
Cooke said that practice on the day before the match had lacked the Vikings typical “spunk” which had him worried that the team may have been over-looking Lincoln. He was pleasantly surprised with the Viking performance for the home crowd.
“They showed up tonight,” he said.
The Vikings will be showing what they’ve got at a South Kitsap tournament today, then next week they will host four different duals in four days.
“Some of these guys wrestle five times a day, so it’s more the mental drain more than anything that I’m worried about,” Cooke noted.
Jan. 22, the Vikings will travel to Olympia before returning to Poulsbo to host Central Kitsap in a dual Jan. 24, welcoming South and Foss for a double-dual Jan. 25.
That match with South, which will precede the match-up with Foss Thursday, is a rescheduled match that could very well decide this year’s Narrows League title — both teams are undefeated in Narrows’ duals competition this year.