POULSBO — When the Vikings had wrestlers to send out against the Wilson Rams Thursday night, they did well.
But when you’re handcuffed by three forfeits it’s difficult to get a win.
So the Vikings (0-4) fell to Wilson (6-2), 40-31.
Head coach Larry Maguire said the Vikings’ forfeits, which came at the 112, 119, and 135-lb weight classes, have shackled them so far in the early season.
“Those forfeits really chewed us up,” he said. “But we had some great performances out there.”
In fact, the Vikings started out with a strong performance by 152-lb. wrestler Clark Hutchman, who was looking for his first win of the young season.
Hutchman was matched up with Wilson’s Ryan Sheldon, and it proved to be no match at all as Hutchman piled up 10 first-period points before pinning Sheldon in the second period (2:24) to put North Kitsap on top.
The Vikings’ Mike Baker was equally dominant in the next match, when he faced Wilson’s Jonathan Macejunas.
Baker piled up points — at one point lifting Macejunas off the ground to initiate a takedown — and won a major decision, 13-0.
The third match was a charm as NK’s Mark Sargeant charged into his match, pinning Brad Foran’s shoulders to the mat early. Foran bucked Sargeant off, but Sargeant remained tenacious and achieved the fastest pin of the evening — :59.
After Sargeant, the Vikings’ Nick Sargeant was pinned by Wilson’s Dan Schafer, and the Rams cut into the lead.
But Jarod Jennings extended that lead again for the Vikings.
Jennings faced the Rams’ George Smith, who earned an early 4-0 lead on Jennings by notching a takedown and a near fall.
Jennings achieved some points of his own, and the two wrestlers entered the second period tied, 5-5.
Jennings got an escape and a takedown, then pinned Smith before the second period was half over (2:29).
The Viking lead stood at 22-6.
But then it began to slip away.
Wilson notched a major decision against the Vikings’ Tim Keane; North Kitsap’s Mike Lucas was pinned by the Rams’ Ryan West.
Then the forfeits began to kick in, with the Vikings yielding the 112, 119, and 130 weight classes.
The Vikings fought to retake the lead. Jordan Andersen, wrestling at 130 pounds, won an 8-2 decision to bring some points back. The Vikings’ Josh Reichert eked a close decision over Reuben Burbank, 1-0, with an escape giving Reichert his only point. And the Vikings’ Phillip Baker earned a close 6-4 decision to bring the Vikings within nine.
Unfortunately, it was the last match of the evening.
The Vikings had given up 18 points by forfeit and lost by nine.
Afterwards, Maguire was happy with the effort put in by his wrestlers.
“Mark Sargeant wrestled really well,” he said. “Reichert did a great job for us … things are looking up for us.”
The Vikings will wrestle at the Olympic High School tournament this weekend. The tournament features eight teams.