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Olympic Duals back strong
By AARON MANAGHAN
When the Olympic Duals Wrestling Tournament kicks off Saturday at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Pavilion, 87 returning regional participants, 32 returning state participants and 15 state placers return along with it.
The Olympic Duals, formerly Olympic Dream Duals, happens Saturday with wrestling scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m. as teams from across Washington battle it out.
This year, host Olympic and local schools Central Kitsap, Klahowya, North Kitsap and Bremerton are joined by Olympia, Sequim, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane), Evergreen (Vancouver), Hudson's Bay, Davis (Yakima), Bethel, Graham-Kapowsin, Wenatchee, Auburn-Riverside and Marysville-Pilchuck.
"We're excited about the tournament," Olympic Duals Director Doug Dowell said. "We've got some really top-notch kids that will be competing this year."
In addition to the state placers coming back, four were finalists and three were state champs, including AR's phenom Michael Mangrum.
Opening ceremonies prior to wrestling will begin at 9 a.m., with a Friday JV tournament also preceding it.
Cost for adults is $8, while students, seniors and children can get in for $4. Children 5 years old and younger will be admitted for free, as will Olympic students with a valid ASB card.
Harrison Medical Center and Benik Corp. are the tournament's major sponsors this year, which allows each varsity wrestler to have a free T-shirt, which were designed by 1010 Graphx.
Awards will be given out for most team falls, as well as individual and team sportsmanship. Trophies will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place teams with each wrestler from those teams receiving medals.
"It is our sincere hope that this tournament will provide a lasting memory for all of the young athletes involved," Dowell said. "At the same time, we would also love to see the community come out and witness the dedication, skill and sportsmanship that our student athletes are developing through the sport of wrestling."