Eagles wrestling team up for the challenge

Klahowya Secondary School wrestlers Daniel Veach and Kevin Schiffman practice Monday. - Mike Baldwin/staff photo
Klahowya Secondary School wrestlers Daniel Veach and Kevin Schiffman practice Monday.
— image credit: Mike Baldwin/staff photo

Jim Zimny knew his school wasn’t the biggest at the Olympic Duals tournament.

The first-year head wrestling coach at Klahowya Secondary School was well aware of the powerhouse programs that would also attend last weekend’s 16-team tournament at the Kitsap Pavilion. Klahowya was faced with the challenge of playing larger programs from other leagues. The Eagles, a Class 2A Olympic League team, were dealt three 4A teams at the tournament, including perennial Narrows League champion South Kitsap High School, which prevailed with a 53-27 win.

“I try to encourage our kids, knowing that South Kitsap is literally five times larger than Klahowya,” Zimny said. “We were very pleased by how the boys took them on.”

After the Eagles defeated A.C. Davis High School (Yakima) 39-37 in the first round, South Kitsap was next on the slate. South Kitsap entered the second round on the heels of a 63-12 rout of Thomas Jefferson High School (Federal Way) in the duals opener. Klahowya senior wrestler Kevin Schiffman said his team was ready for South Kitsap, despite any pre-match jitters.

“As soon as we found out we had to wrestle them, we knew it would be tough,” he said. “It was pretty intimidating.”

Schiffman wrestled in the 160-pound weight class so the team could fill every weight class and avoid a six-point deduction. Schiffman, who normally competes in the 145-weight class, won his match. Zimny said he was content with the effort by his team against a large 4A school in the biggest wrestling tournament in Kitsap.

“As a team, they realized what they were up against,” Zimny said. “South Kitsap is a dynasty around here, and when we go up and score 27 points against them, it makes our team feel pretty good about themselves.”

Zimny said his team used the tournament as a way to reveal its most pressing issues and improve for the rest of the season. Klahowya lost in the consolation round to Graham-Kapowsin High School (Graham), 42-34. Despite the loss, Zimny said his team is encouraged by its six individual match victories against another one of the top wrestling programs in the state.

“When you go into a tournament like that, your hope is that you get tough competition to show some fraction in the armor,” Zimny said. “And in the matches, especially the ones against South Kitsap, the things to work on were really brought to light that we hadn’t seen yet.”

Klahowya picked up its second Olympic Duals win with a 41-20 victory against Kingston High School. The Eagles split their tournament record with a 2-2 record, but failed to earn a top-5 finish.

Senior wrestler Daniel Veach, who competed at the tournament in the 152-weight class, said his team performed well under pressure considering the quality of opponents.

“It was a great tournament to start our season with,” he said. “I think we did really well and fought hard. We were a little intimidated because of South Kitsap’s size, knowing how big they were, but we still put up a really good fight at the tournament.”

Central Kitsap High School finishes third

Wenatchee 42, Central Kitsap 38

Central Kitsap 60, North Kitsap 22

Central Kitsap 48, Hudson’s Bay 26

Central Kitsap 37, A.C. Davis 36

Olympic High School finishes fifth

Hudson’s Bay 39, Olympic 37

Auburn Riverside 45, Olympic 33

Olympic 42, North Kitsap 36

Olympic 48, Thomas Jefferson 39

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