Sports

GK fire power too much for all

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports editor

The Olympic Duals might be a team tournament, but no one had a tougher draw than Olympic 152-pounder Lucas Kogut.

The Olympic senior helped the Trojans to a second-place finish at the Olympic Duals, the third installment of the Trojan-hosted team tournament at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Pavilion. With 32 returning state participants among the 16 participating teams, including three defending state champions, the field was loaded with talent. Just ask Kogut, who drew three-time state champ Michael Mangrum of Aurburn-Riverside and Graham-Kapowsin’s defending champ Brad Sweet in the final two rounds of the Oly Duals.

“I was like, ‘Well, let’s put them to the test,’” Kogut said of the matches. “I was just thinking, ‘I guess I’ve got a tough job ahead.’”

Olympic coach Bobby Manglona, himself a former state champ, tried to ease Kogut’s mind before the matches.

“I told him have fun,” Manglona said. “He’s a great kid.”

And while the defending champs both pinned Kogut in the first round, he said there was much he learned from the matches. In fact, he lasted longer than anyone did against Sweet Saturday.

“I’m pretty happy about that,” he said. “Those experiences of being with ‘em and that kind of intensity too. Just being able to carry that into my next matches.”

Kogut wasn’t the only wrestler to get pinned by someone donning the orange and blue GK singlets.

Not only did Graham-Kapowsin take the team title, topping the host Trojans 57-23 in the finals, but they did so recording a new tournament record 34 pins along the way.

“We knew if we got to the finals Graham-Kapowsin would be a tough team,” Manglona said. “They definitely have their stuff together.”

The tournament was still more than a success for the Trojans, who finished 3-1 on the day after recording a 46-22 win against Auburn-Riverside and 45-33 and 53-24 wins against Gonzaga Prep and Wenatchee respectively.

“I was happy with the kids,” Manglona said. “I was worried about Auburn-Riverside, but we did well.”

That match featured some of the closest individual battles on the day, with defending state champ Eric Jones edging Ivan Gaeta at 160 pounds by a 9-8 score. Gaeta was particularly happy with the match, giving Jones fits with his upper body strength, holding a 7-6 lead at one point.

“Honestly, it was kind of a numb feeling,” he said after the match. “I knew I was wrestling a state champ, but at the time, I didn’t really think about it.”

Still, it’s tough matches like that one that he said will only make him stronger.

“It does, it helps,” Gaeta said. “Last year, I had a lot of problems getting my head into the matches. This helps to know I can bang with the big names.”

While the GK match kept Oly from repeating as the tourney champs, Manglona said the loss had many benefits that will pay even greater dividends down the road.

“I’m glad we lost honestly. I know it sounds stupid to say, but it shows us some kinks,” he said. “It’s good. It makes sure the kids don’t have some false sense of hope. It shoots down our overconfidence factor.”

Gaeta agreed.

“This is gonna be a driving force, the eye-opener to have us work harder,” he said.

The Trojans were still without 189-pounder Laurice Gerig, who said an MRI this week would shed light on the chances of his return from a preseason knee injury. And while Gerig wasn’t able to go, Manglona said that opened the door for one of the team’s top performers on the day.

“Luke O’Halek stepped it up today,” Manglona said. “With Laurice hurt, he wrestled awesome today. He definitely stepped it up.”

Camie Yeik (103) had another strong outing, winning three of her four matches, falling only to Gonzaga Prep’s Dave Hall, considered a state contender by many. But even more gratifying was Yeik’s selection for the individual sportsmanship award. Kingston won the team sportsmanship award.

“That was nice for her,” Manglona said. “She’s a good kid. She smiles even in defeat.”

Brandon Truini, who transfered to Oly from Elma, had an outstanding day on the mats as well, defeating AR’s Michael Turner 12-6 before pinning Chris Condon of GK in 3 minutes, 25 seconds.

“He’s a beast,” Manglona said. “That kid is just a spider. He’s funky, he’s got crazy pinning combinations. And he’s tough as nails. I’m glad to have him.”

Jesse Borcherding (112), Billy Neary (145) and Michael D’Astoli all had strong tournaments for Oly, as did Branden Yeik at 135.

But Manglona said one of the effort’s he appreciated most was a collective one.

“I’m really, really thankful for these guys, the parents, the volunteers,” Manglona said.

“They run the whole thing. They do a lot for me.”

Three teams earned shares of third and fourth place, with Marysville-Pilchuck, Wenatchee and Davis (of Yakima) finishing third. That left AR, Bethel and Klahowya in a tie for fourth.

That left Klahowya coach Wayne Gizzi a pretty happy camper, considering Klahowya was the smallest school attending the tournament.

“I thought we were able to hang,” Gizzi said. “Some of the bigger 4As like Wenatchee and Marysville really took it to us.

“I was honest with them,” Gizzi said of the Eagles’ first-round 49-18 loss to Marysville-Pilchuck. “I said we just didn’t wrestle well. But they came back and rallied well.”

In the consolation first round, Klahowya beat Peninsula 40-36 before beating Olympia by the same score. Wenatchee then beat the Eagles 55-17 in one of the third-fourth finals.

“We were just kind of hanging around,” Gizzi said.

Saturday marked the season debut for Klahowya’s Karl Neumann, a face Gizzi was glad to see back on the mat.

“Karl, for the first time out, looked good,” he said. “It’s hard the first time around, especially when you’ve got some hard kids you’re wrestling.”

In addition to pointing out Danny Zimny, Gizzi also said he was impressed with Kevin Schiffman, who has come on strong of late.

“Danny really looked good. And those are my two captains,” Gizzi said, referring to Zimny and Neumann. “(Schiffman)’s looking better every time he heads out there. He’s very coachable.”

It wasn’t an easy tournament for the Eagles to jump into, as the storms that flooded much of Kitsap last week limited Klahowya’s practice time, Gizzi said.

“Monday and Tuesday we didn’t have practice,” he said. “Wednesday we had a dual so we didn’t practice. So we got a total of maybe two hours of practice mat time in this week. And it showed. But under the circumstances, I think we came together really well.”

And getting the team to come together was a goal Gizzi said the Eagles had coming into the team tournament.

“I like team tourneys early,” Gizzi said. “After this week, we start going more into individuals. It just helps them kind of come together as a team. And you can work on things.”

The Eagles weren’t the only teams to be adversely impacted by weather. Evergreen (of Vancouver) and Hudson’s Bay were originally slated to attend, but road closures and flooding prevented the teams from making the trip up the I-5 corridor. As a result, the tournament was able to add Kingston, who wrestled Wenatchee in a varsity dual Friday night anyway; and Peninsula, as the Seahawks’ tournament was cancelled at the last second.

Three schools also tied for fifth and sixth place, with Bremerton edging Peninsula 39-37, Olympia squeaking by Gonzaga Prep 29-27 and Central Kitsap drubbing Sequim 51-21.

But even with the positive finish, CK coach Mike Harter said the tourney was not an easy one.

“It was a harsh tournament for us,” Harter said.

Already without five wrestlers, including state placer Franco Cruz, the Cougars struggled at times on the mats. While CK topped Bethel 41-36 in the opening round, the Cougars fell in a respectable 46-30 decision to AR.

“We came were close in that match with Auburn-Riverside,” Harter said. “They out-physicalled us, which shocked me. I never though we’d be out-physicalled like we were.”

Wenatchee then ran wild on CK, winning 66-14 before CK rebounded with the fifth-place victory.

“We’ve got guys out,” Harter said, as the team also lacked Chad Massida, Howie McDonald and Bradley Franco. “We had some skin issues with some guys.”

To make matters even worse, Chase Huntley (160) broke his jaw at the tourney and will likely be out for the season.

So all things considered, Harter was pretty pleased with the efforts he got out of the likes of Kent Manalo (145) in particular. Trevor Stanburg (119), Karl Koemmpel (140), Mike Crowely (171) and other also had strong outings.

“We didn’t do bad,” Harter said. “Overall, our kids wrestled hard. That last dual especially, our kids really stepped up.”

Klahowya hosts Bainbridge on the mats at 7 p.m. tonight, while CK travels to Wilson tomorrow.

Each squad is away at tournaments this weekend as well.

OLYMPIC DUALS

• Championship:

GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN 57, OLYMPIC 23

• Third/fourth place:

MARYSVILLE-PILCHUCK 45, AUBURN-RIVERSIDE 34;

WENATCHEE 55, KLAHOWYA 17;

DAVIS 54, BETHEL 24

• Fifth/sixth place:

CENTRAL KITSAP 51, SEQUIM 21;

BREMERTON 39, PENINSULA 37;

OLYMPIA 29, GONZAGA PREP 27

• Seventh/eighth place:

KINGSTON 45, NORTH KITSAP 31

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 22 edition online now. Browse the archives.