Sports

Olympic adds talent to more talent

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports editor

The Olympic wrestling team has been building itself up during the past two seasons, with the Trojans claiming the Olympic League crown last year.

But that hasn’t left them satisfied.

Olympic continued to add pieces, mixing returners like Camie Yeik, Laureice Gerig and Billy Neary, all of whom placed at state a year ago, with newcomers like sophomores Jesse Borcherding and Brandon Yeik (Camie’s brother), both standouts as club wrestlers at the state and national levels.

That makes Oly coach Bobby Manglona a very happy man.

“It’s a good level of experience,” Manglona said. “We’ve got some good kids. We’ve got a bunch of sophomores we can really develop.”

Heading the charge is Camie Yeik, the last female wrestler grandfathered into the boys’ state tournament. After placing eighth at 103 pounds last year, just the third girl to place in a boys’ tournament in state history, Manglona thinks she can go out with an even bigger bang.

“I’m excited to see her back again,” he said. “It’ll be sad to see her leave. You only get a girl — an athlete like that once in a lifetime. I don’t even see her as a woman. I see her as a wrestler.”

In fact, with the extensive training Camie Yeik’s put in as both a club wrestler and with her dad, Mangonla said his goal will simply be to help her upstairs instead.

“I think we’ll see a change in her,” he said. “Her biggest kick is the mental beast.”

Gerig, who was fourth at 189 last year, also returns with experience and expertise.

“I think he’s gonna be another asset to us,” Manglona said. “We’re definitely pushing him. He has to work on his top-man wrestling. But everything else is really solid for him.”

Neary was seventh at 145. Add in returners like Ivan Gaeta, Nollan Quinn, David Reynolds and John Giese, amongst others, and Manglona has an experienced core to work with. Factor in Borcherding and Brandon Yeik, and the Trojans could be sitting very pretty again come this postseason. The team also adds Brandon Truini, a transfer from Elma.

“I honestly think these kids could be top four at the go,” Manglona said. “Brandon, the way he’s been wrestling, he could do well. Jesse, he’s strong too. Both those guys bring a lot to the plate for us. I’m grateful to have those guys.”

With 37 wrestlers out this season, numbers are lower than Manglona would like. That means the focus early has been on a couple big things: avoiding injury and illness.

“Staying healthy is something,” Manglona said. “We’ve got a lot hurt and a lot sick right now.”

But one thing is clear. The Trojans may be slightly smaller this year, but certainly have the chance to prove the adage of quality over quantity once more.

“I think we’ll be OK,” he said. “I think we can go for another run at the league title. I hope.”

The Trojans travel to North Kitsap for the Viking Team Challenge on Dec. 1 before hosting the Olympic Dream Duals team tournament on Dec. 8, once again set for the Kitsap Fairgrounds Pavilion.

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