Cougars win a typically wild Battle of the Bay

CK’s Chad Eickmeyer, top, dominated Joe Joslyn, picking up the pin in 3:18 and giving the Cougars the points lead. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
CK’s Chad Eickmeyer, top, dominated Joe Joslyn, picking up the pin in 3:18 and giving the Cougars the points lead.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

With all the big names on the Central Kitsap roster, it was one of the little guys who came away Thursday night as the hero of the 23rd annual Battle of the Bay.

Kyle Caouette, an underdog at 125 pounds, shook off a loss last weekend in the Panther Classic in Snohomish to Olympic’s Ryan Wheeler by scoring a suprise pin in 4 minutes, 48 seconds and leading the CK team to a 39-28 win.

Wheeler looked like he was going to get the win early, scoring a nearfall in the first round. But the second round found the Olympic wrestler on his back. In the opening on the third round, Wheeler scored an escape to take a 6-5 lead when Caouette shot low and took his opponent down for the last time.

“I couldn’t believe Kyle got the pin,” CK coach Jim Northcutt said. “Up until now he’s been a quiet, studious kid who has lacked confidence, but tonight was a big one for him.”

Caouette, an A student, said Wheeler seemed to be tired out as the match went on.

“I didn’t know what would happen so I just kept on going,” said Caouette, a senior. “I don’t remember what happened, but he was suddenly on his back.”

Olympic’s coaches were stunned by the normally dominant Wheeler’s loss.

“We expected big things from Ryan,” OHS coach Darryl Smith said. “But when you have to fight off your back for over a minute you get winded. He got put on his back again and didn’t have the strength to get out of there.”

His performance inspired the rest of the CK wrestlers as the team pulled within three points of Olympic with four matches to go.

“I knew if we were within 15 points when (135-pound) Donny (DeRusha) came up, we’d won it,” senior CK captain Chad Eickmeyer said.

True to his word, in the final three matches a disappointed DeRusha won by forfeit, Eickmeyer scored a pin on 140-pound Joe Joslyn in 3:18 and 145-pound Jason Sencil pinned Cody Gapp in 5:08 to give the Cougars the go-ahead with 18 points in the final three matches. Wth the victory, CK won its 11th Battle of the Bay.

The win by Caouette wasn’t the night’s only surprise. Shane Villanueva got Olympic on the scoreboard first with a 20-16 upset decision against Mike Frerichs at 152 pounds. Frerichs was hit with four penalty points for an uncontrolled slam of Villanueva, a technical violation for locking his hands and smacking the mat with his hand in frustration. The night’s other surprise came at 189 pounds where Mike Custer gave up 29 pounds to Austin Hicks, but still managed to come away with a 2-1 decision after scoring a takedown with 27 seconds remaining.

“We had our chances two, three times to pull it out and it didn’t work out for us,” Smith said. “It was a good, solid effort on both teams’ parts. There wasn’t a bad match out there.”

Both teams are in the Matman Tournament today at CK.

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