Sports

Yeik ready to step up to next level

Camie Yeik has had to wrestle friends before.

The 15-year-old Central Kitsap High School sophomore has become friends with a number of the country’s top youth female wrestlers, simply through competition. But at the National Junior Women’s Championships, hosted at the end of July in Fargo, N.D., she was slated to battle one of her closest friends, Oklahoma’s Joey Miller, for the 102-pound title.

In a close title match, Miller came out on top, edging her friend by a 9-7 score.

“Joey’s the one who beat me in the finals,” Yeik said. “We’ve been best friends for a long time. I was nervous but not. We’ve been used to it for a long time.”

And that’s why despite the loss, Yeik and her family have been hosting Miller for some summer fun among friends in Silverdale.

“That’s just it,” Brent Yeik, Camie’s father, said. “They kind of became buddies last summer. They’ve been out boating, skiing, camping. They’ve been all over the Northwest so far.”

Camie’s mom, Pat Yeik agreed, saying the friendships made outlast the competitive rivalry.

“It’s kind of awkward for that first split second, but then it’s done,” Pat Yeik said. “It’s over. Let’s go play.”

For Camie Yeik, her first year at high school will give her the opportunity to challenge herself in ways she hasn’t been able to wrestling girls from within the state. That’s why she said Nationals is such a big event for her.

“The only competition I get with the girls is at Nationals,” she said. “Girls around here are not up to my level of competition. So I wrestle with guys a lot.”

Yeik decided to give wrestling a shot after her younger brothers got involved. Now a full-fledged wrestling family, Yeik has been able to challenge her brothers, 13-year-old Brandon and 11-year-old Cody.

“I guess her two younger brothers wrestled her pretty hard,” Brent Yeik said. “She’s been a wrestling dummy for a couple years now. Right now, her best wrestling partner is probably her brother (Brandon). That got her where she’s at.”

That’s also proved beneficial since Yeik will now be taking on the boys more consistently. And even though it will be more challenging, she’s still setting her goals high.

“My success level probably won’t be as good with guys,” she said. “But I want to make it to boys state this year.”

Yeik will also have some other strong experiences to draw upon for coming season. In addition to her national tournaments, Yeik has also competed abroad, wrestling in tournaments in countries like Austria, where she recently competed and finished second.

“It was a good tournament,” Yeik said. “The girl that beat me, I beat her three months before at a meet. But it’s OK. She won’t touch me again.”

It’s that kind of confidence that has allowed Yeik to step fearlessly onto the mat, no matter who she’s facing. For example, at Fargo, six nationally-ranked girls were in Yeik’s bracket alone.

“That and her bracket was considered the toughest bracket,” Brent Yeik said. “And she’s wrestling up. She should be a cadet.”

The fact she’s getting to travel nationally and internationally has made her enjoy the sport all the more. Yeik said she’s also come to a greater appreciation for the different styles of wrestling around the world.

“It’s a lot of fun. I get to see lots of new stuff,” she said. “And the wrestling style is so different overseas. They brawl a lot. They’re not as in to the technique.”

Fargo helped grow her confidence as well, as it was the first year she’s fought in the tourney.

“It was really good,” she said. “Especially since it was my first year this year. I knew I would do pretty well this year, but I didn’t know I could win it.”

But the high school game will bring some changes with it as well. Since high schools wrestle the collegiate style, and Yeik is more accustomed to freestyle wrestling, she said some adjustment is inevitable.

“Yes and no,” Yeik said. “Freestyle is a lot of on-your-feet wrestling. It will help with that. I don’t like it as much as freestyle. No one else wrestles collegiate except us.”

She’s still looking forward to the challenge high school will bring though.

“I just like wrestling,” Yeik said. “I’m just looking forward to it because it’s high school. Most of my friends are older and talk about how fun it is to wrestle in high school.”

As for getting ready to take on the boys more often, Yeik said she can handle the losses, but expects herself to top most girls now.

“Especially with me being a girl,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if I lose as much to a guy as to a girl. Because the guys, I wrestle them all the time.”

Pat Yeik said it was a great sport for her kids to get involved in because of the responsibility it teaches them.

“It’s fun. What I like about it

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