Sports

Olympic Duals return to Kitsap

Kitsap County’s largest wrestling tournament of the year is Saturday, and the field is stronger than ever.

Forty-five returning state participants, including 25 medalists, will descend on the pavilion at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds for the annual Olympic Duals, a 16-team tournament that includes competitors from eastern Washington as well as Kitsap.

“It is our sincere hope that this tournament will provide a lasting memory for all of the young athletes involved,” said tournament director Doug Dowell. “At the same time, we would also love to see the community come out and witness the dedication, skill and sportsmanship that our student-athletes are developing through the sport of wrestling.”

Olympic, South Kitsap, Central Kitsap, Klahowya, North Kitsap and Bremerton represent Kitsap, while the field also includes traditional powers Yelm, Hudson’s Bay, A.C. Davis (Yakima), Wenatchee and Heritage.

Graham-Kapowsin, Olympia, Auburn, Peninsula and Auburn-Riverside round out the competition, which includes four individual state champions.

“The top teams in the state, we’ve got them to come to the Kitsap Peninsula,” said Olympic wrestling coach Steve Polillo. “I’m really proud of this tournament. It just gets better every year.”

Polillo assembled a 2009-10 schedule he called the “toughest” in school history. The team travels to Yakima for the Sundome Mat Classic Dec. 19, a tournament that features the best teams from the eastern part of the state, then heads to Vancouver for the Jan. 1-2 Pacific Coast Championships, which include teams from Oregon as well as Washington.

Those events and the Duals, regardless of outcome, serve to prepare Polillo’s wrestlers for postseason competition.

“Too many teams on the Peninsula just play Peninsula teams,” he said. “How do you know where you’re at in the state if you don’t get out around the state and do it? You gotta get out there if you want to be competitive on a state stage, and that’s always our goal.”

Wenatchee earned last year’s Duals championship, defeating A.C. Davis in the finals, while Olympic took third.

Olympic senior Branden Yeik, who won a state title two seasons ago at 130 pounds and took second at 140 last year, will wrestle at 145. Teammate and fellow two-time state participant Jesse Borcherding also will compete, either at 125 or 130.

Central Kitsap and Klahowya also feature wrestlers who will grapple at the Duals and figure to vie for postseason berths.

Joey Troyer (112), who was the lone CK athlete to reach state a season ago, returns, as do seniors Karl Koemmpel and Ethan Beck.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have two returning state particpants in Joe Sawyers (140) and Neil Sell (145). Sawyers finished fourth at state last year, while Sell third.

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