In this 7th edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at how Skyline went unbeaten in KingCo 4A dual meets and took the KingCo 4A subregional tournament last weekend. Both were firsts for the school in wrestling.
Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming (regionals Feb. 9), Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
Gus Kiss felt this type of season building for some time, but knew it would take the perfect storm.
Kiss, the ninth-year head coach of the Skyline High School wrestling team, watched as his Spartans, despite not being able to fill four weight classes regularly pulled off a couple historical firsts.
The Spartans won the KingCo 4A dual-meet title with a perfect 10-0 record during the regular season and then added the school’s first KingCo 4A subregional tournament crown on Saturday.
Skyline won seven individual titles en route to Saturday’s ground-breaking title run, giving the school its first titles in the sport since the school opened in 1997. The Spartans held off Issaquah 229 points to 209 in the team race.
“We certainly had a lot of challenges in front of us this year, because we were never really able to field a full team,” said Kiss, who has been a coach at Skyline for 13 years since starting as a volunteer coach. “We were always giving away six to 18 points in forfeits. The kids still persevered and prevailed and that’s a testament to them.
“We are certainly very proud of their accomplishments. We figured going into the KingCo tournament we felt that we had a chance to get a number of young men in the finals based on what they did in league.”
The team effort in KingCo 4A dual meets and the subregionals tournament was remarkable, considering the Spartans 32-wrestler squad saw 10 wrestlers compete on the varsity level on Friday and Saturday.
“We had earned some pretty high seeds, and it’s pretty easy to see on paper, but going out there and doing it is the hard part,” Kiss said. “But they did it. That being said, I had initially picked Issaquah as the team to beat going into the KingCo [4A] tournament.
“The reason is not only do they have good wrestlers, but they have a full team. They brought in 14 wrestlers and we only had 10 scorers.”
One Spartan wrestler who hopes to finish his season better than last year is 113-pound senior Justin Manipis. And, he’s well on his way to a better finish at regionals and hopefully state.
Manipis, whose season ended in the KingCo final with a broken foot against teammate Joseph DeMatteo, won the KingCo 4A title at 113 on Saturday. He beat Issaquah junior Torre Eaton 6-3 in the 113 final to extend his record to 30-5 this season.
Manipis broke his foot en route to defeating Spartan teammate Joseph DeMatteo 2-0 in the 113 final at KingCo 4A subregionals a year ago. Manipis has returned to dominance in 2012-13, registering 21 pins.
“We have some really solid kids,” Kiss said. “I thought Manipis could’ve made some noise if he hadn’t broken his foot.”
Kiss credits the high-end talent he has on his roster for making such a special season.
Here are some of the Spartans top wrestlers and their accomplishments in 2012-13:
106 – Sophomore Nate Swanson, 26-4, 1st at KingCo 4A, 18 pins; Junior Kody Nguyen, 24-7, 3rd, at KingCo 4A, 20 pins.
113 - Manipis (see above).
120 - Senior Amrit Puri, 8-5, 5th at KingCo 4A, five pins.
120 - Freshman Nate Jensen, 6-6, 6th at KingCo 4A, 15-9 overall, including JV.
126 - Junior Joseph DeMatteo, 26-7, 1st at KingCo 4A, 14 pins, state qualifier as freshman and sophomore.
132 - Junior Tristan Steciw, 27-4, 1st at KingCo 4A, 16 pins, state qualifier as a sophomore.
138 - Junior Joey Gurke, 26-3, 1st at KingCo 4A, 14 pins, regional qualifier as a sophomore.
145 - Freshman Bo Longmore, 22-3, 2nd at KingCo 4A, 15 pins.
160 - Senior Michael Mecham, 28-7, 1st at KingCo 4A, 15 pins.
220 - Senior Sean McAlhaney, 15-5, 1st at KingCo 4A, 12 pins.
The Spartans swept all of the KingCo tournament awards but one. Kiss was named KingCo 4A Coach of the Year and Skyline assistant Marc DeMatteo won Assistant Coach of the Year. Woodinville’s 182-pounder Ryan Christensen won the Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Skyline went heads into regionals without wrestlers at 170, 182, 195 and 285.
The Spartans memorable season was also made possible by the time spent by the coaching staff: Sean Gullikson, Andy Brownson, Sean Keveren and Marc DeMatteo.
“This is our ninth year as a staff,” Kiss said. “Prior to that I was a volunteer assistant for five years prior to that, and in those five-year period, we have three different head coaches.
“I felt that wasn’t right for the kids, and I had a kid in the program at the time, and I talked to my wife about it and she allowed me the opportunity to coach.”
The biggest challenge at Skyline is getting football players to turn out for wrestling.
“All we need are the athletes,” Kiss said. “McAlhaney is a football kid. Longmore played football as a freshman. We have kind of broken that glass ceiling.”
The Spartans haven’t had a state placer in two seasons after a run of four years of state placers at Mat Classic.
Bainbridge takes Metro League subregional tournament
Led by four individual champions, Bainbridge took home the Metro League subregional wrestling tournament team title with 223 points on Saturday at Nathan Hale High School. O’Dea was second at 187, Nathan Hale third with 167 and Bishop Blanchet fourth with 140.
The Spartans got titles from Jack Miller (132), Dylan Read (138), Alex Hoover (152) and Tyler Moniz (182).
Eastside Catholic sophomore Matthew Iwicki took first in the 120-pound weight class, beating Bishop Blanchet’s Jesse Marek 5-2 in the final. Iwicki came in ranked No. 1 in Class 3A at 120 and No. 3 overall in the all-classification rankings done by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net.
Marek was ranked No. 9 in 3A at 126 entering the tournament.
Hoover decisioned O’Dea’s Trenton Tibbetts 1-0 in four overtimes in the 152-pound final. Tibbetts came in as the No. 6 wrestler in 3A and No. 10 overall at 152.
Read topped O’Dea’s Nathan Turner 9-6 in the 138-pound final. Turner entered as the No. 8 wrestler in 3A.
Here’s a link to last weekend’s subregional tournament results:
Here’s a link to Sandy Ringer’s story at WesCo 4A subregional at Snohomish High School on Saturday:
Subregional roundup link:
… When regionals take place on Saturday, Feb. 9, it means we’ve moved within six days from the start of Mat Classic XXV – the 25th Anniversary event — on Feb. 15-16 at the Tacoma Dome.
Here’s this weekend’s times and sites for regionals on Saturday, Feb. 9:
… The 4A regional combines WesCo 4A and 4A Narrows League teams on Feb. 9 at Snohomish High School, starting at 10 a.m.
… The 4A regional includes teams from both the SPSL North and South on Feb. 9 at Auburn High School, beginning at 10 a.m.
… The 4A regional combines KingCo 4A and Greater St. Helen’s League (GSHL) 4A on Feb. 9 at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Wash. The top five KingCo and top three GSHL wrestlers advance to Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome Feb. 15-16.
“Union is going to be tough,” Kiss said. “I understand they had 10 kids in the finals and six champs in the [Greater St. Helen's League] meet.”
… The 3A regional combines WesCo 3A, 3A Northwest (Ferndale) and 3A Metro League schools on Feb. 9 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School at 10 a.m. The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to Mat Classic.
… The 3A regional for KingCo 3A, Seamount and Greater St. Helen’s League (GSHL) takes place on Feb. 9 at Kelso High School. The top four there move on to Mat Classic.
… The 3A regional for SPSL 3A and 3A Narrows League will be Feb. 9 at Bonney Lake High School. The tournament begins at 10 a.m.
Links to regional information below:
Top targets & Big performances
According to www.nwcaonline.com, there are five wrestlers with perfect records currently in the state of Washington.
Leading the way is Kiona-Benton junior Cruz Del Angel, who is 30-0 at 182.
Kentlake sophomore Nicholas Smith (106) with a 31-0 record. Next in line is Everett senior Jessie Lopez (138, 145) with a 30-0 mark after he won the 145-pound class at WesCo 3A North subregionals.
Also unbeaten are Lake Stevens senior Brandon Johnson (285, 27-0), and Mead junior Chandler Rogers (170, 25-0).
There likely are other unbeaten whose record has gone unreported.
Class 4A & 3A, 2A, 1A, B & girls
All-Class individual rankings
Here are three valuable wrestling resources on the web:
Searchable database for results
Team and individual rankings
When there’s top performance or noteworthy event in high-school wrestling, please feel to send it to email@example.com and to the attention of Matt Massey.