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More than just the Narrows 4A wrestling championship on the line in Yelm

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Jan. 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm with No Comments »
January 22, 2013 8:25 pm
Led by coach Gaylord Strand, left, and Dillon Harris, Yelm could be the school that ends South Kitsap's 189-match league winning streak in wrestling come Thursday night.
Led by coach Gaylord Strand, left, and Dillon Harris, Yelm could be the school that ends South Kitsap’s 189-match league winning streak in wrestling come Thursday night.

On the surface, Yelm and South Kitsap – two of the most successful wrestling programs in the state for the better part of two decades – have an end-of-the-season Narrows League 4A dual meet Thursday.

But that is not how it is exactly going to work as a pre-match storyline. By now, about everyone who follows either, or both programs knows what the Wolves are bringing into the showdown – an 189-dual match winning streak against league opponents that dates back to December of 1992.

Now, if asked, Chad Nass and his group in Port Orchard will tell you bigger goals exist, and winning streaks are just streaks – they are bound to end.

“There is no added pressure,” Nass said, “to keep it alive.”

But the number is everywhere: Mention of the streak is on the team’s Facebook page, is on the school’s unofficial athletic Website (southkitsapwolves.com) – and it has been covered extensively over the past two decades by the local media.

“South Kitsap has had a really good record going for a long time,” Yelm coach Gaylord Strand said, “and a lot of people thing it might get broken.”

The Tornadoes very well might be the opponent to snap the streak. They should have a decided advantage in the lower weights Thursday (106 to 126 pounds). And they will be favored at 145 (Dillon Harris) and 220 (Jeffery Leuth).

South Kitsap’s strength is in its middle weights – and with heavyweight Damien Medeiros.

“For us to be competitive, we have to win all of the close matches,” Nass said. “That is going to be a tall order on their home mat.”

It isn’t as if the Wolves have not lost a dual match ever since 1992. In the past three seasons, they have lost a grand total of six – all at the Olympic Dream Duals – to the likes of Union, Lakes Stevens, Graham-Kapowsin, Wenatchee and Tahoma.

The last time the two schools met in a dual meet, it was in 2010-11. South Kitsap won, 39-36.

“I’d like to think this is going to be a friendly meeting between two strong teams – with a lot of good wrestling,” Strand said. “There will be a lot more excitement, I’m sure. There are a lot of schools that would like to see them lose.”

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