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North Kitsap's Velarde, Kingston's Reece and Witt reach Mat Classic finals | State Sports Update
TACOMA — North Kitsap's Jake Velarde and Kingston's Bobby Reece and Kiana Witt are set for state championship wrestling matches Saturday in Tacoma.
Velarde, who brought home a state title in 2010, defeated Josh Johnson of R.A. Long High 3-1 Saturday morning to advance to the finals in the 119-pound division. Velarde will wrestle Pedro Joaquin of North Mason at 5:40 p.m.
Witt, also a state champion in the girls 112-pound division, pinned Andrea Iversen of Sedro Woolley in 1:21. She will wrestle rival Lauren Richardson of Bremerton at 5:20 on Saturday.
Reece, wrestling in the 140-pound division, defeated Garrett Mullet of Bellingham, 5-3, to earn his first shot at a state title. Reece will wrestle at 7 p.m. His opponent has yet to be determined.
Follow the Vikaneer blog for frequent updates.
DAY 1 COVERAGE
TACOMA — There was no shortage of cheering fans, shouts from coaches or smiles on the faces of the state competitors at the Tacoma Dome today.
Of the original 10 wrestlers from the North Kitsap School District that competed today, Bobby Reece III, Jake Velarde and Kiana Witt have moved on to the semi-finals.
"This is what we've been preparing for all year," said Velarde, North Kitsap's returning state champion.
During his first match, Velarde "came out a little rusty and not feeling 100 percent." However, by the second match he was back to normal, he said. In order to save his energy, he said he took a brief nap, which helped him clear his head.
"I try to not think about the match until it comes time to wrestle," he said, adding that just before stepping on to the mat he visualizes what he will do.
Though Velarde has experienced state championships before, others are still adjusting.
North Kitsap wrestler Jake Sievers wrestled for the first time at a state competition today. While he was admittedly shaky, he still enjoyed the experience.
"It's pretty scary," he said. "Right before the match my palms were sweating."
Sievers has already found a way to deal with the immense competition. He, like so many others on the floor of the Dome, continually pace around while listening to music.
For Sievers, the state competition is a reason to keep practicing and preparing for next year.
"I definitely want to go back," he said. "There's so many people all here to watch us wrestle."
Four gymnasts from the district competed on beam, vault and bars.
The four girls, Lauren Wageman and Sarah Zimmerman of North Kitsap and Megan Kelly and Megan Keller of Kingston will find out the results of their performance later tonight.
Kingston High School's Kevin Fox was the one swimmer from the team to compete at state today.
He competed in the 200-yard IM preliminaries, where he placed 16th with a time of 2:18.92.
The North Kitsap 200-yard freestyle relay team competed today as well.
The team, consisting of Benjamin Breakey, Daniel Horcajo, Benjamin Machen and Kellin Doyle, placed 14th in the preliminaries with a time of 1:43.21.
Check back tomorrow for more state coverage as students from the North Kitsap School District continue on the path to a state title.