Sports

Big boost for North Kitsap wrestling

North Kitsap’s Jake Velarde practices a takedown on AJ Milyard Monday in the North Kitsap High School auxiliary gym.  Velarde and Milyard competed in the 2011 Mat Classic XXIII last season, where Velarde won the 119- pound State title.   - Kipp Robertson/ Herald
North Kitsap’s Jake Velarde practices a takedown on AJ Milyard Monday in the North Kitsap High School auxiliary gym. Velarde and Milyard competed in the 2011 Mat Classic XXIII last season, where Velarde won the 119- pound State title.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald

POULSBO — North Kitsap High School wrestling is going through a big change this season.

The team, which less than 20 competed on in the 2010-11 season, is expecting more than 30 by the time the 2011-12 season begins next week.

Coach Joe Amick wants to use the numbers to his advantage.

“We’re hoping to surprise some people this year,” he said.

Including having a heavyweight and 220-pound division wrestler, the team looks like it may fill all but a few divisions. Amick said the team still needs a 106-pound wrestler, which is difficult to come by for men.

Along with the newcomers, State returners include AJ Milyard, Andrew Posten, Jake Sievers and Jake Velarde.

Milyard, who competed in the 140-pound weight class last season, lost 6-4 his first match at State and was pinned in 1 minute 11 seconds in the consolation finals.

Posten was an alternate.

Sievers lost in the consolation finals after losing by pin in 2:56, winning by injury and losing 10-4.

Velarde was one of two athletes in the North Kitsap School District to take home a State wrestling title; Kingston’s Bobby Reece III was the other. Velarde, competing in the 119- pound weight class, defeated Tanner Ackerly (13-3), Garret Varnell (by pin in 1:51), Josh Johnson (3-1) and Pedro Joaquin (6-2) for the title.

The bigger team is a good sign for Velarde.

“It feels good,” he said. “It just meanest we’re getting kids excited for wrestling.”

Velarde expects to compete in the 138-pound weight class this season. He said he hopes more wrestlers from North Kitsap, such as Milyard and Sievers, will join him on the podium when it comes time to compete for a State title.

“We’re just getting ready now … Just have to break off some rust and we’ll be ready for the season,” he said.

The North Kitsap team’s first wrestling meet is the NK Takedown Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. at North Kitsap High School.

 

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