27 head to state championships today

Kingston State wrestlers back from left, Josh Henden, Jack Welker, Ivy Rodolf, Lyndsey Barnhill, Brian Mason. Front from left, Bobby Reece III, Aaron Dickson. Not pictured: Mikole Hendricks.      - Kipp Robertson/ Herald
Kingston State wrestlers back from left, Josh Henden, Jack Welker, Ivy Rodolf, Lyndsey Barnhill, Brian Mason. Front from left, Bobby Reece III, Aaron Dickson. Not pictured: Mikole Hendricks.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald

TACOMA — With the end of the regular winter sports season begins another chapter of high school athletics.

Today, students from around Washington begin competing in state tournaments. Student athletes have two options: move on to day two or head home.

Twenty-seven students will represent the North Kitsap School District at state gymnastics, wrestling and swimming tournaments.

Though expectations are always high, coaches from NKSD have their own perspectives on what State means. What follows are predictions and perspectives on State from NKSD coaches.

KHS wrestling

Although he has faith in all his wrestlers, one of the biggest surprises for Coach Bobby Reece was seeing sophomore Lyndsey Barnhill advance to State.

Barnhill was 1-15 through the regular season, wrestling boys. The losses, Reece said, were tough. However, she stuck with it and at the end of the season she was finally able to wrestle other girls.

She took first at Districts and second at Regionals in the 112-pound class.

Along with Barnhill, Aaron Dickson (160), Josh Henden (152), Mikole Hendricks (126), Brian Mason (182), Bobby Reece III (152), Ivy Rodolf (118) and Jack Welker (220) are scheduled to wrestle today in the Tacoma Dome.

Reece, Rodolf and Welker competed last season at State. Reece took home first place.

“I’ve been telling these guys all year I believe in them,” Coach Reece said. “I can’t sit here and tell you I don’t. They’ve done things the right way, and haven’t taken any shortcuts.”

Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. today. Barnhill’s first match is  at  10:32  a.m.,   Dickson wrestles at noon, Henden at 11:50 a.m., Hendricks at 11 a.m., Mason at 12:40 p.m., Reece III at 11:50 a.m., Rodolf at 10:48 a.m., Welker at 1:10 p.m. (Times are estimated by WIAA).

Ben McMullen and Derick White are traveling with the team as alternates.

NK wrestling

Coach Joe Amick doesn’t like to make predictions for state competitions. Instead, he lets his wrestlers’ actions speak for themselves.

The North Kitsap High School wrestling team sends six to State this season.

Included in that list are four who placed top three at Regionals. Brenden Best, wrestling in the 285-class, took second at Regionals. Amick said Best’s State placement was “a nice surprise,” after Best seeded lower into Districts.

Bella Livingston took fifth at Regionals and is seeded just below Kingston’s Ivy Rodolf. If Rodolf and Livingston win their first matches today, they will wrestle for a shot at the semifinals. Livingston is one of three girls from the North Kitsap School District heading to State.

AJ Milyard took third at Regionals, defeating Bradrick Reddaway in the 145 class.

Jake Sievers seeded in after a third-place finish at Regionals in the 113 class.

And Jake Velarde, a two-time state champion, took first in the 138 class after defeating Maverick Reddaway.

Best wrestles at 1:30 p.m., Livingston at 10:48 a.m., Milyard at 11:40 a.m., Sievers at 10:20 a.m., Velarde at 11:20 a.m.(Times are estimated by WIAA).

Josh Tucker travels with the team as an alternate.

KHS gymnastics

Megan Keller will be the sole athlete from Kingston High School representing the gymnastics team at State. Though many were close to qualifying at the district meet — including Megan Kelly, who was on the cusp of qualifying — it will be Keller’s performance on floor and bars that Kingston will be watching this season.

Keller’s top score on floor this season was 9.3, Coach Sheila Moore said. Because of the competition, Keller will have to make sure she remains at that level if she wants to make it to the second day, Moore said.

Keller will perform an intermediate routine. While it may not be as difficult as some of her competitors’, Moore said once at State, it comes down what gymnast has the best day. That being said, Moore noticed Keller’s confidence increased this season, which will help when it comes time to perform today.

“She carriers herself more confidently,” Moore said. “It shows in her routines. She’s matured more this year as a gymnast.”

Keller competes on bars in Round 2 of Flight B of the 1A/2A/3A rotations. Round 2 begins today at 10:30 a.m. She continues this afternoon with a floor routine in Round 4 of Flight B, which begins at 12:10 p.m.

Keller earned her way to State with a 7 on bars and 8.65 on floor at Districts.

(Note: Keller’s school was misprinted in the WIAA gymnastics program as Kennedy, instead of Kingston.)

NK gymnastics

In Kris Goodfellow’s mind, the state competition is the icing on the cake. It’s the dessert after a tough season.

Though many athletes from North Kitsap had a shot, it’s D’Anne Davidson and Jessica Dimof who will have the chance for the last so-called meal of the season. Davidson was the only gymnast in NKSD who earned an individual all-around spot at State — meaning she will compete in bars, beam, floor

Goodfellow, North Kitsap’s gymnastics coach, said Davidson has “a really good shot at beam, without jinxing her — knock on wood.” She would need about a 9.5 to be in the hunt for finals. and vault.

It may seem like a lot of pressure, but Goodfellow likes to tell her gymnasts that State is

Davidson earned an all-around trip to State with a 7.6 on bars, 8.525 on beam, 8.8 on floor and 8.375 on vault. Dimof earned her way to State by scoring 6.85 on bars at Districts.a kind of bonus. Though there’s a shot at a title, simply getting to State is an award in itself. She said it’s the most well-run meet the athletes will attend, and it’s fun.

Davidson starts out on floor today in Round 1 of Flight B at 9:40 a.m. and continues to vault at 10:30 a.m., bars at 11:20 a.m. and beam at 12:10 p.m. Dimof will compete on bars at 11:20 a.m.

KHS swimming

Like its gymnastics counterpart, the Kingston High School swim team will send a single student to State this season. And although he was seeded last into Districts, Kevin Fox earned 11th-place seed at State in the 100-Yard Butterfly.

“He’s swimming well and he’s confident,” Coach Laura Tetrick said. “I think he’ll have a good swim at State.”

Fox, who also swam at State last year, has matured as a swimmer and is overall faster, Tetrick said. She noticed how much his focus has improved at Districts. He doesn’t psych himself out.

Fox swam the prelim butterfly at Districts in 59.49 seconds. He improved his time to 59.07 in the finals, which pushed him to an 11th-place seed in State. At State, the top eight swimmers move on to finals.

Seeding times to State range from first-place seed Alec Barnard of Archbishop Murphy (52.37) to Aberdeen’s Jairek Barre (1:00.89). Fox, who also competed with the Kingston 200/400 relay team and in the breaststroke at Districts, will be in the sixth swim today at the King County Aquatics Center. Swims begin at 4:45 p.m., but because of varying times to complete each event, the exact time Fox will compete is unknown.

NK swimming

Coach Greg Braun would like to see the 200/400 North Kitsap relay team place in top eight at State. Is it possible?

“Well, yeah, we did that at Districts,” he said.

The relay team, including Yorick Aban, Ian Christen, Michael Gilman and Ben Machen, improved from sixth place in the 200-Yard freestyle relay at sub-districts to third place at Districts. The team took fifth in the 400 relay.

Along with the team’s improving times, Braun said there’s always the possibility that qualifying teams at State have changed swimmers. Making a change could help or hurt a relay team. There are many unknowns.

Just like individual swim events, relay teams need to place in top eight of preliminaries in order to have a shot at a title.

Braun said there’s two ways to go: either play it safe and hope the team has good exchanges and fast times; or push the boundaries by having swimmers go for faster starts. If the team is disqualified, “so be it,” Braun said. Only the top eight can move on, anyway.

Jakob Anderson, Joel Petranek and Duncan Williams are alternates.

State swimming begins at 4:45 p.m.


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