Kingston Outlaws invade Reno

Kingston Outlaws coach Joe Haselberger helped bring the most wrestlers to the Cliff Keen Reno Worlds wrestling tournament this week. The tournament began Thursday and continues into the weekend. - Kipp Robertson/ Kingston Community News
Kingston Outlaws coach Joe Haselberger helped bring the most wrestlers to the Cliff Keen Reno Worlds wrestling tournament this week. The tournament began Thursday and continues into the weekend.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Kingston Community News

KINGSTON — The Kingston Outlaws USA wrestling club kicked off its first season this year. The club is already making big strides.

Twenty-seven wrestlers from the club went to the Cliff Keen Reno Worlds wrestling tournament. Head coach Joe Haselberger said the club has a shot at a team title. The tournament began Thursday.

“We’re going down there and looking at seriously competing for a team title,” Haselberger said Monday during the club’s practice.

Those competing range in age from 7-18. Each has a shot at an individual title. By 10:30 p.m., each of the 28 wrestlers will have competed.

In the last 10 years, Bobby Reece, head coach of Kingston High School wrestling, said the most wrestlers he took to the tournament was 13 wrestlers as part of offseason clubs he coached.

Reece is the president of the Kingston Outlaws

“It’s unbelievable what’s going on,” Reece said. He said wrestlers from all over the county, and even outside of it, are making the trip to Kingston to participate.

Of the 40-plus wrestlers in the club, Christian Derda, 17, is of the handful of athletes making the trip to Kingston. Christian, who attends Timberline High School in Olympia, makes more than an hour trip to wrestle with the Outlaws. He makes the trip because of the quality of practice, he said.

“We drive like an hour-and-a-half,” he said. “All of our local teams just kind of roll around on the mat. They don’t actually have a regulated practice.”

Christian’s goal is to place in the top eight, which he says is a reasonable goal for his 113-pound weight bracket. Christian’s weight bracket has 23 wrestlers, it’s one of the smaller brackets.

According to Reece, brackets can have had than 100 wrestlers competing for a title.

This season, the tournament broke an entrant record with 2,843 people registering, according to the tournament’s website.

In his first year running the Outlaw program, Haselberger is excited to send so many to a tournament. He credits the club’s success to the wrestlers.

The day after spring break, April 9, more than 30 wrestlers from the club showed up for practice. On any given week in the offseason, when there isn’t wrestling at the schools, the Outlaws practice three to five days a week for at least two hours. Haselberger appreciates the fact that the wrestlers are choosing to stick to practice, rather than play video games or go on vacation.

“I give the kids that we have in this room all the credit in the world,” he said.

The groundwork Reece laid before it became the Outlaws, as well, Haselberger amounts on the success. And with the Outlaws, except for a few months in the summer, wrestling now is available almost year-round for students. Reece, Haselberger said, is working to build a legacy, a powerhouse.

The club allows anyone from age 4 and up to join. Right now, there are a few youngsters. The oldest wrestlers are around 25.

Of the younger wrestlers, Jordan Reece, 7, is the youngest competing at the tournament. Jordan said he wants to be like his older brother, Bobby Reece — Reece took two back-to-back WIAA 2A titles. Jordan practices a lot. He runs in his neighborhood as well.

Jordan said he particularly likes the techniques he’s learned: single and double leg takedowns, seatbelt, Half Nelson, he said, naming a few.

“It’s really fun,” he said. “That’s it.”

Wrestlers: (8 and under) Jordan Reece, Bob Houpt; (12 and under) Matt Kline, Casey Pregartner, Louie Ketchum, Danny Fehlman, Morgan Chapman; (15 and under) Bobby Reece, Josh Iles, Matthew Iles, Troy Brady, Lyndsey Barnhill, Matt Thomas, Tyler Manix, Cameron Tangent, Johnny McClain, Brandon Forster Jr., Nakitta Weston, Jake Grantham, Mick Kane; (18 and under) Christian Derda, Adam Wedig, Ivy Rodolf, Josh Crager, Jack Welker, Aaron Dickson, Ben McMullen and Shane Medlen.


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