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Velarde wins state title, Kingston places two wrestlers
TACOMA -- North Kitsap’s Jake Velarde lived up to the hype Saturday at the state high school wrestling championships in Tacoma.
The freshman phenom defeated Olympic High’s Cody Yeik in overtime in the Class 3A 112-pound championship match to win the state title with a 3-1 decision.
“We worked all season, now to accomplish it, it’s like a dream,” Velarde said. “It’s what everyone’s been waiting for.”
Velarde finished the 2009-10 season with a 39-2 overall record. Yeik handed Velarde his second loss of the season the last time the two faced off, in the championship match at the Class 3A Region 3 finals Feb. 13 in Vancouver. It was the fourth time the two wrestled each other this season, and the only time Velarde lost to Yeik.
The two are long-time friends and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well.
“Once I heard it was Cody, I knew I was going to have to be smart,” Velarde said of the title bout.
Velarde said he lost the regional championship match because he made an impulsive move near the end of regulation that allowed Yeik to score. During the state title match, with the score tied 1-1, Velarde showed more patience.
“I was just looking for that one slip-up that we were both looking for that never came.”
Velarde pushed the match into overtime, where with 8.9 seconds left in the first period, he went for the kill with a high-crotch shot.
“It’s my bread and butter takedown,” Velarde said. “It just happened to be there for me.”
The two wrestlers plan to continue practicing and competing together during the off-season, Velarde said, though he was happy to get the win, he wished his friend could’ve shared in his joy.
“I wish we both could’ve been up top that podium in the same position,” he said.
Kingston High wrestlers Travis Schriner and Freddy Rodolf didn’t win titles Saturday, but they managed to make history nonetheless.
The duo not only became the first male Buccaneer wrestlers to win more than one match at the tournament, they were also the first to place in the top eight.
Schriner took seventh in the Class 2A 189-pound division Saturday after defeating Blaine High School’s Schaffer Hicks, 13-8. It was the last match of his high school career.
“You know, it’s not as good as I’d like, but it was definitely a good end,” Schriner said.
Schriner jumped out to an early lead in the final match, but with time winding down in the third round, Hicks tied the score, 8-8. As the final seconds ticked away, Schriner found a burst of energy to take Hicks to the mat and score a quick five points.
“It got a little close there at the end, but I managed to pull through, which was nice,” Schriner said.
Rodolf placed eighth in the Class 2A 215-pound division after losing his final match of the day to Hunter Orgill of Riverside High. After three rounds, the two were tied, 7-7. But Orgill outlasted Rodolf in the first overtime period to score the tie-breaking eighth point and grab the win.