Central Kitsap had its way with the Gig Harbor Tides wrestling team on Thursday night, winning the Narrows League dual 66-6 at Gig Harbor High.
The bright spot for the Tides was sophomore Gavin Spadoni, who pinned the Cougars’ Johnny Valenzuela in the third round. Spadoni displayed patience in the first two rounds and wore down his opponent to set up the pin.
“I’m stronger than most of the guys that wrestle,” Spadoni said. “If I tie up with them, I can get good control of them, and other guys know not to get tied with me, because it’s hard to get loose.”
Spadoni said his strategy remained the same as it has all year. He tries to get into the late rounds and take advantage when fatigue sets in.
“I was trying to wear him down a little bit just so he’d get tired,” Spadoni said. “When I was tied up with him, I was trying to get a single (takedown) on him, but at the start, he was blocking me out. Near the end, he was getting tired, and I got the single on him.”
Gig Harbor head coach Leonard Spadoni, Gavin’s dad, said the key was to keep it simple.
“He kept the action in front of him,” Leonard Spadoni said. “He didn’t give up his hands. Gavin battles really hard and makes the opponents work for every point they get.”
Gavin Spadoni has placed fourth or better in every invitational Gig Harbor has competed in this year. His dad said his success has been earned.
“He’s done everything off season to get ready for this,” Leonard Spadoni said. “Some of the kids came in occasionally — Gavin hasn’t missed a practice yet, or even an offseason warmup. He’s worked really hard to get where he’s at right now, and it’s showing.
“Everybody he wrestles, the longer the match goes, the more likely he wins.”
Central Kitsap racked up pins all night. Their toughness is largely a result of their youth programs, Leonard Spadoni said.
“A lot of it is their youth program. It’s been going on a long time,” he said. “It’s giant — they’re part of the Northwest Wrestling club for the youth. There’s three different places out here that have full 60-kid rooms, so they keep backfilling their programs.”
Thursday was senior night for the Tides. The team’s four seniors have been the leaders for the past two seasons. Last year’s team didn’t have any seniors.
“They haven’t had an upper class for two years to help them along and take in some of the hits,” Spadoni said. “They’ve been a very good and respectful team, and they’re probably the nicest group I’ve had over the years.”
Gavin Spadoni said the team will learn from the loss.
“It’s OK to lose and just move onto the next one,” he said. “(We will) review what you did well and what you didn’t do well and need to work on.”Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@ gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.