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Kingston Outlaws earn team trophy
RENO, Nev. — The wrestlers had already begun piling into the car April 15 following the Cliff Keen Reno Worlds championship when the team results were being announced.
The Kingston Outlaws, with more than 20 competing wrestlers, rushed back to the stadium.
The Outlaws won first in the 15 and under wrestling division, taking home a 3-foot-tall trophy.
Upon hearing the news, Louie Ketchum, 13, called his parents.
“I called my mom and dad and told them,” Louie said. “It was the best experience.”
Along with the team’s championship win, Bobby Reece took third place in the 157-pound division. Jake Grantham took second in the 200-pound division. Jake Welker took fifth in the 220-pound division.
There was some tough competition, which is apparent through the cast Louie is now wearing. He’s not sure when he broke his hand, but it happened during one of the three matches he competed in. It doesn’t seem to bother him, since he was asking if he could remove his temporary cast to continue wrestling.
A total of 2,843 wrestlers entered the tournament. The Outlaws had 29 competitors. The Kingston club, with wrestlers from Kitsap County and beyond, was one of six teams to earn a team trophy.
The Outlaws did not have a single first-place finisher, but because of all the matches individuals won, it was enough for a team win.
“We had so many kids go down there and win matches,” coach Joe Haselberger said. “There were some people who did absolutely great.”
Haselberger said the tournament, such as Reno Worlds, will help the Outlaws prepare for wrestling at State in the future. These offseason tournaments help prepare wrestlers for the environment of tournament wrestling.
The Outlaws are not done. The club will attend a Greco-Roman tournament and then a freestyle tournament in Centralia. Wrestlers will then prepare to compete in the national championships in Fargo, N.D.
And while earning awards now is a start, Haselberger said his goal is to turn the Outlaws into long-term wrestlers.
“The biggest goal is to make some of these kids Olympians in 20 years … you never know,” he said. “But starting with a team championship is definitely a strike.”