The Gig Harbor High wrestling team has been rejuvenated by some fresh faces this season: Sophomore transfer John Bittinger and freshman Zayne Ball, also new to the Gig Harbor area.
Bittinger, a transfer from Central Kitsap, is wrestling in the 145-pound weight class for the Tides and already has 10 wins for Gig Harbor.
“I’ve been doing pretty well,” Bittinger said. “I know I need to work on some spots. Just some small mistakes that I need to fix.”
Bittinger describes himself as an aggressive wrestler.
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“I like getting the first takedown,” he said. “I like staying on the outside of the ring, I don’t like getting tied up.”
He’s had to the opportunity to spar with someone equally aggressive in practice in Ball, who’s currently wrestling in the 160-pound weight class. Ball, who recently moved to the area from Kent, has been wrestling since he was 9 years old, making up for his lack of high-school wrestling experience. At the 15-team North Mason Classic tournament last weekend, Ball advanced to the finals in 160 and went on to take second place. He has posted a 6-2 record so far this season.
Ball dropped down from 172, where he started the season. Dropping weight was a priority during his first high school season.
“I haven’t been down to there since my seventh-grade season,” he said. “I wanted to get down, I knew I could.”
Ball and Bittinger have made each other better in the practice room.
“I like to shoot a lot ... I’m offensive,” Ball said. “I try to keep on the attack, I don’t really like being on the defense. I try to stay on the attack. (Bittinger) is very offensive, too. It’s nice, I get some good defensive work in, too. He’s a good partner. It gets me working on my sprawls and doing it faster and getting it lower.”
Both Bittinger and Ball hope to make the Class 4A state wrestling tournament this season at the Tacoma Dome.
“I’d like to place in state this year, and hopefully win state my junior and senior year,” Bittinger said.
PENINSULA SENIOR STOLZ WINS ALL-SPSL TOURNAMENT
The dominant season continues for Peninsula senior Chance Stolz, who took first in the 195-pound weight class at the All-SPSL tournament at Auburn High School over the weekend.
While Stolz figured to be a competitor for the Class 3A state title at 195, the tournament, spanning all classifications of the South Puget Sound League, was something of a litmus test for the senior. With the tournament win, Stolz remains undefeated this season.