Homer places second in wrestling tourney
This weekend, the Mariner Mat Team heads to Nikiski duals in the wake of a stunning victory at the ACS Invitational last week, showing the state of Alaska that they are the team to beat for the Small Schools Championship.
The ACS Invitational is the biggest small-schools shakedown of the year, commonly considered a good preview for the state championship. Homer beat out 42 other teams to clinch the victory with 217.5 points to Bethel’s 203 and Kotzebue’s 192.5.
The Mariner Mat Team followed up their 15-medal performance with an 11-medal performance at Seward’s King of the Mountain Tournament last week.
Homer dualed six times at the tournament and won each time. Jared Brant, 132 pounds, Timmy Woo, 152, Tristen Cook, 170, and freshman Jadin Mann, 285, all went undefeated over the weekend.
Brant and Woo will be ranked No.1 in the state after their solid weekends of wrestling.
The Mariner Wrestling team could be accused of not sharing with others last weekend after winning 15 medals en route to a solid second-place finish at the Best Western Bidarka’s Round Robin Rumble. With 178 points, the Marinersi finished behind the top 4A team in the state: the South Anchorage Wolverines, with 267 points. Seven other teams competed in Homer.
Homer will host the Best Western Bidarka Round Robin Rumble this weekend. Wrestling begins at 5 p.m. Friday night with duals. Action on Saturday starts at 10:30 a.m. for an individual tourney which runs until 4:30 p.m.
This weekend’s action follows trips to Bethel and Kenai, where the Mariners held their own.
Four Mariner mat men travelled to Reno for the 20th anniversary of the Reno Tournament of Champions, titled “The Toughest Tournament in America.”
The top three placers in each weight class earn All-American status.
Homer sophomore Jared Brant, 120 pounds, fresh off of a fourth-place finish at the Alaska State Tournament, opened with eventual champion Jared Torres of Pamona, Colo. Brant held his own in the first period and only trailed 2-0. Torres was able to turn Brant a couple of times and eventually pinned Brant in the third period.
Wrestling in the State Championship Finals is a big deal. Lights go out, music cranks up and the spotlight illuminates just you and your opponent in a 40-foot diameter circle.
Some people love being the center of attention, others not so much.
For the second season in a row, the Homer Mariner wrestling team will be sending 10 wrestlers to the boys state tournament. In addition, the team also will be sending two girls to the first-ever all state girls tournament.
The Mariners wrestling team traveled to Kenai for the Luke Spruill Memorial Tourney on Nov. 25. Nikiski, Soldotna and host team Kenai were present.
Homer finished fourth with 68 points; Kenai won with 97.
Mariner Sean Blaine beat Austin Ozburn of Nikiski to earn a championship at 98 pounds. A first-year wrestler, Blaine is looking to vie for a conference championship this weekend at Houston. The top four in each weight class qualify for the state meet the following weekend. Blaine should be seeded first or second.
Battling some of the fiercest competition in the state is just what the Mariners have been thriving on all season. The Lancer Smith Memorial wrestling tournament held Friday and Saturday in Palmer was loaded with multiple state champs and placers from each division, lived up to its reputation as the “toughest tournament” in Alaska.
With 18 schools competing in the 123A competition, Homer placed seventh with 36.0 and Voznesenka was 16th with 6.0. Kotzebue placed first with 203.0 and Nikiski was second with 97.5.
Danny Rios has wrestled for the Mariners the past three years. This season the senior had second thoughts. Getting a job and focusing on his academics began to be a priority. However, the Homer High School wrestling team needed a 220-pounder and with Danny Rios’ brother, Jaime Rios, being the captain, it was just a matter of time before Danny joined the team.
The Homer High School wrestling team headed north to Kotzebue for the Bush Brawl last week.
After being caught by Barrow’s Jonathan Nelson on Thursday night, Mariner Jared Brant avenged the loss, finishing first at 120 pounds. Joining him as a Bush Brawl champion was Timmy Woo, 138. Woo went 5-0 over the weekend and defeated Mathew Norton of Galena in the final 19-5.
The Homer Mariners placed five wrestlers in the top 6 this weekend at the ACS Invitational and Timmy Woo, 138, placed third overall out of nearly 40 wrestlers.
Forty-five teams showed up from around the state for the Biggest Small School tourney in the state. Homer scored 123.5 points en route to a sixth-place overall finish. Kotzebue won the tournament with more than 200 points. Homer soared as high as second-place most of the first day of the tournament.
The Homer Mariner wrestlers competed for the first time this weekend at Seward’s King of the Mountain. The first four rounds were round-robin team competition. Homer finished with wins over Anchorage Christian School and Seward, but lost to Houston and Nikiski.
The dual against Seward was important because as a team, the word “squeeze” was yelled every time wrestlers put opponents on their backs. Homer’s goal was to “silence the squeeze” and that’s exactly what happened. Only in one match did Homer fall to their backs. The team won 58-24.
The Mariner Mat Team held scrimmage matches against wrestlers from Nikiski and Voznesenka on Saturday. Homer’s 13 wrestlers won the majority of the matches; however, they were all unofficial.
Timmy Woo, a sophomore 138-pounder, won both of his matches against two tough Nikiski competitors. Woo, who placed sixth at state last year as a freshman, looks to compete for a state championship. He has an amazing engine and easily out works his opponents. Woo just never stops moving.
Forty of more than 1,200 wrestlers this weekend were represented by the Popeye Wrestling Club at the Alaska USA Folkstyle, Greco and Freestyle State Tournaments last weekend hosted at the Wasilla Sports Complex. More than 20 represented areas came from as far away as Kotzebue, Bethel and Juneau. Some of the wrestlers were challenged 18 times over a period of three days.
Fueled by the momentum of the Alaska Battle Cats Tournament in Anchorage on April 12, Popeye wrestler Ravi Cavasos, cadet 135, went undefeated for the second straight weekend and did not get scored upon. At a freestyle tournament in Eagle River last weekend, Cavasos pinned all four opponents in less than two minutes in each of his matches.
His aggressive style on his feet and powerful half nelson-cradle series is scoring him lots of points. Cavasos will be one of the Popeye hopefuls in two weeks at the State Tournament in Wasilla.
The Popeye Wrestling team turned in some dominating performances at the Alaska Battle Cats Tournament, held at Service High School in Anchorage last Saturday.
Ravi Cavasos, cadet 130, won all five of his matches without getting scored up. He scored a tech fall, two pins and injury default to win his first gold medal of his young wrestling career. Cavasos has excellent technique and has a super fast leg attack.
A small, but powerful group of Popeye wrestlers traveled to Wasilla to compete in a Greco Roman Tournament on Friday and a Folkstyle Tournament on Saturday. Sixteen wrestlers brought home a total of 16 medals.
Leading the way was Wayne Newman, schoolboy 99 pounds. Newman won by tech fall against all his opponents on Friday and then placed third in the folkstyle on Saturday.
Forty-five Popeye wrestlers traveled to Nikiski to battle 16 other teams for a Freestyle Tournament last weekend. At about mid season, the Homer team placed eighth overall.
Austin Shafford continued to dominate the novice 85-pound weight class. He won four matches, including one with last year’s state champion, Tucker Vann of Nikiski. Shafford and Vann have had some close matches in the past, but this one went 12-4 in favor of Shafford.