The Mariner mat men were on the road again, wrestling last Friday and Saturday in Seward.
First, wrestlers were put in two pools for each weight class. The wrestler with the best record for each weight went toe-to-toe after pool play to take on the best from the other pool for the championships.
Junior Harley Wells was Homer’s only finalist.
Wrestling at 152 pounds, Wells won all five of the matches in his pool and was set to take on current state champion Isaac Deaton from Valdez. After a minute or so of defensive technique by Wells, he was taken to his back and pinned for his first loss of the season.
The Mariners combined for more points as a team than every school but Skyview as the Panthers had eight finalists and won many of the championships last weekend.
Vosnesenka/Glennallen (33-6) W
Seward (29-24) W
Grace (54-16) W
Aniak/New Halen (25-12) W
Skyview (60-12) L
Junior Pedro Ochoa, who wrestled at 160 pounds, went 4-1 for the weekend but wrestled very aggressively.
“Ochoa is a competitor; he is starting to really wrestle with confidence and intensity,” said Coach Chris Perk.
Calvin Johnson, also a junior, won five of his six matches, losing to Skyview’s Austin Craig, who will be a familiar opponent of Johnson throughout the season.
Freshman Dakota Alward, at 145 pounds, came away with three victories.
“Alward is very coachable and is developing a deadly double leg takedown similar to Jordon Burroughs, the Olympic champion,” said Perk.
The Mariners will travel to Anchorage Christian Schools this weekend to attend the largest small school tournament in Alaska. Every small school team will be represented with two wrestlers per weight.
Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The Mariners brought home no medals in last year’s tournament but look to come back home wearing some gold.