Homer High joined 36 other wrestling teams last weekend at the Palmer Invitational. The Mariners placed 18th overall with fifth place showings by junior Calvin Johnson and senior Mark McGregor.
Johnson, who was ranked No. 3 in small schools, defeated No. 2 ranked Gabe Hoffman from Bethel 12-10.
“Both wrestlers were being aggressive and wrestling without fear,” said Mariner Coach Chris Perk.
Johnson took a one point lead with under 20 seconds left due to an illegal hold from Hoffman. Johnson then scored another point after a quick escape. Hoffman then took down Johnson, appearing to have beaten him, although the clock was not running and the referee decided to replay the last seven seconds of the match.
Johnson was able to hold off the aggressive attack and move on to face No. 1 ranked Darin Davis from Sitka. Davis showed why he is ranked the best in the state, not allowing Johnson to score a single point throughout the match. Johnson is now a potential state finalist, holding the
No. 2 rank in Alaska.
McGregor, who wrestled at 170 pounds, had no problem winning his first two matches. He was then faced up against Nikiski’s Morgan Sauve. Thirty seconds into the match, Sauve landed a double-underhook, throwing McGregor on his head and getting the pin. The two faced off again later in a much tighter bout. With 30 seconds left both men had one point. McGregor took control out of a scramble position and hung on for a 3-2 victory. This match placed McGregor as the No. 2 ranked wrestler at 170 pounds.
Pedro Ochoa won five matches at 152, just missing a top six placement. He now has over 20 wins under his belt and will be a tough competitor during the state tournament. Harley Wells, who also broke 20 wins, won one match last weekend and is now ranked No. 4 at 145 pounds. Jadiza Martin and David Woo also came away with a win.
The mat men host their final meet of the season against the Skyview Panthers at 6 p.m. Saturday at Homer High School. Seniors Mark McGregor and Kyle Van Alstine will be honored as the squad’s only seniors. The last time that these teams met, the Panthers squeezed out a 42-40 win.