Seven Mariner mat men qualify for try at State title
Last year's state wrestling finalist Mark McGregor has wrestled all season at 170 pounds but decided to drop to 160 in time for last weekend's Kachemak Conference Championship hosted by Grace Christian School. McGregor pinned all four of his opponents in the first period, earning himself a No. 3 rank heading into the State Championships. Mariner Coach Chris Perk says that he now has a solid front headlock to go along with some leg riding technique that he will use to try and earn himself a state championship title.
Homer placed fourth overall at the Conference Championships, scoring 100 points and qualifying seven wrestlers for State. Junior Calvin Johnson became a conference champion at 106 pounds, pinning Skyview's Ryan Winters and beating Nikiski's TJ Cox 12-0. Johnson enters the state competition as the No. 2 seed with more than 30 wins this season. This co-captain is a dedicated wrestler who has been to every practice for the last two years.
Juniors Jordan Reynolds (182 pounds) and Dick Perez (220 pounds) are first year wrestlers but both qualified for state. Perez began the tourney hot, pinning his first two competitors within a minute of each match. Perez went on to take second in the conference championship match, losing to defending champion Luke Wagner of Houston. Reynolds pinned Seward's Mitchell Ludwig while he was down 8-4. He then pinned DJ Tourterot from Skyview to take fourth place, advancing to the State Championships.
Junior Harley Wells also made it to state wrestling at 145 pounds. Wells suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and wrestled with a very swollen knee. He won three matches, eventually losing to Nikiski's Mike Stangel in the semi-finals. Another junior, Pedro Ochoa, won four matches in a row after losing his first, earning him third place in the conference and advancing to State with 70 takedowns under his belt.
Sophomore Austin McGregor is on his way to state, taking fourth place in the conference at 120 pounds. McGregor entered the third/fourth place match against Nathan Carstens of Nikiski. Both wrestlers battled into overtime until Carstens took McGregor down for the win.
Senior Kyle Van Alstine wrestled at 152 pounds. Although he won't be going to state, he brought home the Good Sport Award for the conference.
Perk believes the Mariners could have had three more state qualifiers if the flu hadn't taken out some of the hopeful wrestlers right before the meet. The Mariners compete for the State Championships at Nikiski High School starting at 10 a.m. Friday.
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