By Chris Perk
For the Homer News
The Mariner Mat Team traveled to Seward over the weekend for two long days of competition with Homer dueling eight times.
The team won six of the duels and dropped two. Losses came against Kotzebue, 45-36, and Skyview, 53-29. Both teams are ranked in the top five in the state.
Jordan Reynolds, wrestling for the first weekend at 220, won all his matches and brought home a gold medal as he was crowned King of the Mountain.
Homer started out with Valdez on Friday morning. Valdez won many of the matches and controlled the top position using tight wrist control. The Mariners’ only win of the duel was Calvin Johnson at 113. Johnson won nine matches with only one loss to Austin Craig of Skyview. He is expected to be ranked No. 4 going into the ACS tourney this weekend. Homer took advantage of six forfeits to sneak out a 42-39 win and then took a loss to Skyview.
Dakota Alward, 152, won six matches, including a dominating technical fall win against Skyview’s Jesse Boze. Homer then went on to beat Glennallen 60-27.
Jadzia Martin, 98, and Jared Brant ,106, both suffered losses to the top-ranked wrestlers in each weight. Martin could be ranked No. 5. Brant, who was undefeated, lost to the state finalist Gavin Maslin with a score of 3-0. Brant also is looking at a top-five ranking this week.
The final match of the day was against Nikiski. Still waiting for the return of some football players, Nikiski had only five members. Homer won all five matches and used forfeits for a 78-0 win. Andrew Doughty, 145, won six matches and pinned his opponent this round.
On Saturday, the Mariners stepped up their action and showed lots of heart. In the duel against Cordova, Homer won 78-6. Antonio Ochoa, who pinned Josiah Smith in 16 seconds, was the one of the highlights.
Homer really got things going against ACS, a team with youngsters like Homer that featured a full line-up. The Mariners used seven pins to win 63-22. Jaime Rios, at 120, pinned his opponent and also won a big match against Kotzebue.
Kotzebue won all eight of their duels and beat Homer 45-36. The Mariners really showed growth. They could have gone down easy and laid on their backs, but instead the team rallied and put forth an amazing effort.
Ravi Cavasos, 126, won 5-2 and earned a tough victory. He was able control his opponent and not allow him to score; this win gave the team confidence that was used against Seward as well. Timmy Woo, 132, won eight matches to only two losses. His win over Elijay Norton, 11-10, was an epic match. This was Norton’s only loss of the weekend. Woo built a big lead to see Norton comeback and tied it 10-10, then Woo was able to escape and earn a point with only two seconds left.
The final duel featured a loud match-up as Seward had wrestled well all day.
Martin, Brant and Johnson each scored pins in the first period, giving a boost of confidence to the rest of the team. Danny Rios, 195, picked up a pin off Parker Hinton to help the Mariners win 60-30. Heather Harrington was able to score the team points at 285 as she bumped up to take advantage of other teams not having a 285-pounder. David Jack Woo wrestled at 138 and had what looks like one of the toughest weights in the state. Woo won six matches and dropped four.
The team will go to Anchorage Christian School this weekend for a big individual-style tournament that features nearly all the small schools in the state.
Chris Perk is head coach of the Homer High School wrestling team.