After a successful weekend in Seward where the Homer High School Mariners wrestled multiple duels, the team hit the road to Anchorage for the small schools’ largest tourney of the season.
Forty-two teams meet at Anchrorage Christian School, which also will be the site of the state tourney in mid December. Homer scored 98 points and tied for seventh place with Mount Edgecumbe. Three-time defending state champion Bethel won the tournament.
Mariner senior Calvin Johnson, 113, led the way with four pins and a third-place finish. His only loss came in the semi-finals to Bethel’s Gage Hoffman. Hoffman beat Johnson last year in the state semi-finals. Hoffman put Johnson to his back early in the first period on Saturday and pinned him. Johnson should get a rematch with him this coming weekend in Houston.
Freshman Jared Brant, 106, won two matches in route to a fifth-place finish. His loss to eventual champion Alex Gray of Nome was hard fought. Brant put Gray to his back and scored a reversal. Brant didn’t get pinned and logged valuable minutes on the mat.
Ninety-eight-pounders Jadzia Martin and Martin Welty each picked up two wins. Martin pinned Sig Decker from Wrangell, the sixth seed in the state. Martin pinned Caitlin Garcia from Eielson for his first victory of the season.
Two wins each came from freshmen Ravi Cavasos and Jaime Rios at 120 pounds. Cavasos had a close loss 4-0 to Avery Chiklak of Bethel, who went on to place third overall. Rios lost two matches, but didn’t get pinned. The mat time is so valuable in these big tournaments, each wrestler can really find out what their areas of weakness are.
Timmy Woo, 132, who leads the team with 15 wins, won three matches, including an exciting 7-6 victory over Elijah Norton of Kotzebue. Norton beat Woo 11-10 last weekend. These two are really battling it out. Woo had to put Norton to his back in the final 30 seconds and scored enough points to win.
The team was without seniors Pedro Ochoa, 152, Harley Wells, 145, and David Jack Woo, 138, due to various reasons. There is at least 10 points or more that those three could add to the team.
Andrew Doughty, 145, Dakota Alward, 152, and Antonio Ochoa, 160, each won at least a match. Alward beat Josh Gologergen of Nome in the first round by a pin. Gologrergen came back and placed sixth overall. Ochoa battled tough all weekend and never gave up. Danny Rios, 195, scored two pins. One of them in a season record 12 seconds. He took Kyrin Childs of Su Valley down to his back with a leg attack and pinned him quickly. Heather Harrington, 220, lost both her matches and last week’s champion of Seward’s “King of the Mountain” Jordan Reynolds went up against some tougher competition especially from the Southeast schools. Reynolds lost to competitors from Metlakatla and Mount Edgecumbe. He also lost to Stephen Hyatt of Kotzebue, a wrestler he beat last weekend. Reynolds did pick up two pins in route to a sixth place finish. Wrestling up a weight class, Reynolds wasn’t able to keep up with the extra weight he was giving up this tournament.
Homer’s placement is the best in many years. A top-10 finish at state is very possible for this young squad.
This week the team leaves town again and travels to Houston for a 12-team tourney.
Chris Perk is head coach of the Homer High School wrestling team.