Homer Middle School’s Huskies journeyed to Seward for the 2014 Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Wrestling Championships. The eight wrestlers included Ian Stovall at 80 pounds, Dexter Lowe at 85, McKenzie Cook at 110, Teddy Croft at 132, Tristin Cook at 138, Fiona Green at 145, Levi King also at 145, and Wyatt Alborn at 155, all representing Homer in the battle for the borough title on Feb. 22.
Along with Homer, teams from Nikiski, Soldotna, Kenai, Voznesenka, Chapman and Seward attended the tournament. Although Homer did not win the team championship, Homer’s grapplers took an impressive fourth-place out of seven teams with only a handful of teammates.
Stovall had a well-fought match with Logan Craig of Soldotna, resulting in a loss of 12-5. In Stovall’s second match, again against Craig, Stovall made an incredible come back that nearly put him on top, but in the end he was knocked out of the running for a gold medal with a decision of 8-5. Neither Lowe nor Green couldn find their way to placing, ending with two losses, knocking them out of the tournament.
Taking fourth place, Cook showed promising potential with constant movement in the bottom position and the determination to succeed that landed her over Kameron Hanson with a fall of 3:28. A semifinal loss coming from Justin Cox of Nikiski put McKenzie Cook in the consolation rounds. A decision of 7-1 over Thomas Brown of Soldotna set Cook up for a third place match against Case Estes of Seward, but sent her home with a fourth-place finish.
King placed second, defeating Quincy Miller of Soldotna and Kyle Wells of Chapman, and launching him into the finals. Kenai’s Tyrone McEnerney won by fall over King, capturing first place. King, a first-year wrestler, did very well against more savvy mat men.
Borough Championships were earned by Tristin Cook, Croft and Alborn. Cook and Croft won back-to-back titles, something that has not been done since Ben Daigle did it in 2004-2005. They all took home the gold by defeating all their opponents with impressive displays of athleticism and skill that gave them the well-earned title of Borough Champion.
The Chapman Eagles also faired well, putting three in the finals and placing one more. Jack Heimbold had the match of the day when he beat Eddy Olesiuk from Seward in the semi-finals. The wrestlers were tied 6–6 when Heimbold was able to counter a roll attempt by Olesiuk and kept him on his back for the fall. Heimbold then went on to pin Anthony Long of Soldotna for the title at 120 pounds. Teammate Luciano Fasulo also won the championship at 105 pounds. He earned two major decisions over a pair of Nikiski wrestlers. Other finalists Wayne Newman, 90 pounds, and Tyler Johnson, 125, had chances to earn a title. Both wrestlers had five point leads before they found themselves fighting off their backs. Neither one could get to their base and were pinned. Kyle Wells, a runner-up from last season, placed third at 145 pounds; his sister Allison, 100, and Hunter Harrington, 132, each competed, but did not win a match.
The Voznsenka Cougers were represented with five wrestlers. Two of them made it to the finals. Max Kuznetsov, 85 pounds, and Dia Martishev, 105, won two matches to advance to the finals. Both wrestlers were controlled in the finals and could not win the title. Both are only seventh-graders and will have another chance next year. David Sanarov placed fourth at 138 while Giorgy Kalugin, 125, and Nikit Anufriev, 138, each won a match but did not place.
This weekend the Chapman and Homer teams will send 10 competitors up to the Tanana for the Unofficial State Middle School Tournament in Fairbanks.
Ravi Cavasos is a ninth-grade student at Homer High School. Chris Perk in the Homer High School Mariners head wrestling coach.