Forty-five Popeye wrestlers traveled to Nikiski to battle 16 other teams for a Freestyle Tournament last weekend. At about mid season, the Homer team placed eighth overall.
Austin Shafford continued to dominate the novice 85-pound weight class. He won four matches, including one with last year’s state champion, Tucker Vann of Nikiski. Shafford and Vann have had some close matches in the past, but this one went 12-4 in favor of Shafford.
Teddy Croft continued his winning ways, taking first in the schoolboy 133 weight division. Brendon Fenex, schoolboy 148, and Chris Thomas, bantam 51, won their first gold medals of the season. Fenex pinned all three of his opponents.
Miles Tressler, pre-bantam 41, took home a second place. Teammate Parker Overson took third in the same weight class.
Brothers Gabe, pre-bantam 55, and Joshua Bradshaw, novice 82, each finished with silver medals. Levi King, schoolboy 151, took home a silver medal after ending a match 12-12 with Daniel Hargis from Matsu Matmen. King was awarded a victory based on a tie-breaker.
Cadet wrestlers earning silver medals were Timmy Woo, 157, and Heather Harrington, 194.
The team also took many third-place medals. The Cook siblings — Saoirse, pre-bantam 42, and McKenzie, schoolgirl 124 — and Tristen, cadet 157, won three of them. Others placing third were Luciano Fasulo, schoolboy 102, and Allison Wells, schoolgirl 108.
Friday the team will wrestle against the Voznesenka team at 5:15–7 p.m. at Homer Middle School. Older Popeye wrestlers will travel to the Valley for a Greco tournament at Colony and a Folkstyle Tournament at Wasilla.