Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 1:45 PM on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First-year wrestlers prove mat skills at Houston

The Mariner mat men scored fourth place with 89 points out of seven teams at the Houston Invitational last weekend, their first competition this season. Missing a few wrestlers to the football team at the state championship game in Chugiak, Head Wrestling Coach Chris Perk had his hands full with first year wrestlers who wrangled a number of wins.

Friday night of the invite, Homer wrestled against Grace Christian School, Houston and a mix of wrestlers from Nikiski, Voznesenka and Su Valley. Freshman Danny Rios won his first match that day at 152 pounds, pinning Jake McNamara of Grace Christian in the second period. The match score was 5-4 in favor of McNamara until Rios put him on his back for the fall.

The next few Mariner wrestlers continued the winning streak against Grace Christian, junior Tanner Kelley at 170 pounds and junior Dylan Williams who bumped up from the 220-pound weight class to the 285-pound weight class to pin Lander Simmons.

Sophomore Calvin Johnson made a last-minute move to score a win over Christian Wheeles. With only 30 seconds left and losing 4-2, Johnson locked up a lateral drop and pinned Wheeles with only 12 seconds remaining.

First-year wrestler sophomore Pedro Ochoa proved his worth in the circle by beating Jens Julinseen 12-6.

Against Houston, junior Tyler Wolfe scored a quick pin against Keith Paul and it only took senior Mick Wells at 195 pounds one minute to pin CJ Cyphers. Calvin Johnson, Danny Rios and Pedro Ochoa all scored wins against the Hawks.

In the final round on Friday, sophomores Nahoa Jette and David Greene both pinned their opponents from Su Valley while seniors DJ Marsengill and Calvin Johnson pinned their Voznesenka opponents.

"The new wrestlers adapted quick to the sport. For their first time on the mat against competition, I felt like they held their own," said Perk. "We are very young and inexperienced in the sport, but will make strides every week as the team is very dedicated, over half are coming to practices twice a day."

The Mariners faced a bracket tournament on Saturday. Calvin Johnson was the highest Mariner placer in second at 106 pounds. He earned his way to the finals with two wins before Hannah Hutchison of Skyview stopped him with a 4-0 loss in the finals. This wasn't Johnson's first time meeting Hutchinson on the mat. Last year Johnson was pinned three times by the female Panther, but this year's pinning was an improvement.

Though not taking first, Homer was not at a loss and placed many thirds including first year wrestlers Nahoa Jette at 113 pounds and Pedro Ochoa at 145 pounds. Danny Rios at 152 pounds, senior Mick Wells at 182/195 pounds and junior Dylan Williams at 220/285 pounds also placed third.

"Battling back for third is a true test of courage and pride. After your first loss some tend to give up on themselves. This was not was the case for the Mariners," said Perk. Seniors DJ Marsengill at 138 pounds and Tyler Wolfe at 182/195 pounds were both fourth place finishers.

The Mariners look forward to this weekend as they travel to Seward for a team dual tournament. With the addition of a few varsity football players, the Mariners should be close to their full varsity line up.