Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 12:45 PM on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wrestling squad to participate in 50-team tourney

The Mariner Mat Men showed their full guns at Seward's King of the Mountain Tourney this past weekend against 14 other schools. The Mariners grappled with Nikiski, Skyview, Grace Christian, New Stoyahok, Cordova and Barrow in their pool with juniors Mark McGregor and Dylan Williams advancing to finals.

The young Mariner squad wrestled six matches in two days, wrestling well against Cordova and Barrow, but falling short against Nikiski and Skyview.

"We did a better job of protecting our legs this week, still struggling with keeping our heads down and defending the half nelson," said Head Wrestling Coach Chris Perk.

Seniors and team captains Mick Wells at 182 pounds and DJ Marsengill at 138 pounds both won four matches and lost two. Marsengill was in a tight match with Austin Cunningham of Skyview, an opponent Marsengill lost to last year at Regionals. In this match, Marsengill was caught with his head down and stacked to his back for a pin by Cunningham.

Sophomore Calvin Johnson at 106 pounds won five matches and almost advanced to the finals, but was beat by Hannah Hutchinson of Skyview 10-8. Johnson has a history with Hutchinson on the mat as Hutchinson has beaten Johnson numerous times in the last year. Johnson was completely dominating for most of this match 7-2 with 30 seconds left in the third period but was taken down twice by Hutchinson. This was a turn around from last week's 4-0 victory by Hutchinson against Johnson.

"Calvin is getting closer to winning this match," said Perk.

Freshman Austin McGregor showed lots of heart as he bumped up a weight class to 113 pounds. "He won one match and showed promise as he was able to defend himself against many heavier opponents," said Perk.

Older brother, Mark McGregor at 160 pounds, wrestling for his first weekend fresh off of football season, looked reasonably sharp as he advanced in his pools. In the finals, he wrestled Sam Rininger of Seward.

The first period was close as both wrestlers scored one takedown. In the second, McGregor dominated the top position and scored seven points off near falls by using a leg ride. Starting the third period, McGregor chose bottom and scored four consecutive points via an illegal move by Rininger who locked his hands in an attempt to keep McGregor on the mark. McGregor ended up pinning Rininger with 20 secondS left in the period and won 17-7.

Dylan Williams at 220 pounds advanced to the finals with a 5-1 record in his pool, and battled Luke Wagoner of Houston in the finals. Wagoner placed fifth at State last year and beat Williams last week at the Houston Invitational. Williams struggled with Wagoner early on in the match and was pinned in the first period with a loss of 2-0.

There is progress still to be made for the team. With the football team extending their season for State Championships, Perk and his team are trying to round up the troops and to have an even spread among the weight classes.

"We are still short a few weight classes and was hoping for a few more players who said they were starting this week," said Perk.

This week the Mariners head to Anchorage Christian School for a 50-team tournament. This is the most attended tourney in the state, it will give the Mariners a good idea of their competition for State.

Lady Mariners fall short

of points, but play well

The Lady Mariner volleyball team faced some of the toughest competition of the season at Dimond/Service Tournament this past weekend. Despite the struggle and losses, the team's morale stayed high and the girls achieved individual successes.

"The girls played with more intensity and focus than I have seen in a while and really worked on improving individual skills while working hard to communicate better and play together as a team. I felt we accomplished all of these goals even though the scores did not reflect these successes," said Head Volleyball Coach Beth Trowbridge.

Friday night of the tournament was a pool play against West Valley, Nome, Eagle River and Grace Christian — teams all in the top of their conferences.

"We didn't win a set on Friday but I can honestly say we played some of the best volleyball that we have played all season. It's amazing how that works sometimes," said Trowbridge.

The stiff competition gave the girls an opportunity to work on their defense. Lauren Cashman was the primary setter, running a 5-1 offense.

"She worked very hard and improved the quality of her sets and really picked up her defense," said Trowbridge.

Other defensive all-stars were Haley Oliver with three solo blocks, eight assists and a few key defensive digs in coverage plays at the net.

Katie McNary and Caroline de Creeft kept many plays in the back row with 19 and 16 digs each, respectively. Hope Hudson stepped in regularly for sets or to mount a bigger block, and Hannah Larue improved her hitting with two kills and 11 digs.

Zoia Basargin struggled with consistency, but never failed to keep a positive attitude and work ethic. She had 11 kills, five solo blocks and the team high of 20 block assists.

Despite match losses, there were personal wins.

"These were the types of games where the team felt good about the how they played regardless of the outcome — this is what we strive for each time we hit the court and we haven't accomplished this very many times this season — so it was great to see," said Trowbridge.

Cayenna Anderson is one with personal achievements. She had eight kills and the team high of eight service aces with a 100 serving percentage. These were some of Anderson's best games of the season according to Trowbridge.

Carly Snyder worked hard to cut down on errors and improved her hitting consistency and contributed seven kills with a 14 kill efficiency.

Brooke De Vaney got into her groove and led the team with focused intensity. She had 32 kills, six solo blocks, 13 block assists, two service aces, a 97 serving percentage, and the team high of 36 digs.

Kayla Hutt also found her offensive groove with 15 kills, three solo blocks, six block assists and two service aces.

Saturday the Mariners were put in the Silver single-elimination bracket where they played more evenly matched teams. Against Seward, the Mariners lost 22-25 and 18-25.

"I did not feel that we came to the court with quite the same intensity and drive as on Friday," said Trowbridge.

Against North Pole, the girls were able to pick up some pace, but fell short in both matches, losing 19-25 and 13-25.

The last game of the weekend was against Peninsula rival Kenai. The Lady Mariners found the spark and won both matches 25-10 and 25-18.

"I felt the level of overall play for the weekend was really great and just what I want to see before heading into our final week of regular season play before the region tournament next week," said Trowbridge.

The Lady Mariners will have back-to-back games this weekend; Wasilla on Friday for their last conference match and Grace Christian on Saturday for a final non-conference match.