Story last updated at 3:56 p.m. Thursday, November 21, 2002

Wrestlers 'Rumble' to tourney crowns
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports

  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Homer wrestler Monte Garroutte, at left, puts a half Nelson on Brandy Goracke of Soldotna during Saturdaypis Round-Robin Rumble at Homer High School. Garroutte went on the win the 130-pound weight-class title, earning Garroutte the No. 2 ranking in the state.  
The mule kick. The half Nelson. The single- or double-leg takedown. The gut-wrench. The cradle.

These are the quintessential moves in the wrestlers cookbook, and they were just some of the ingredients that were tossed into the mix as wrestlers from across the Kenai Peninsula converged on Saturday for the Round Robin Rumble wrestling tournament at Homer High School.

The host Mariner wrestling team, short on bodies but long on grit, took two weight-class titles, a second place and a pair of third-place finishes out of the eight weight classes it entered.

Skyview won the tournament, posting six weight-class titles. The Panthers had 156 points, while second-place Soldotna finished with 140. Homer placed fourth with 77.

photo: sports

  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Mariner Camron Hagen, on left, closes in on a victory during his championship match against Lance Penhale of Nikiski. Hagen is currently ranked No. 3 at 103.  
The hometown crowd watched as 103-pounder Camron Hagen and 130-pounder Monty Garroutte each wrestled their way to titles.

Hagen put away Nikiski's Lance Penhale with a 16-9 decision in the championship match and finishing the tourney with a 4-0 record.

"He pretty much dominated him pretty much the whole match," said coach Chris Perk. "At 103 pounds he's gonna be a powerhouse. He has a lot of raw talent you can't coach."

Garroutte also finished 4-0, defeating David Johnson of Nikiski 17-1 on a technical fall.

Perk said the match of the day for Garroutte came earlier in the day when Garroutte posted a 9-2 win over SoHi's Brandy Goracke, who had beaten him in dual-meet competition the previous day.

"It was pretty much the perfect match," Perk said. "He scored on his feet, he rode him tough on top and was able to escape off the bottom."

Adam Hediger took second-place in the 171-pound class, dropping a tough 7-2 decision to Soldotna's Johnny Howarth in the title match.

Jim Pollack took third in the 189 class with a consolation final win over Kenai's Sonny Nelson. Pollack dropped a very close 9-8 decision to Skyview's Justin Rainwater in the semifinal match. Pollack nearly had Rainwater pinned with a cradle during the match's second period.

Wrestling at 112 pounds, Louden Greiner also placed third.

Jared Weaver took fourth in the heavyweight division.

Tournament competition offers the team a chance to showcase its individual potential, which Perk said is looking strong enough to produce some top placers at the state tournament.

Perk said that although the Mariner team continues to struggle from its lack of depth during dual meet competition, the individual wrestlers' confidence continues to build each time they have a solid performance.

"We're just going to accept what we've got right now and move forward," he said.

Sepp Jannotta can be reached at