Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 1:17 PM on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mariner grapplers fall to Nikiski, head to region tourney in Seward

BY Hal Spence
For the Homer News

Six matches took up barely an hour when the Nikiski Bulldogs and Homer Mariners met on the mat for a dual meet at Homer High School Saturday evening.

A small but enthusiastic crowd cheered on the grapplers doing battle beneath a spotlight in an otherwise darkened gym.

Mariner Senior D.J. Marsengill managed Homer's only victory, earning a 16-3 major decision over Nikiski's Greg Brown. Brown, normally wrestling at 126 pounds, moved up to the 132-pound weight class for this match.

Clearly the superior team, Nikiski took the four other interschool matches. One exhibition match pitted a pair of Mariners against each other.

But Homer Assistant Coach Bubba Wells said the Mariner squad garnered valuable experience it will need for the Region III Tournament this weekend in Seward.

"They did really well against the number two ranked team in the state," Wells said. "We needed this practice against a better team."

Mariner Tyler Wolfe (170 pounds) wrestled Bulldog Kayden Spurgeon, who moved up in class from 152. Spurgeon easily defeated Wolfe in a technical fall (15-1).

Wells nevertheless praised Wolfe's effort.

"He did really well. The kid he wrestled took state last year," he said.

Pedro Ochoa of Homer moved up from 138 pounds to wrestle in the 145-pound class against Josh Brown who earned a technical fall, beating Ochoa 18-1.

In the 138-pound weight class, Nikiski's Mike Stangel defeated Harley Wells 10-8 in the closest match of the evening.

Tyler Handley of Nikiski defeated David Jack Woo of Homer in the 113-pound division, scoring a 13-3 major decision.

In the exhibition match between Homer wrestlers, Calvin Johnson earned a technical fall (16-1) over Austin McGregor.

Nikiski Coach Adam Anders brought only five wrestlers south for the meet, a long trip for so few matches.

"Yeah, but it was worth it for these guys," he said following the meet.

The meet was to have included the Cougars from Voznesenka. Voz Coach Steve Wolfe, who refereed the evening's matches, said Voz did not come because of a conflict with a religious holiday.

The Region III Tournament in Seward is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.