Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 4:19 PM on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Five Mariner grapplers heading for state

BY Hal Spence
For the Homer News

Mariner mat men took fifth place in the tough Denali/Kachemak Conference Regional Tournament last weekend in Seward, and in the process, earned five spots in the Small Schools State Championships in Nikiski this weekend.

Seventeen teams competed in the state qualifier. Homer scored 121 points. Nikiski was the overall winner with 213 points, followed by Valdez, Skyview and Houston, which had 129 points.

Homer Head Coach Chris Perk took 13 wrestlers to the Seward mat. Five are headed for state, including seniors DJ Marsengill (132 pounds) and Mick Wells (182 pounds), juniors Mark McGregor (160 pounds) and Joe Resetarits (195 pounds), and sophomore Calvin Johnson (106 pounds).

"The majority of the team won at least one match and showed tremendous improvement," Perk said.

Marsengill and Wells both placed fourth in their respective brackets.

"DJ had a stellar tournament as he won two close matches 11-9 and 3-2 to get into the semi-finals," Perk said. "He upset the number three-ranked Tyler Phillips of Eielson."

Marsengill then went on to pin Ryan Radmer of Houston.

Wells defeated number fourth-ranked Austin Elsberry of Hutchinson, 19-6, and scored a reversal against the number one-seed Lincoln Johnson of Nikiski. He pinned CJ Cyphers of Houston to earn a trip to the state tourney.

McGregor and Resetarits both earned second-place finishes. McGregor won an 18-2 technical fall over Mason Kimber of Cordova (ranked fourth in the state), but fell to number two-ranked Corey Green of Nikiski in the finals.

Resetarits, meanwhile, needed only 37 seconds to pin Andrew Hoffman of Hutchinson to earn his way to the finals, where he fell to Sam Rinninger of Seward, 11-4. Both Resetarits and Rinninger are ranked in the top six in the state.

Calvin Johnson placed fifth at Seward and also earned a trip to the big show. He won three matches including a pin over Gavril Kalugin of Voznesenka, to make it into the top five.

"Calvin leads the team with 31 wins this season," Perk said.

Freshman Antonio Ochoa (145 pounds) won two matches as did sophomore David Woo (113 pounds).

"One of the most exciting matches was Woo versus Terrance Ognaik of Seward," Perk said. "Woo was down by four points and tied it up with seconds left to go into overtime."

Unfortunately, he could not score and was eliminated.

Freshman Austin McGregor (106 pounds ) nearly earned a top-six spot by winning three matches. He beat Grace Christian's Christian Wheels, who had beaten McGregor twice this season.

"It is a good way to measure your progress if you can beat opponents who you lost to during the season," Perk said.

Sophomore Pedro Ochao, in his first year wrestling, also won three matches and finished the season with 25 wins, "showing promise for upcoming seasons," Perk said.

Harley Wells, a sophomore wrestling at 138 pounds, also had a great tournament in a bracket with 24 wrestlers, Perk said, winning five matches all by pin, the most recorded by any wrestler at the tournament, and doing it while not feeling well.

"He entered the tournament not 100 percent physically, and continued to battle even though his body slowly seized up and he could barely move without pain," Perk said. "He endured many minutes though and placed sixth overall. Although he did not qualify for state, he showed lots of heart by not quitting."

Eyeing the state championships ahead, Perk said victory would come down to "confidence and the ability to make some quick changes this week in practice."

All five of his state wrestlers "have the chance to place in the top six at state," he said.