Story last updated at 2:34 p.m. Thursday, December 12, 2002

Wrestlers 'solid' at Bartlett meet
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

The Homer High School wrestling team got a little help from some Kenai Peninsula friends at the Jerry Palmer team duals tournament Friday and Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.

The Mariners posted some strong individual results as they formed a joint squad with Kenai in order to fill out all the weight classes.

The Homer-Kenai team finished with a split of two dual meets against Anchorage schools, falling to Service but knocking off Dimond. Despite the one win, the combined team was not permitted to advance in the double-elimination tourney.

Skyview grappled its way to a first-place finish, advancing to the championship match with a 33-28 win over Wasilla in Saturday's semifinals before defeating Lathrop 51-18 in the title match.

Even though his wrestlers couldn't advance past the preliminary rounds, Homer coach Chris Perk said he was pleased with how the Mariners performed.

"I'm definitely happy with they way they wrestled," Perk said.

Homer compiled a 9-4 record during the two duals.

The most amazing match of the tournament from the Mariners' perspective was the remarkable comeback by 119-pounder Louden Greiner. Greiner pulled off a win over Dimond's Louis Stevens with a late-match pin after trailing 14-2 going into the third period.

"That was a big win for Louden," Perk said. "He got him with the cradle -- it was the 'Grinder.' That was a neat one for us."

Greiner also won his match in the Service dual. The wins were particularly big considering he had moved up a weight class for the tourney, Perk said.

Homer's Camron Hagen continued to wrestle well, holding on to his No. 1 ranking in the 103-pound class with a pair of wins.

"He looked solid," said coach Chris Perk. "He was demonstrating moves we've been working on in practice. He's continuing to improve."

The Mariners also improved in the depth category, adding the services of junior Tommy James, who wrestled for the Mariners last season.

James won both his matches at the Bartlett tourney, wrestling at 145.

"He looked good," Perk said. "For his first time on the mat (this season), winning both your matches is pretty good."

Perk said he expects James to move down to the 140-pound class.

That will mean that the Mariner squad, which began the season with a sorely depleted roster, will only be giving up three weight classes to forfeiture. Perk added that team manager Derrick Macaully is planning to begin competing at 125.

This weekend, the Mariners will have a chance to rest up, as they won't be competing but rather will play host to the 1A-2A-3A State Wrestling Tournament, which kicks off with early-round matches beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

"This comes at pretty much a perfect time for us," Perk said. "We're just focusing on putting on a great tournament."

Sepp Jannotta can be reached at sjannotta@homer news.com.

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