At the Class 2A, 3A and 4A levels — or those schools 61 students and above — even the best basketball programs will have rebuilding seasons.
At the Class 1A level — or those schools with 60 students or less — even the best programs will have seasons where they can’t even field a team.
The Cook Inlet Academy boys squad, which won state titles in 1999, 2002 and 2005 and reached another state final in 2003, will be dormant this year.
With such close parity in competition in the Class 3A Southcentral Conference, basketball teams on the Kenai Peninsula will be facing a long road full of challenges en route to the region tournament in early March.
Add one more to the mix.
Saturday night inside the packed Bartlett High gym, the Homer wrestling team celebrated an occasion almost 30 years in the making.
The Mariners captured the Class 1-2-3A state team championship to win their fourth state title in school history and first since 1986, piling up 212 points to capture the team championship. Perennial contender Bethel finished second with 168 points, while defending champions Kotzebue were third with 138.5 points.
Registration has started for MicroBells, the learn-to-skate-through-hockey class at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena.
MicroBells is for ages 4-8 and is free for brand new participants. Gear is provided.
Classes run from Jan. 10-March 20. Space is limited.
For registration details and instructions, email email@example.com.
The Mariners had only 15 skaters because of the Christmas holiday while the Alumni had an excessive bench of 22 during Tuesday night’s Alumni game — but it was a feisty game nonetheless.
The Homer Mariners brought home the hardware Saturday at the Kachemak Conference wrestling championships, although they did not have to go very far to put it in the school display case.
Riding on the strength of seven individual champions (including girls), the Mariners were crowned region champs for the first time since 1986, rolling up a total of 239 points. Houston finished second with 197 and Nikiski was third with 193.5.
The Homer Mariners ski team raced on a fast course of artificial snow over the weekend at the annual Lynx Loppet tournament at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. Friday they had a classic race and Saturday was skate skiing. Both days were 2 two-kilometer loops for a total of 4 kilometers of racing. It took 800,000 gallons of water to produce enough snow for the race. Senior Rachel Ellert had an outstanding skate race, coming in 23rd out of 204 competitors.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22, the Mariner co-op hockey team meets alumni on the ice at Kevin Bell Arena for their annual match-up.
But it’s not just your average game.
This year, Mariners past and present will join hockey teams around the country in a hockey Christmas tradition: the Teddy Bear Toss. When the game’s first goal is scored, spectators are invited to throw stuffed animals onto the ice. The players then gather up the toys to deliver to children in need.
Post-Christmas and pre-New Year’s, a “Meet the Mariners” event hosted by the Homer High basketball teams gives alumni a chance to celebrate their days in letterman jackets — and the kids who wear the Mariner uniform today. Starting in the high school gym at 5 p.m. on Dec. 26, the season-opening event promises food, basketball, and fun for all.
The night kicks off with an alumni basketball game in honor of former Homer coaches Rob Gribble and Alice Witte.
Nikolaevsk took fourth place on Saturday at the Mixed 6 Volleyball State Championship on Saturday at Dimond High School in Anchorage.
The Warriors topped Golovin 3-0 in the fourth-place match.
Friday, both Nikolaevsk and Seldovia fell into the fourth-place bracket with losses — Seldovia lost to Tanalian 3-2 and Nikolaevsk to Unalakleet 3-2.
Saturday, Seldovia was eliminated from the tourney with a 3-0 loss to Golovin, while Nikolaevsk moved to the fourth-place match with a 3-1 victory over Nunamiut.
Homer fought hard against Soldotna in the third-place duals at this weekend’s North-South Duals wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Soldotna Prep, only to be defeated 46-36.
Colony cruised to the North-South championship Saturday with a 52-28 dual win over Valley rival Wasilla.
The Homer hockey team takes a short break this week before heading to the Soldotna Sports Center on Dec. 17 to play Kenai. The Mariners had some close games at a North Star Conference tournament in town this weekend, but unfortunately didn’t win any of them.
Today, volleyball teams from Nikolaevsk and Seldovia head to the Mixed Six State Tournament in Anchorage. It is the third-straight state trip for the Warriors.
On Nov. 21, teams from Seldovia, Kodiak, Nikolaesk and Fort Yukon participated in the Region 2 Denali Conference Mixed 6 Volleyball Tournament in Seldovia. The Nikolaevsk Warriors came out on top, with the Seldovia Sea Otters in second place. The sportsmanship award went to the team from Kodiak.
Eve Black demonstrates the proper pitching stance with Homer High School Lady Mariners softball pitcher McKi Needham during a pitching clinic last Friday at Homer High School. Black is a former University of Washington pitcher and coach. Girls from throughout the Kenai Peninsula attended the clinic.
The Homer Mariners finished sixth with 86 points among 43 wrestling teams at the annual Lancer Smith Memorial tournament Friday and Saturday at Colony High School. It’s considered the toughest tournament in Alaska.
The Mariners are taking this week off before hosting the Voznesenka Cougars in a dual at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 to celebrate Senior Night.
South won the Lancer Smith tourney with 224.5 points, while Colony finished second with 178.5.
Levi Hensley scored the game-winning goal for Soldotna early in the third period against Homer and the Stars went on to beat the Mariners 5-4 Saturday at the End of the Road Shootout tournament in Homer.
Dimond’s JV won the tournament with a 3-0 record.
Hensley broke a 2-2 tie with an assist from Cameron Knowlton with 12 minutes, 21 seconds, remaining in the game, and Ethan Brown added an insurance goal just 1:51 later.
This week, the Homer High wrestling team travels to what coach Chris Perk calls “the toughest meet in Alaska,” the Lancer Smith Memorial in Palmer. There, they’ll face nearly every team in the state, including both 4A and Small Schools. The JV team will also wrestle at the Colony Scramble.
As the coach of a rising wrestling squad, Perk is seeing early returns on the effort to build up a successful program.
Homer Glacier King Pee Wee C’s took the title of 2015 Peninsula Power Play Tournament Champions in the annual tournament held in Kenai and Soldotna last weekend. The tournament fielded a division of six Pee Wee Tier III teams from around Southcentral Alaska.
The Homer hockey squad faces intense competition from three other teams this week at the End of the Road Shoot-Out at Kevin Bell Arena, following a disappointing weekend in Palmer.
The team finished 0-2-1 in the weekend Palmer Hockey Showdown, falling to Wasilla 7-1 on Friday and North Pole 5-2 on Saturday.
Friday, after a scoreless first period, Garrett Conroy, Porter Schachle and Russell Harren scored in the second before Demitry Kuzmin was able to cut it to 3-1.
Stubbornness and tenacity earned the Homer volleyball team a spot at the Class 3A state tournament. Upon arrival, however, that dogged approach could only carry them so far.
A day after losing a first-round match against Valdez, it was Kotzebue that defeated Homer 3-1 in the second-chance bracket Friday at the Alaska Airlines Arena with scores of 25-19, 20-25, 25-10 and 25-18, putting an end to the Mariners’ season.