• Homer’s Harley Wells comes up one match short of ‘kinghood’
By Sean Pearson
Homer junior Harley Wells won all five matches in his pool to qualify for the finals of the King of the Mountain Wrestling Tournament in Seward over the weekend. Wrestling at 152 pounds, Wells faced a tough Isaac Deaton of Valdez in the quest for the King of the Mountain title. Deaton won the State Championship at 138 pounds last season and took Wells to his back quickly in the pair’s first match-up this year.
“Harley was able to defend himself for about a minute before Deaton pinned him,” said Homer Head Coach Chris Perk.
The loss was Wells’ first of the season. He leads the team with seven wins.
The Mariners also did well as a team overall, picking up four wins and one loss in the dual meets. Homer beat a combined Voznesenka/Glennallen team 33-6, Seward 29-24, Grace 54-16 and Aniak/New Halen 25-12. The team’s only loss was at the hands of the Skyview Panthers, 60–12.
Perk said the Panthers put eight wrestlers in the finals and won multiple championships in the tournament.
Junior Calvin Johnson won five matches over the weekend, losing only to Skyview’s Austin Craig. Johnson lost to Craig 8-7 last weekend, but looked strong as he took an early 5–0 lead in Seward.
Johnson was able to score two more points before Craig pulled away with the 14-7 victory. Perk said the two wrestlers ought to see quite a bit of each other as the season rolls on.
Pedro Ochoa, also a junior, bumped up to 160 pounds in Seward and wrestled to four wins and only one loss.
“He wrestled very aggressively,” Perk said. “Ochoa is a competitor. He is starting to really wrestle with confidence and intensity.”
The only problem is that Ochoa and Wells are currently in the same weight class.
“They can both wrestle at 152 pounds this weekend at ACS because it’s an individual tournament,” Perk explained.
In other tournaments, however, the two would be competing against each other within the same weight division. Perk said he hopes to move one of the wrestlers to a different weight class for future competitions.
Kyle Van Alstine, 170 pounds, and Antonio Ochoa, 182 pounds, also bumped up a weight class to fill some holes in the line-up.
Perk said most of the football players who had verbally committed to wrestling were taking a week off, so he asked some kids to fill in for those weights. He added that Van Alstine and Ochoa scored many points off forfeits because other teams could not fill those weights.
Junior Dick Perez, 220 pounds, won a tight 6-4 match over Rhodes from Glennallen.
“That was his only win over the weekend, but he continues to improve as a first-year wrestler,” Perk said.
On the lighter side of competition, freshman Dakota Alward won three matches at 145 pounds. Perk said Alward is very coachable and is “developing a deadly double leg, similar to Olympic Champion Jordon Burroughs.”
Jadzia Martin, 98 pounds and Andrew Raham, 138 pounds, gained valuable mat time at the tourney and each came away with a win. Martin had only two other competitors at 98 pounds, and spent most of the weekend at 106 pounds.
The Mariner Mat Men will head to Anchorage Christian School this weekend for the largest small school tournament in the state.
“Every small school team will be represented at this tournament, and we can bring two wrestlers per weight,” Perk explained. “Last year, nobody from Homer placed in the top five. The team would like to change that performance this year and bring home a few medals.” Action starts at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
Round 1: Voznesenka 12, Newhalen 3; Skyview 60, Homer 6.
Round 2: Homer 33, Voznesenka 6;
Round 4: Homer 54, Grace 16; Seward 23, Voz 9.
Round 5: Grace 24, Voznesenka 4;
Round 6: Homer 25, Newhalen 12
Round 7: Skyview 72, Voznesenka 0.
Round 8: Homer 29, Seward 24.
Comments are closed