• Grapplers return after humbling experience at ‘mega’ meet
By Sean Pearson
Homer wrestlers Calvin Johnson and Pedro Ochoa combined to earn all 27 of the Mariners’ team points at the Anchorage Christian School Invitational over the weekend.
With wrestlers from some 44 different Alaska high schools battling it out for the top spot in their respective weight classes, the competition is the biggest tournament in the state.
Homer placed 30th overall.
Johnson, a junior, made his debut at 106 pounds this season with a win over Dillingham’s Kenny Savo.
“Johnson used some solid breakdowns and won by a commanding 18-2 score over Savo,” said Homer Head Coach Chris Perk.
Johnson then took on defending State Champion Darien Davis from Sitka.
“Davis pinned Johnson in the second period, but Calvin wrestled him longer than any of his opponents during the weekend,” Perk said. “He then went on to score a textbook double leg on the edge of the mat to beat Moses Jackson of Mt. Edgecumbe 6-2.”
The Mariner junior then went up against Alex Megalong of Unalaska, where he held a 5-2 lead after the first period.
“Calvin got caught on his back in a bar arm to finish the tourney in fourth place,” Perk said. “He has a solid chance of placing in the top six this season, with his technical match skills looking good so far.”
Pedro Ochoa, also a junior, wrestled in the largest division, battling nearly 45 competitors in the 152-pound weight class. Ochoa pinned his first two opponents before scoring a 20-5 technical fall over Tannen Berry of Seward.
Ochoa then lost to defending State Champion Issac Deaton of Valdez. “This was the same wrestler who beat Mariner Harley Wells last weekend,” Perk said. “Ochoa lasted 3:33 minutes before getting pinned.” He then went on to lose 5-15 to Thorne Bay’s Luther Jenson.
“Ochoa is a great counter attack wrestler, but needs to add some leg attacks to his mix before he can beat the higher level wrestlers,” Perk said. “We have about a month to accomplish this.”
Perk said several other young members of the team did not win a match, but saw some noticeable improvement. Freshmen Jadzia Martin, 98 pounds, Andrew Raham, 138 and Dakota Alward, 145, all wrestled tough competitors and came away with more experience in the high school wrestling realm.
Junior Dick Perez, wrestling at 220 pounds, nearly beat Daylen Westdahl from Bethel, but got caught underneath his opponent in the second period and could not escape the hold.
According to Perk, 160-pounder Antonio Ochoa also wrestled very aggressively against his opponents, but was not able to score a win over the weekend.
Homer looks to host a whole weekend of wrestling with dual matches against Voznesenka, Dillingham, ACS and Nikiski on Friday at 6 and 7 p.m.
Saturday brings Grace, Skyview and Seldovia to town to participate in Homer’s Round Robin Rumble. The wrestling gets underway at 10:30 a.m. and runs through 3:30 p.m.
Perk said he is optimistic about this weekend’s competition, and encouraged the community to come out to Alice Witte Gymnasium and support the team either day of the week.
“Home meets this season are very limited, so come catch the action now,” Perk said.
Homer High School results
Calvin Johnson placed fourth.
Quarterfinal: Johnson won by technical fall (18-2) over Kenny Savo (Dillingham).
Semifinal: Darin Davis (Sitka) pinned Johnson in 3:05.
Consolation Semi: Johnson won by 6-2 decision over Moses Jackson (Mt. Edgecumbe).
Third Place Match: Alec Magalong (Unalaska) pinned Johnson in 2:19.
Prelim: Pedro Ochoa pinned Nolan Horner (Nome) in 4:30.
Champ. Round 1: Ochoa pinned Maya Hernandez-Mullen (Hutchison) in 22 seconds.
Champ. Round 2: Ochoa won 20-5 by tech fall over Tannen Berry (Seward).
Quarterfinal: Issac Deaton (Valdez) pinned Ochoa in 3.33 .
Consolation Round 4: Luther Jenson (Thorne Bay) won by 15-5 major decision over Ochoa.
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