• Wells forced to forfeit with knee injury
By Sean Pearson
While things didn’t go down exactly the way Homer Coach Chris Perk would have liked, the Mariner wrestling mentor found very little to complain about in regards to his team’s performance at the State Championship in Nikiski over the weekend.
Senior Mark McGregor ended the season with a runner-up finish in the 160-pound weight class. Perk said McGregor won 21 matches this season, with a total of 85 for his career.
“His defeat of Anthony Minnillo from Thorne Bay in the semifinals was the finest of his career,” Perk said of McGregor’s performance at State.
Minnillo defeated McGregor last year for third place at the State meet. This year, the Thorne Bay Wolverine made the match score close with a flurry of points at the end. But McGregor had done enough damage early on to hold on for the 6-5 victory.
“Mark was able to score two takedowns with his front headlock, and then added an escape to build a 5-0 lead going into the final period,” Perk explained. “He led the whole match and really just didn’t take any chances late.”
After fighting off Minnillo’s aggressive comeback, McGregor went on to battle Trevor Chavez, the returning State Champion from Bethel.
“Chavez scored a leg attack right at the end of the first period and never let go of the lead,” Perk said.
After both wrestlers traded escapes, McGregor tried to make something happen late in the third period.
“Mark was a bit off balance and Chavez scored again to win 5-1,” Perk said.
Despite having a shortened season following another strong football performance, McGregor was able to pick up wins against the 170-pound State runner-up, as well as the 182-pound third-place finisher.
The Mariners placed 12th overall with a team total of 56 points, which Perk noted was an improvement over last year’s finish. The Bethel Warriors continued to dominate with another team title.
Homer’s Calvin Johnson, who won three matches over the weekend, placed fifth. Perk said Johnson’s loss in the semifinals to Gage Hoffman was a tight battle.
“Calvin nearly tied Hoffman, locking up a near-side cradle,” Perk said. “He needed to keep Hoffman on his back for two more seconds to tie the match at 12-12.”
Unfortunately, Johnson was only able to score two points for a near-fall and was down 12-11 with about 10 seconds left in the match. He tried again to turn Hoffman to his back, but was reversed and lost 14-11.
“Calvin gave up too many early double-leg takedowns and could not rally enough points in the end,” Perk said. “He won 33 matches this season and continues to improve as a wrestler.”
Other Mariner State qualifiers did not place in the top six, but almost all won matches. Austin McGregor, 120 pounds, Pedro Ochoa, 152 and Dick Perez, 220, each won two matches and finished in the top eight in their respective weight classes. Harley Wells, who wrestles at 145 pounds, won one match before his knee totally gave out and was not able to continue wrestling in the tournament. First-year wrestler, Jordan Reynolds, 182 pounds, was not able to win a match, but Perk said he competed very well.
The Mariners graduate only two wrestlers this year and are hoping to crack the top 10 next year.
“There is a solid group of eighth-graders coming into the high school next year,” Perk said. “That will help fill some weight classes and make the mat room very tough.”
Voznesenka wrestler Gavril Kalugin finished sixth in the 113-pound weight class. Kalugin lost the battle for fifth place in the consolation round to Trevor Creed of Mt. Edgecumbe.
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