• All of middle school’s 10-wrestler team place in top four
By Sean Pearson
Homer Middle School wrestlers took advantage of their home mat on Saturday as they hosted the 2013 KPBSD Wrestling Championships at Homer High School.
Six teams competed in the meet, with the Homer Huskies winning more championships than any other team.
Husky eighth graders Jaime Rios at 105 pounds, Jared Brant at 100 and Andrew Doughty, 145, all won titles in their divisions.
Head Coach Chris Perk said Brant picked up a couple of easy wins, scoring a bar arm and pin in the first period.
Rios had to battle back from being down seven points after getting caught in a tight head and arm by Kenai’s of Ryan Compos.
“Rios cut the lead to 7-4 in the third period,” Perk said. “Then, he was able to score a power half from the top position to roll Compos to his back and earn the fall.”
Doughty, who lost to Chris Fortner of Seward twice this season, went out early and took Fortner down to his back and wrapped him up in a cradle. However, just as it appeared that Fortner was pinned, he was able to reverse Doughty to his back.
Perk said Doughty was able to bridge out-of-bounds and go into the second period tied 5–5. In the second period, Doughty reversed Fortner to his back with a wrist roll, and then found himself back in trouble as Fortner re-rolled Doughty to his back.
“With the match tied at 10–10, Doughty picked up a final reversal for a fall and ended the match,” Perk said. “This was one of the most exciting matches of the day.”
Seventh graders Teddy Croft, 105 and Tristan Cook, 132, also earned championships in their weight divisions. Croft defeated a previously undefeated Soldotna wrestler, Atom Skiba, 11-3 in the finals.
“Teddy was able to get on Skiba’s legs early in the match and rode tough on top,” Perk explained. “He nearly pinned him in the second period with an arm bar, but time ran out.”
Perk said Tristan Cook scored one of the biggest upsets of the day, as he knocked off Nikiski’s Ian Johnson.
“Johnson had pinned Tristan two times previously; both times in a cradle,” Perk said. “This time, Tristan stayed clear of the cradle and was able to score a 7-3 victory.”
Cook wrestled up a weight class so that teammate Timmy Woo wouldn’t have to wrestle in the same class. Woo placed third at 125 pounds after losing a close 9-8 match against Tyler Johnson of Chapman. Kyle Wells, also from Chapman, defeated Seward’s Austin Hinto to n 16-7 in the semifinals to finish as a runner-up at 120 pounds.
Diana Gaedecke placed third at 110 pounds, one of the biggest weight classes at the tourney. Perk said her only loss was to the eventual champion Jaime Rios from Homer.
Other placers for HMS included Ravi Cavasos at115 pounds. Cavasos upset Trayton Bird from Soldotna in the semifinals, forcing him into a match against Kenai’s undefeated Zackary Tuttle.
Perk said Ravi started the match with a sharp takedown, and built a 4 – 0 lead in the second period.
“The match came down to the last 20 seconds and Cavasos leading 5 – 4,” Perk said. “Tuttle took his only shot of the day and scored back points, earning a come-from-behind, 8-5 victory.
Other third-place finishers for HMS included Martin Welty at 85 pounds, Wyatt Lewis 138 pounds, came back to win his final match by fall, as he put Gage Hankins to his back with a cross face butcher.
Owen Fell, 120 pounds, wrestled in his first tourney of the season and held his ground. He placed fourth.
Many of the finishers are headed to either the State Tourney this weekend in Tanana or starting to work out with the Popeye Wrestling Club.
The club will practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Homer and Monday – Thursday in Anchor Point 5 – 6:30 p.m. In addition, practices for ages 5–9 will be held at West Homer Elementary School from 3:15 – 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.
“All but three of the 13 locals wrestlers have wrestled for Popeye in the past,” Perk said. “I’m already looking forward to successful spring season.”
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