• Popeye wrestlers earn 32 medals at Saturday’s home tourney
By Sean Pearson
Unless you have previously attended a youth wrestling tournament — or perhaps a giggling gaggle of cheer squad competition — you cannot truly appreciate the deafening din of some 350 tiny wrestlers converging upon Alice Witte Gymnasium. You can almost smell the determination. (Or maybe that smell was coming from something else.)
On Saturday, the Popeye Wrestling Club hosted its annual freestyle tournament at Homer High School, welcoming wrestlers ranging in age from 5 years to adult. Teams traveled from as far away as Houston to compete.
The South Peninsula’s Popeye Club entered 54 wrestlers, and placed fifth overall out of a field of 16 teams. Popeye wrestlers earned a total of 32 medals.
Five-year-old Saoirse Cook pinned four competitors on her way to earning first place in the 36-39-pound Pre Bantam division.
Popeye Wrestling spokesman Chris Perk said Cook’s performance was, “one of the best of all the wrestlers entered in the competition.” Carter Woodhead, a second-year wrestler, won all four matches on his way to a first-place finish.
Perk called Woodhead’s explosive double-leg takedowns “unstoppable.”
In the novice division, Allison Wells placed second with two come-from-behind victories, while Luka Fasulo earned three pins on his way to a first-place finish in the School/boy-girl 90-pound division.
Tyler Johnson also grabbed three wins and was crowned champion of the school/boy-girl 120-pound category.
Perk said one of the most impressive performances of the tournament came from Mark McGregor in the Junior 160 division.
McGregor had to come from behind to win his first match, but quickly regrouped and went on to score two pins on his way to the first-place finish. One of those included a well-timed lateral drop to pin Chance Boatman from Wasilla. Boatman was a state placer during the high school season.
Second-place finishers from Popeye include: Cayleb Diaz, Allison Wells, Wayne Newman, Josiah Raymond, Jadin Mann, Austin McGregor, Calvin Johnson and Daniel Rios.
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