• Fab freshmen show promise for Homer wrestling future
By Sean Pearson
The Mighty Mariner freshmen wrestlers put on quite a show over the weekend, winning 10 out of 12 matches in their debut in Homer High School’s blue and gold.
Their performances are not only a testament to the hard work and strong coaching these athletes have endured over the years of Popeye Wrestling, but also an indication of what kind of wrestling future the M’s may see over the next four years.
“We had a really good weekend,” said Homer Head Coach Chris Perk. “These freshmen are amazing.”
Jared Brant, wrestling at 106 pounds, pinned two Houston wrestlers. Perk said Brant was able to dominate both wrestlers with leg-attack takedowns.
Mariner Ravi Cavasos, who wrestled at 120 pounds, scored a 30-second pin against Braydn Tanner from Skyview, and then won 12-10 over Etienne Kinney of Houston.
“Cavasos had built up an 8-2 lead in the match before Kinney made a monster comeback,” Perk explained. “Ravi had just enough left in the tank to hold onto his lead.”
Mariner Wyatt Lewis, 145 pounds, pinned both of his opponents in the first period. Perk said Lewis was on his back against Skyview’s Ben Hadfield, but had an amazing bridge that took Hadfield to his back, allowing Lewis to pin him.
According to Perk, one of the highlights of the meet was Lady Mariner Heather Harrington’s performance at 220 pounds. Harrington pinned both of her opponents, using a “power-half” in both matches.
“Heather’s second match against Will Olsen of Nikiski was hard-fought,” Perk explained. “She was able to hold off pinning combinations, and then in the third period, she put her elbow on the back of Olsen’s head and used her other hand to apply pressure on his neck and turn Olsen to his back for the pin.”
In other wrestling action, Jamie Rios, 126 pounds and Andrew Doughty, 145 pounds, both won and lost a match on Saturday. Rios avoided getting pinned in his match-up with Skyview junior Ryan Winter, and then went on to pin Sam Chapson from Houston in 30 seconds. Doughty lost to 2012 State-placer Tyler Handley from Nikiski.
Homer junior Danny Rios, 195 pounds, pinned James Gallagher from Skyview in his first match.
“Both wrestlers were really battling,” Perk said. “They put each other to their backs twice before Rios finally stopped Gallagher and pinned him for the win.”
Senior captain Calvin Johnson dropped two tough matches at 113 pounds. He started out with a loss to State placer Austin Craig from Skyview.
“The match was close the whole way, and Johnson had Craig on his back in a cradle,” Perk explained. “But Craig wouldn’t give up and forced the match into overtime. There, he was able to shoot and take Johnson down.”
Johnson’s second match was against Seth Hutchison, who was 2012 State Champion at 98 pounds.
“Johnson started out with a 4-0 lead after taking Hutchison to his back and scoring two near-falls,” Perk said. “Then, Hutchison used three different arm bars to score nine point and eventually pinned Johnson in the third period.”
Perk said several members of the team did not have enough practices in to compete over the weekend; many just finished playing football or participating in cross-country running. He indicated that a few others were academically ineligible.
However, Perk said the team should be at full strength this weekend when they host the Best Western Bidarka’s Round Robin Rumble on Saturday at Homer High School’s Alice Witte Gymnasium.
On Friday, the Mariner Mat Team will host a wrestling clinic for youth in the Homer area. Instruction for ages 5-8 will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and ages 9-15 will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for the morning session, and $20 for all day. Register from 8:45 – 9:15 a.m. in the mat room.
Saturday is Popeye Wrestling Day, and all members of the Popeye Wrestling Club will receive free admission into the event. The wrestling begins at 10:30 a.m.
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