• Jared Brant takes top spot at 106 pounds
By Sean Pearson
Wrestling at 106 pounds, Mariner Jared Brant dominated his weight class at “The Altercation” at Houston High School over the weekend. Brant defeated two wrestlers en route to a first-place finish, and looks to hold on to his No. 6 ranking in the state.
As a team, Homer finished second with 155 points, beating tournament host Houston by nine points. A total of 14 teams competed in the event, with No. 5-ranked Valdez earning 170 points for the team title.
The Mariners took 17 wrestlers to the tournament, and placed 12 in the top six. Homer Head Coach Chris Perk said his team is at “nearly full strength.”
Calvin Johnson, 113 pounds, won two matches before a tough loss in the finals to No. 2-ranked Gage Hoffman from Bethel. Johnson, who was pinned by Hoffman a week earlier, lasted three periods and scored a takedown in the second, before falling 4-10. Perk said Johnson should hold on to his No. 3-ranking, despite the loss.
Freshman Jaime Rios, 120 pounds, had what Coach Perk called “one of the biggest victories of the tournament” on Friday against Houston’s Jacob Mcanulty. Rios defeated the Houston wrestler in front of a packed Hawk student body.
“The gym was rockin’ with the match tied at 2 going into the third period,” Perk said. “Rios was able to ride Mcanulty for the third period and nearly turned him with an arm bar.”
Perk said Mcanulty nearly escaped twice before Rios was able to turn him to his back and score two near-fall points in the final five seconds to win 4-2.
In the finals, Rios lost 0-7 to No. 2-ranked Aaron Drake from Houston.
Rios’ brother Danny, who wrestles at 195 pounds, also advanced to the finals by pinning two opponents in the first period. Rios struggled against Nikiski’s No. 1-ranked Luke Johnson in the finals, and succumbed to his double-bar arm and was pinned in the first period.
Voznesenka’s Gavril Kalugin was third at 132 pounds.
After an opening-round loss to No. 1-seeded Gavin Maslin from Glennallen, Mariner Jadzia Martin went on to win two matches to earn a third-place finish in the 98-pound weight class.
Perk said she “dominated” Kavan Weinberger-Desr from Houston with a 12-0 win.
Teammate Martin Welty finished fifth at 98 pounds.
“Welty’s pin of Alhrik Schommer from Grace was one of the highlights of the whole tourney,” Perk said. “He was losing 10-8, but was able to come back and pin Schommer in the third period with a half nelson.”
Four Mariners placed fourth in the tourney. Wrestling at 145 pounds, Dakota Alward fell just short of qualifying for the finals in an extremely close match against No. 6-ranked Brain Allen of Valdez.
“Alward had Allen on his back at the end of the first period, but couldn’t pin him as time ran out,” Perk explained. “He was leading 6-5 in the second period, before Allen scored a reversal and held on through the third period for the 7-6 win.”
Pedro Ochoa, 152 pounds, went 4-2 in his first weekend of wrestling. His only losses came at the hands of top-3 ranked wrestlers.
Ravi Cavasos and Jordan Reynolds placed fourth at 126 and 195 pounds, respectively.
Mariner senior David Jack Woo took fifth place at 138 pounds, picking up four wins in a “very competitive” weight class. His two losses were both to top-5 ranked wrestlers.
“I really think I could have done a lot better,” Woo said of his performance at the tourney. “As a team, we could have been a lot more focused and intense.”
Wrestling at 220 pounds, Heather Harrington pinned Logan Hollie of Houston five minutes into the first round. She nearly advanced to the finals, before suffering a tough 6-10 loss to Valin Smyth of Hutchison.
“Harrington battled tough all weekend, fighting off her back and pushing herself to the limit,” Perk said.
She ended up placing sixth overall, as Hollie pinned Harrington in a rematch at the end of the day.
Julian Richburg and Timmy Woo both won one match at 132 pounds, while Andrew Doughty scored a pin at 145 pounds.
Homer will battle in a 16-team dual tournament at Nikiski this upcoming weekend. Matches begin at 2:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m., Saturday. The Mariners’ final home meet of the year will be Tuesday, Nov. 19, against Soldotna.
The 6 p.m. contest at Alice Witte Gymnasium, is the final chance to see Homer’s five seniors compete at home. In addition to Senior Night activities, the Mariner Wrestling Program will also induct a former wrestler into the Mariner Wrestling Hall of Fame at 5:30 p.m.
The Altercation in Houston
106 pounds: Brant, major decision over Titus,
113: Hoffman, Bethel, defeated Johnson, 10-4;
120: Drake, Houston, defeated J. Rios, 7-0;
195: Johnson, Nikiski pinned D. Rios, 1:13.
98 pounds: J. Martin, major decision over
Weinberger-Desroches, Houston, 12-0;
145: Smith, Valdez, technical fall over Alward, 16-0;
152: Radmer, Houston, pinned P. Ochoa, 5:59;
195: Chikoyak, Houston, pinned Reynolds, 1:12.
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