• Johnson goes 4-2 at 113 pounds; Ochoa upsets No. 3-ranked Radmer
By Sean Pearson
Mariner wrestler Calvin Johnson went 4-2 over the weekend to place fourth in the mammoth Lancer Smith Wrestling Tournament in Palmer. Wrestling at 113 pounds, Johnson was the highest finisher for Homer; his wins netted 32.5 points toward the Mariners’ team total.
“I am feeling great,” Johnson said. “And the team feels like we can bring home the Regional Championship.”
Johnson and his teammates competed against neighboring teams as close as Soldotna and Nikiski, and as far away as Nome and Quinhagak. Even North Pole made an appearance.
“There were almost 50 kids in my weight class,” said senior David Jack Woo. “I woke up at 6 a.m., but didn’t actually wrestle until about 2:30 p.m. My last match was at 10:30 p.m.”
With both 3A and 4A teams participating in the massive tourney, Woo said the plethora of competition made for a “long and exhausting” weekend.
Wrestling in the 138-pound weight class, Woo finished the tournament with a 2-2 record, earning 12 team points for the M’s.
Pedro Ochoa, who wrestles at 152 pounds and also went 2-2 for the tourney, said the highlight of the competition for him was wrestling Houston’s Ryan Radmer.
Radmer is ranked third in the state for 3A, and had beaten Ochoa twice before.
“The first time we wrestled, he pinned me one second before the match ended,” the Homer senior said. “The second time, we both had bumped up to 160 pounds, and the score was much closer.”
Ochoa still came up short on that occasion, but was having none of it this time.
“In the third series, I got him in the first round and beat him 9-7,” Ochoa said. “It was a big upset.”
Ochoa said he hopes to be ranked at either No. 5 or 6 when akmat.org releases its rankings on Wednesday.
The M’s will compete against teams from Skyview, Soldotna, Seward, Nikiski, Kenai, Voznesenka and Cordova in the Luke Spruill Memorial Tournament at Kenai Central this weekend. And, while the Kards’ tourney happens on a much smaller level, size isn’t everything.
Acoustics in smaller gyms tend to create a louder, more raucous ruckus during meets. Woo, however, said the sound doesn’t bother him.
“When I’m into it, I’m focused on the match,” he explained. “A lot of times, I can hear coaches shouting out moves. That’s really very helpful.”
Woo said he thinks the ability to stay focused amid the often-overwhelming din in various gyms all comes down to the wrestler, how many people are shouting at him and the intensity of the match.
“Coach Perk’s voice is pretty distinctive,” he said of head coach Chris Perk. “Coach Bubba (Michael Wells) isn’t especially loud, but if he really wants you to hear something, you’ll hear it.”
Saturday’s wrestling starts at 10 a.m. at Kenai Central High School.
Lancer Smith Wrestling Tourney
Calvin Johnson, 113 lbs (4-2)
• Johnson pinned Kinney (Houston), 53 sec.
• Johnson pinned Sturgeon (Wasilla), 1:52.
• Johnson pinned Luff (Eagle River), :30.
• Hutchison (Skyview) tech fall over Johnson, 5:37, 18-2.
• Johnson tech fall over Valdez (Kodiak) 4:00 16-0.
• Glover (South) by decision over Johnson, 4-1.
Jaime Rios, 120, (1-2)
• Caballa (Kodiak) pinned Rios, 3:49.
• Stewman (South) decision over Rios, 7-2.
• Rios pinned Morgan (Delta), 1:29.
Ravi Cavasos, 126, (1-2)
• Juliussen (Grace Christian) pinned Cavasos, :40.
• Cavasos pinned Blatchford (West Valley) :19.
• Dunlap (Eielson) maj. decision over Cavasos, 8-0.
Timmy Woo, 132, (1-2)
• Ezell (Eielson) maj. decision over Woo, 12-2.
• Carstens (Nikiski) decision over Woo, 15-8.
• Woo pinned Burdick (Kenai), 5:08.
David Jack Woo, 138, (2-2)
Woo pinned Nicolai (Quinhagak) 2:58.
Woo by decision over Smith (Nome), 12-6.
Budke (Chugiak) maj. decision over Woo, 10-2.
Myers (Bartlett) decision over Woo, 9-5.
Pedro Ochoa, 152, (2-2)
Johnson (Kotz) decision over Ochoa, 6-2.
Ochoa decision over Radmer (Houston), 9-7.
Ochoa tech fall over Noe (South) 4:53 17-2.
Downing (Valdez) by decision over Ochoa, 9-2.
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