• Homer places 3 wrestlers in top 6 of 42-team tourney
By Sean Pearson
Homer senior Calvin Johnson, 113 pounds, led the way for the Mariners with four pins and an overall third-place finish at the Lime Solar ACS Invitational over the weekend. Wrestling at 113 pounds, Johnson’s only loss of the competition came in the semi-finals against Bethel’s Gage Hoffman. Hoffman beat Johnson last year in the State semi finals.
“I was pleased with how I wrestled, but I know I could do better,” Johnson said of his performance.
After a successful weekend in Seward, where they wrestled multiple duals, the Mariners hit the road to Anchorage for the small school’s largest tourney of the season. A total of 42 teams competed at Anchorage Christian School, which will also host the State Wrestling Tournament in mid-December.
Homer scored 98 points and tied for seventh place with Mount Edgecumbe. The Bethel Warriors, three-time defending State Champions, took top honors.
After getting pinned by Hoffman early in the first period, Johnson came back to pin his opponent in the third-place bracket in just over one minute. Johnson said he hopes to get a rematch against Hoffman this weekend in Houston.
Mariner freshman Jared Brant won two matches en route to a fifth-place finish at 106 pounds. He beat Barrow’s J. Nelson with a 12-3 major decision.
Homer Head Coach Chris Perk said Brant’s loss to eventual champion Alex Gray from Nome, was hard-fought.
“Jared put Gray on his back and scored a reversal, but it wasn’t enough,” he explained. “But he didn’t get pinned, and logged valuable minutes on the mat.”
Jadzia Martin and Martin Welty each picked up two wins at 98 pounds. Martin pinned Sig Decker from Wrangel, who was the No. 6 seed in the state. Welty picked up his first win of the season by pinning Eielson’s Caitlin Garcia.
Freshmen Ravi Cavasos and Jaime Rios each picked up two wins at 120 pounds. Cavasos had a close 0-4 loss to Bethel’s Avery Chiklak, who went on to place third overall. Rios lost two matches, but didn’t get pinned.
“Mat time is so valuable in these big tournaments,” Perk said. “Each wrestler can really find out what his or her areas of weakness are.”
Freshman Timmy Woo, who leads the team with 15 wins at 132 pounds, won three matches, including a 7-6 victory over Elijah Norton from Kotzebue. Woo beat Norton 11-10 last weekend.
“These two are really battling it out,” Perk said of the match-up. “Timmy had to put Norton to his back in the final 30 seconds to score enough points for the win.”
Perk said the team was without seniors Pedro Ochoa, 152 pounds, Harley Wells, 145 pounds, and David Jack Woo, 138 pounds, due to variety of reasons.
Andrew Doughty, 145 pounds, Dakota Alward, 152 pounds and Antonio Ochoa, 160 pounds, all won at least one match. Alward pinned Nome’s Josh Gologergen in the first round.
Danny Rios, wrestling at 195 pounds, scored two pins. One of his pins came in a season-record 12 seconds. Perk said Rios took his opponent down to his back with a leg attack and pinned him quickly.
Last week’s “King of the Mountain,” Jordan Reynolds, lost to competitors from Metlakatla and Mt. Edgecumbe. He also feel to Kotzebue’s Stephen Hyatt; a wrestler he beat last weekend.
Reynolds, who is wrestling up a weight class, did pick up two pins en route to his sixth-place finish. Perk said Reynolds just wasn’t able to keep up with the extra weight he was giving up this tournament.
“This is the best placement of a Homer team in many years,” Perk said. “A top-10 finish at State is very possible for this young squad.”
Voznesenka’s Gavriel Kalugin won his fifth-place match in the 132-pound division with an 8-5 decision over Aucha Johnson of Unalaska.
This week, Mariner wrestlers leave town again to travel to Houston for a 12-team tournament.
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