• Homer finishes sixth out of 16 teams at Nikiski Duals
By Sean Pearson
Mariner wrestlers Jadzia Martin, Jared Brant and Calvin Johnson combined for a record of 21 wins and just one loss at the Nikiski Duals over the weekend. Each won their weight class, and Martin now has established herself as the No. 1-ranked 98 pound wrestler in the conference.
Brant took the crown at 106 pounds, while Johnson placed first at 113. The team competed in seven duals overall, leaving coaches Chris Perk and Bubba Wells with little voice left.
“Luckily, our wrestlers’ actions spoke for themselves all weekend,” Perk said.
Homer opened Friday night with a win over Soldotna. The Mariners’ only loss was a forfeit at 285 pounds, and wins by pin and SoHI forfeits accumulated a total of 84 points for Homer.
Perk said one of the biggest highlights of the dual was David Jack Woo’s come-from-behind victory at 138 pounds against Eli Damon.
“Damon had taken David Jack down to start the match,” Perk explained. “But, in the second period, David Jack was able to lock up his favorite move — a cross-face cradle — and earn the pin.”
As with most 4A schools, this was the Stars’ first competition of the season, and they were missing some weights due to lack of practices and grade issues.
The Mariners then faced Palmer, who placed fourth in State at 4A last year. The Moose were a bit more experienced than the Mariners, downing Homer 57-24.
The M’s kicked off Saturday action against Houston, who had tied Palmer the night before.
“The match was close, and it really felt like the Hawks were gaining an edge,” Perk said. “That was until Timmy Woo pinned Caleb Wilbur at 132 pounds.”
Wilbur, who was a finalist last weekend at Houston’s “Altercation,” was ahead of Woo most of the match.
“Timmy kept it close, and was able to tire out Wilbur and score a pin with only seven seconds left on the clock,” Perk said.
Homer went on to win 49-28.
Next up for the Mariners was No. 1-seeded Colony, a 4A team who placed fifth in the State last year.
“They were very aggressive,” Perk said. “They utilized crisp leg attacks to take down the Mariners for much of the match.”
The Knights, who outscored many of their opponents, beat Homer 64-9.
Jared Brant, who defeated senior Scott Samson, used a bit of strategy to pick up his win.
“With the match tied and about 30 second left, Jared let Samson go to trail by one point,” Perk explained.
The decision paid off, as Brant was able to take Samson down to his back and pick up two back points to earn a 7-3 victory.
The loss put the M’s on the back side of the bracket and pitted them against the second team from Colony. Homer was able to use three forfeits and a decision by Pedro Ochoa at 160 pounds, to win 45-32. “Pedro was wrestling Chris Ray, who placed fourth at 4A State last year,” Perk said. “It was close the whole match. Pedro scored many takedowns, only to have Ray reverse him to his back twice.”
When Ochoa changed his game plan and just did takedowns, he was able to score a takedown at the last second and win 12-11.
Next up for Homer was Seward, where Jadzia Martin, who won all her matches over the weekend, had her closest bout of the day.
Seward’s Sully Hauze, who never shot the entire match, was able to score one takedown on a failed shot attempt by Martin. Both wrestlers scored a reversal against each other and an escape, and the match went into overtime tied 5-5. Perk said Martin used an arm spin to score a takedown in overtime to earn the win.
In another exciting Seahawk match-up, 152-pound Mariner Dakota Alward was trailing by seven points, before earning a dramatic pin with only 10 second remaining.
“Matt Morris was dominating Alward for all of five minutes, before Alward used an aggressive double-leg takedown,” Perk said. “The move put Morris on his back, where Alward held him for the pin.”
Homer won 53-28 for their second dual victory in the season over Seward.
The final match of the day was against the 4A Kodiak Bears for fifth place. Second-string wrestler Wyatt Lewis, 145 pounds, stepped up to fill in for an injured Andrew Doughty.
“Lewis scored a HI-C turn the corner, but was reversed by Kodiak’s Sean Dayton,” Perk said. “This happened a few more times until a visibly tired Dayton went to his back twice.”
Lewis scored points to tie the score at 10, and Perk said it looked as if he had scored two more near-fall points with seconds remaining. Dayton escaped the hold and earned an escape point, but the official did not confirm the near-fall, and Dayton picked up the 11-10 win.
Jordan Reynolds, wrestling at 182 pounds for the first time this season, won four matches over the weekend, and pinned Kodiak’s Jacob Quellette in the first period. However, the Bears were able to pick up wins in the middle weight divisions, and beat Homer 45-33.
“We are happy to have wrestled seven matches and come away with minimal injuries and lot of mat time,” Perk explained. “This young squad is really making a mark on the competition. We took some licks against the solid 4A schools, but showed we can wrestle at the top level in our division and give Skyview a run for the Conference Championship.”
Senior Calvin Johnson, who also went undefeated over the weekend, said he is feeling great, and is confident his team can bring home the Region Championship title.
Homer hosted Soldotna last night for its only home dual of the season, but results were not available by press time.
The M’s travel to Palmer this weekend for the biggest tournament in the state. Perk said many of the toughest 4A and small schools will be in attendance. A JV tournament will also be held at Colony on Saturday.
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