Popeye wrestler Cole Bernier looks for an opportunity to shoot against his opponent at the Steve Wolfe Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Homer High School over the weekend. - Courtesy Photo, Storm Cavasos

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Preston Szymoniak squares off against his opponent at Saturday's wrestling tournament at Homer High School. Szymoniak finished third in the PreBantam, 45-50 pound weight class. The tourney was held as a memorial to former coach Steve Wolfe, who spent years working with wrestlers all over the state and built the wrestling program in Voznesenka. - Courtesy Photo, Storm Cavasos

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Wrestlers haul in hardware

March 16th 8:07 pm | Sean Pearson Print this article   Email this article  

Athletes honor Homer wrestling master Steve Wolfe in annual tourney

Wrestlers from across the Peninsula, and as far away as the MatSu Valley, descended upon Homer High School over the weekend for the Steve Wolfe Memorial Freestyle Wrestling Tournament.

Wolfe coached wrestling all over the state, eventually settling in Homer. He started the Popeye Wrestling Club in 1979, and coached the Homer High School Mariners to state championships in 1982, 1985 and 1986. Wolfe started a wrestling program in Voznesenka that continues to be successful, and coached Alaska's wrestling team for the 2006, 2008 and 2010 Arctic Winter Games.

He was named National Wrestling Coach of the year in 1986, inducted into the Homer High Hall of Fame in 1987, inducted into the Alaska State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1988, named State Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2010, nominated National Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2011 and inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.

Wolfe died Jan. 5, 2014 from Guillain-Barre's syndrome.

Wolfe's legacy continues through the hundreds of kids who have participated in the Popeye program — and this year was no different. Kids as small as 44 pounds and as big as 219 competed in the annual tournament that filled Alice Witte Gymnasium and overflowed into the school's mat room upstairs.

Coach Bubba Wells and his Anchor King crew turned out in force, and wrestled their way to 22 top-three finishes — five of them in first place.

Anchor King Justus Grimes defeated four opponents to win the intermediate 49-54 pound weight class. Grimes won two of his matches by technical fall, pinned one opponent in 32 seconds, and then dropped the final one in 21 seconds to win the division.

Wrestling in the schoolboy 60-75 weight class, Michael Ritter pinned two Mid Valley wrestlers to take the top spot in his division, while teammate Seth Inama finished first in the junior 116-124 weight class. Tristen Cook dominated the 190-219 division, beating two opponents by technical fall, and pinning the third in one minute, 16 seconds. Levi King won the junior 180-189 weight class.

For their efforts, the Anchor Kings picked up five first-place finishes, nine second-place finishes and eight third-place nods.

The host Popeye team also raked in several top-three finishes, finishing with a total of 15. Zoe Adkins took first in the schoolgirl division, while former Homer High Standout wrestler and high school State Champion Jared Brant mowed through his junior 148-160 weight class rivals to finish first.

Popeyes earned two first-place finishes, seven second place and six thirds.

 

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