By McKibben Jackinsky
Before Christmas Day is over, the Homer High School Mariner basketball teams — boys and girls — were scheduled to head to Ketchikan for the Clark Cochrane Christmas Classic, Dec. 27-29.
“When everyone is on winter break, the varsity will be going to Ketchikan,” said Mark Casseri, head coach for the boys team. “But it’s a great tournament. The kids will get a lot of basketball in.”
Lack of snow for training early in the season hasn’t slowed down Homer Mariner cross country skiers Brian Rowe and Aspen Daigle. In the Candy Cane Scramble Dec. 19, with skiers from Kenai Central, Skyview, Soldotna and Homer competing, Rowe took first in the boys competition and Daigle took first in the girls race.
“(Daigle) and (Rowe) are very hard-workers and super fit,” said Homer Head Coach Eric Groth. “They skied great, smart races.”
Back on the road after claiming first place in the three-day Christmas Round Robin at Big Lake last weekend, the Homer Mariners hockey team found the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears to be doing anything but hibernating.
Playing at Juneau’s Treadwell Arena, the Crimson Bears claimed a 4-1 victory over the Mariners on Friday.
On the heels of a fourth-place finish at the Mixed 6 state championship games earlier this month, the Nikolaevsk Warriors are jumping into basketball action with both feet. At the Cook Inlet Classic, held at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Dec. 19-21, the girls team took first place.
They squeaked by the Cook Inlet Academy Eagles on Thursday with a 27-26 win. They continued their march toward victory Friday, with a 51-7 win over the Ninilchik Wolverines. Saturday, the Warriors secured the championship by defeating Yakutat 31-22.
The Mariner girls and boys JV basketball teams took first place in the Lumen Christi basketball tournament in Anchorage last week.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” said Mark Casseri, head coach of the boys team.
Willow Cabe, assistant coach for the girls team, filled in for Head Coach Connie Akers, who was ill, but keeping a close eye on the results.
“(Cabe) wrote that the girls played really well, she was happy with their teamwork and their defense was very intense,” said Akers.
The public had an opportunity to “Meet the Mariners” last week, with introductions of both the boys and girls basketball teams, drill demonstrations, a $5 soup-and-bread dinner and a silent and call-out dessert auction benefiting the boys team. According to Head Coach Mark Casseri of the boys team, more than $2,500 was made in the one-night event.
The Mariner girls were on the court Monday afternoon, facing the Ninilchik Wolverine girls team. Not an official game, the scrimmage ended with an unofficial score of 46 Mariners, 19 Wolverines.
By McKibben Jackinsky
With a first-place finish in the 2013 Denali Conference Mixed 6 Tournament Dec. 5-6, the Nikolaevsk Warriors got their first shot at the state title at the championships Dec. 12-14. They did themselves and Coach Bea Klaich proud at the games played at Dimond High in Anchorage, coming home with fourth place, the title of “best sportsmanship” team and with two players named to the all-tournament team.
Voznesenka’s one-man wrestling force, Gavril Kalugin, headed to the Alaska School Athletic Association’s 123A State Championships at Anchorage Christian School in Anchorage Dec. 13-14. Battling a shoulder injury most of the season, Kalugin, 132, lost by a fall in 1:57 to Roger Miller of Wrangell High School in the championship round one. In the consolation round one, Kalugin lost in a 6-2 decision to Trevor Norris of Valdez.
The look on Senior Captain Pedro Ochoa’s face said it all after he beat Kotzebue’s Ben Phillips 5-4 and earned a top six finish at the Small Schools State Wrestling Tournament at ACS last weekend. Ochoa built a five-point lead, held on as the last second ended and then leapt into Coach Perk’s arm as tears of happiness poured from his eyes.
Ochoa, who entered the tournament unseeded, lost his first round match to Ryan Radmer of Houston, the eventual runner-up at the weight class. Ochoa then went on to win three in a row and ended up placing fifth overall.
With snow finally covering the ground, Homer High School Mariner skiers headed north for the two-day Lynx Loppett, one of the biggest Nordic skiing events in the state.
“It was great to be on snow once again,” said Head Coach Eric Groth. “We were having such a hard time even being able to ski, that we were all very happy we could ski.”
Snow on top of the season’s accumulation of ice, however, didn’t make for the best conditions at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park.
Playing at the Big Lake Lions Recreation and Community Center, the Homer High School Mariner hockey team claimed first place in last week’s three-day, four-team “Christmas Round Robin.”
“It was a good thing, a good feather in their cap going into the holidays,” Head Coach John Carlin said of the Mariners’ victory.
Figure skaters young and old took over the Kevin Bell Arena on Sunday afternoon. With cameras flashing and fans applauding, the skaters showed off the moves they’ve been learning, thanks to weSKATE manager Andrea Stineff; coaches Megan Magee, McKinzie Parker and Natalie Betley; and full-time helper Priscilla Andrade.
“The weSKATE program under the ISI (International Skating Institute) umbrella began this September 2013,” said Stineff. “We currently have 44 registered skaters.”
The Mariner hockey team blazed through three games in the last week, with a 7-1 loss to Wasilla on Friday, a 3-3 tie in action with Palmer on Saturday, both games played in Homer, and, in a rematch against the Kenai Kardinals on Tuesday, a 5-3 loss.
Claiming first place in the Region II Denali Conference Tournament held in Nikolaevsk last weekend, the Nikolaevsk Mixed 6 team finds itself in new territory.
“The Nikolaevsk kids never lost a set throughout their three tournament matches and they are on their way to their first Mixed 6 state appearance,” said Coach Bea Klaich.
The Homer Glacier Kings Squirt C hockey team, boys and girls ages 9 and 10, took second place in the Homer Holiday Classic Tournament at the Kevin Bell Arena over the weekend. Kenai Girls 12 and under took the championship title. The Homer team is coached by Chris Owen, Travis Larson and Dave Bolin. Back row, from left: Hunter Green, Fiona Hatton, Haylee Owen, Delilah Harris, Rachel Bolin, Kazden Stineff, Dylan McBride, Casey Otis, Terry Gilliland, Micah Williamson. Front, with the trophy: goalie Keegan Strong.
Meet the Homer Mariner boys and girls basketball teams today from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Homer High gym. The evening includes a $5 soup and bread dinner, Homer Middle School boys and girls scrimmages; intros and lineup of the Mariner teams and cheerleaders, drills, competitive scrimmages and dessert auctions.
Voznesenka’s lone wrestler, Gavril Kalugin, 132, placed second and scored 20 team points at the Kachemak Conference Wrestling Championships in Nikiski Dec. 6-7. With a season record of 22-9, Kalugin now heads to state.
All week sophomore Jadzia Martin knew she was going to be ranked No. 1 at the Kachemak Conference Tournament last weekend. She finally believed it when she saw her name at the top of the bracket on Friday in Nikiski. Now, she had the unknown pressure of being the target wrestler in the weight class.
Homer High School Mariners play four at-home games scheduled this month at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena against the following high school teams:
• Dec. 5: Wasilla, 7 p.m.;
• Dec. 6: Palmer, 7 p.m.;
• Dec. 7: Colony, noon;
• Dec. 10: Kenai Central, 7 p.m.
Head Coach John Carlin encourages the public to come cheer for the Mariners. Remember to dress warmly.
By Chris Perk
For the Homer News
The Mariner wrestling team heads to Nikiski this weekend for Kachemak Conference Championships. The Mariners would like a top-three finish as a team and hope for many top-four finishes as individuals.
Top-four finishers qualify for the Small Schools State Meet the following weekend in Anchorage. After two weeks of subpar wrestling, the Mariners will have to dig deep and finish strong.