Homer defends Kachemak Conference title for 5th year

The Homer wrestling dynasty rolled on Saturday with a fifth straight Kachemak Conference team championship at host Joe Redington Jr/Sr High School.

The Homer girls also flaunted their power with a second straight girls team title, adding to the Mariners expanding trophy case.

The Kachemak boys crown for Homer sets up the Mariners for a title run next weekend at the Division II state meet, where Homer will be gunning for its third state crown in five years. The conference meet qualifies the top three wrestlers from each weight class to state.

Saturday at Redington, the team race was tight, as Homer escaped with a narrow margin of victory of 179 points to Redington’s 176. Homer assistant coach Chris Perk said the team lost points in the third- and fifth-place rounds, where Redington was able to gain control, but a handful of pins in the championship matches helped give Homer the margin it needed.

“It was just the little things,” Perk said. “Those pin points add up … overall they did what they needed to do.”

Grace Christian was third with 162.5 points and Nikiski took fourth with 87 points, nipping Kenai Central, which settled for fifth with 86.

Homer picked up five individual championships — junior Austin Cline at 119 pounds, freshman Russell Nyvall at 125, senior Mose Hayes at 152, senior Anthony Kalugin at 189 and sophomore Alex Hicks at 285.

Hayes’ region title was the second of his high school career, of which he has made the finals all four years. All other Homer champs snagged their first of their careers.

Among those, Perk said Kalugin came on strong and tore through the 189-pound class this weekend.

“He’s just crushing people,” Perk said. “His takedowns look sharp and he used his patented half and a wrist (takedown) in the final.”

Also in a final, senior Ryan Hicks took second at 215 pounds.

The Homer girls took their second straight Kachemak Conference title with 87 points, better than the 46 of runner-up Redington. Seward took fourth in the girls team race with 22 points.

The night was highlighted by Homer junior Sadie Blake receiving Girls Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. Perk praised Blake, the 125-pound champion, for leading a team that is taking eight of its nine girls grapplers to state next weekend.

“The girls squad looked really sharp. We went out and pinned a lot in the first period,” Perk said. “We have a lot of dominance in the conference, which helped us tune up for next weekend.”

The Mariners got girls champions in freshman Cecilia Fitzpatrick at 103 pounds, senior Autumn Daigle at 112, senior Mina Cavasos at 119, Blake at 125 and senior Rayana Vigil at 189.

The Nikiski Bulldogs didn’t finish with any conference champions, but got three wrestlers in the finals, including sophomore Ayden Fleming at 125 pounds, junior Jaryn Zoda at 130 and junior Koleman McCaughey at 171. All three finished second.

Kenai Central picked up two conference champions in Tucker Vann at 171 pounds and Rocky Sherbahn at 215, both of them winning their first region title. Vann’s title came on a 13-2 major decision over McCaughey of Nikiski, a friendly peninsula rival.

The Kardinals also got a second-place result at 112 pounds from sophomore Talon Whicker, who lost a 5-3 sudden victory decision. Talon’s freshman brother Owen finished third in the category with a pin.

Seward finished eighth in the team race with 41 points and got a conference championship from junior Thomas Ooka at 145 pounds. It was Ooka’s first region title in his career, and he used a pin on Redington’s Jake McDermitt to do it.

Kachemak Conference Championships

Team scores — 1. Homer 179; 2. Redington 176; 3. Grace Christian 162.5; 4. Nikiski 87; 5. Kenai 856; 6. Houston 62; 7. Anchorage Christian 54.5; 8. Seward 41; 9. Cordova 9.

Championship finals

103 — P. Metcalf, Red p. J. Dick, Red 2:57; 112 — J. Harris, Gra d. T. Whicker, Ken 5-3 SV; 119 — A., Cline, Hom d. A. Snow, Gra 8-1; 125 — R. Nyvall, Hom p. A. Fleming, Nik 1:28; 130 — B. Postishek, Red p. J. Zoda, Nik 2:36; 135 — C. Severance, Red p. V. Mohoney, Hou 4:00; 140 — J. Merriner, Gra d. L. Hofacker, ACS 7-0; 145 — T. Ooka, Sew p. J. McDermitt, Red 3:00; 152 — M. Hayes, Hom t.f. L. Crotts, Gra 20-3; 160 — A. Beveridge, Gra p. J. Spaulding, Red 5:34; 171 — T. Vann, Ken m.d. K. McCaughey, Nik 13-2; 189 — A. Kalugin, Hom p. S. Norquist, Hou 0:42; 215 — R. Sherbahn, Ken p. R. Hicks, Hom 2:43; 285 — A. Hicks, Hom p. G. Trotter, Gra 1:38.

Third-place matches

103 — R. Seyer, Hou p. Z. Rodman, Ken 2:21; 112 — O. Whicker, Ken p. T. Major, Hou 2:43; 119 — R. Perez, Ken d. J. Yourkoski, Nik 5-3; 125 — N. Clark, Red p. E. Elliott, Gra 0:51; 130 — M. Bohlman, ACS d. A. Gaethle, Ken 6-1; 135 — A. Reutov, Hom d. O. Ford, Gra 5-3; 140 — G. Metcalf, Red d. N. Kalugin, Hom 1:25; 145 — D. Williams, Red d. L. Counts, Hom 6-5; 152 — D. Harris, Gra p. H. Stokes, Red 3:37; 160 — S. Grenier, Nik p. S. Scott, ACS 3:54; 171 — P. Jones, Red p. E. Knapp, Hom 2:59; 189 — J. Tanner, Gra d. J. Garcia, Red 2:17; 215 — J. Graceson, ACS won by fft; 285 — M. Lastimosa, Sew p. K. Caldwell, Red 0:11.