Homer High School’s McKenzie Cook holds her first-place plaque after winning the 2019 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals wrestling tournament for her weight class on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16-17, 2019 in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo by Tammie Cook)

Homer High School’s McKenzie Cook holds her first-place plaque after winning the 2019 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals wrestling tournament for her weight class on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16-17, 2019 in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo by Tammie Cook)

Homer wrestlers shine at national tourney

McKenzie Cook earns first place national wrestling title

Homer’s own McKenzie Cook, a wrestler at Homer High School, took first place in her weight class last week at the 2019 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals held at North Dakota State in Fargo, North Dakota.

She traveled to the tournament along with fellow Mariner wrestler Wayne Newman, who graduated from Homer High School this spring. The following is a recap of the event from Homer High School Athletic Director Chris Perk:

Division II State Champion Wayne Newman attended his second juniors national tourney hosted at the Fargodome in North Dakota. Each year, Fargo is the host of the national tournament for freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling. Over 100 boys populated the 138-pound weight class that Newman competed in.

Newman dropped his first contest to Cade Balestini from Pennsylvania 13-3. He then went on to win three straight matches beating opponents from Washington and Missouri 10-0. Newman used a powerful gut wrench in both of those matches. In his third victory, he trailed Sam Kellem from Iowa 11-10 before executing many roll throughs to earn a 22-11 victory.

Neman’s last match was against Joe Foxen from New York, and was close in the early periods as both wrestlers exchanged leg attacks for takedowns. In the end, Foxen earned a 15-5 victory. Newman was eliminated in the top 32 of his bracket.

He’s now headed to Oregon State University, Corvallis, to compete for the Beavers as a college athlete. Newman also wrestled in the Greco Roman style tournament, winning four matches and avenging his loss to Foxen. Newman placed in the top 24.

McKenzie Cook, a four-time Alaska statewide high school champion and multiple-time winner of All American Honors, added another one to her trophy case over the weekend by taking first place in her weight class at the national competition. She competed in the junior girls 144-pound weight class against 37 other girls.

She was ranked No. 4 in the bracket and earned technical falls (1o point spread) or touch falls in her first three matches. Using a solid two-on-one series for most of the tourney, Cook was able to shut down many of her opponents’ scoring opportunities. She pinned Krista Warren, a state champion from Washington, in two minutes and 40 seconds.

Cook’s semi final match was against Ivy Kraught, also from Washington, who placed third during the high school season. Cook scored a takedown and three push outs to earn a solid 5-1 victory, putting her in the championship match against Jerzie Estrada from Colorado. Estrada had previously defeated Cook in April at the Western Regional competition in Las Vegas, 14-2.

Cook wrestled very aggressively, hitting a fireman’s carry 20 seconds into the match. She put Estrada on her back and after Estrada fought her off, Cook hit a solid pancake head lock and had Estrada in danger for another 30 seconds to build a 6-0 lead. In the second period, Estrada defended a shot of Cook’s to pick up a few points, but the lead was too much as Cook earned the national title with an 8-7 victory over the No. 2 ranked female competitor at 152 pounds.

More in Sports

Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion
Sam Spencer, Erik Route and Josiah Brown, all of Cooper Landing, near the finish of Sunday’s 20-kilometer classic race at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna.
Tour of Tsalteshi sees record turnout

In its fourth year at the trail system just outside of Soldotna, the Tour had record turnout of 136 finishers.

Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A great gray owl perches in an aspen tree on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Refuge notebook: Winter is the season for finding great gray owls

Winter can be a fantastic time to observe owls. Owls can be… Continue reading

The Homer Mariner hockey team celebrates back to back Division II state hockey championship wins, after defeating the Palmer Moose 3-2 in overtime Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey/Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman)
Mariners defend Division II state hockey title

Homer avenges 2019 loss by topping Palmer 2-3 in overtime

Homer's Hannah Hatfield looks for a teammate to pass to under pressure from Nikiski's Avery White during a Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 basketball game at the Alice Witte Gymnasium in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer hoops sweep Nikiski; boys fall to Seward

Homer girls sail through Thursday and Saturday games

Homer's Zoe Stonorov skies the girls 5-kilometer classic race on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 at the Lookout Mountain Trails near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Debbie Delker)
Sports in brief

General announcements All spectators must be on the player guest list. Two… Continue reading

A day on Kachemak Bay. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Water taxi talking

Reporters spend a lot of time talking to people: people they don’t… Continue reading

Salt marshes are important food sources for brown bears. As we see an earlier start to the growing season or increased plant growth, bears will likely benefit from them even more. (Photo by Michael Hannam/NPS)
Refuge Notebook: Could bears benefit from changing coastal marshes?

Flying over the Cook Inlet coast, you can look down and see… Continue reading

Phil Basargin 5-year-old Maxim Basargin around the ice Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 during the Skate the Lake event on Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. The free skating event was hosted for the community by the Homer Hockey Association. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homerites take to the lake in skate event

Homer Hockey Association hosted Skate the Lake for the community

A red-breasted nuthatch looks over its shoulder between bites of suet in a hanging-cage style feeder. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Social distancing is not just for humans

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that hits our news feeds often.… Continue reading

Most Read