The Homer Mariner Wrestling team competed in the Nikiski Top Dog Tournament over the weekend. Wrestling from late Friday afternoon into Saturday morning, the Mariners finished fifth place against 26 other teams from across the state.
Taking first place was Eagle River with 279.5 points, followed by Soldotna in second with 278 points, the home Nikiski Bulldogs in third with 220.5 points, and Service in fourth with 202 points, just ahead of Homer’s fifth-place effort of 194.5 points.
Dylan Hooper, an athletic director and assistant wrestling coach for Nikiski, said the tournament format keeps drawing more and more teams.
Hooper said the brackets wrestle down to 16th place. He said at most tournaments, a lot of wrestlers go two and out. By wrestling to 16th place, inexperienced wrestlers get more matches to develop. He said many wrestlers got their first win wrestling for, say, 13th place.
“The format is really special,” Hooper said. “It draws a lot of teams and they keep coming back.”
This year, Hooper said there were about 350 wrestlers spread across the 27 teams listed on the team scores. He also said the tournament went from 44 girls last year to 68 girls this year. Hooper said the tournament will add a girls team award next season.
The athletic director said about 800 matches were wrestled Friday and Saturday, with four mats running for most of the time.
The Mariners held their own, with first-place finishes from Brayden Woods at 152 (won championship match by decision, 11-6), Saoirse Cook at varsity girls 132 (won championship match by decision, 4-3), and Roane Cook at varsity girls 185 (won championship match by pinfall in 0:38). Homer also had a second-place finish from Paul Minke at 140, and third-place finishes from Justus Grimes at 135 and Bryce Glidden at varsity girls 165.
Homer rounded out the tourney with fourth-place finishes from Heather Shae at varsity girls 107 and Ryan Alcorta at varsity girls 145, sixth-place finishes from Luca Fitzpatrick at 103 and Max Herndon at 135, an eighth-place finish from Zayne Adams at 140, an 11th-place finish from Landyn Woods at 130, and a 14th-place finish from Jadon Weisser at 119.
The Mariners return to the mat this weekend with the Mountain City Christian Tournament on Friday.
Mariner’s Top Dog Tourney Results: Fifth Place (194.5 Points)
Heather Shae 107, 4th place; Saoirse Cook 132, 1st place; Ryan Alcorta 145, 4th place; Bryce Glidden 165, 3rd place; Roane Cook 185, 1st place
Luca Fitzpatrick 103, 6th place; Jadon Weisser 119, 14th place; Landyn Woods 130, 11th place
Max Herndon 135, 6th place; Justus Grimes 135, 3rd place; Zayne Adams 140, 8th place; Paul Minke 140, 2nd place; Brayden Woods 152, 1st place.