The Mariner Mat Team held scrimmage matches against wrestlers from Nikiski and Voznesenka on Saturday. Homer’s 13 wrestlers won the majority of the matches; however, they were all unofficial.
Timmy Woo, a sophomore 138-pounder, won both of his matches against two tough Nikiski competitors. Woo, who placed sixth at state last year as a freshman, looks to compete for a state championship. He has an amazing engine and easily out works his opponents. Woo just never stops moving.
Other returning sophomores looking to do well are Jared Brant, 120; Ravi Cavasos, 126; and Jaime Rios, 132. Rios and Woo are captains of this young squad. Brant is a returning place winner and Cavasos and Rios both are state qualifiers.
Heather Harrington also is back at 195. Also looking good is junior Jadzia Martin, 106, last year’s conference champion.
The two seniors on the team are Antonio Ochoa, 170, and Julian Richburg, 145. Richburg broke his hand last season and missed the last month. He is very focused this year and looks to earn a state berth. Ochoa also has matured. He had a couple of pass-by’s on Saturday against a much larger Nikiski opponent.
A bunch of the freshman athletes who played football have chosen to not wrestle. However, newcomers Matthew Pollack, 182, a junior, and six freshman will help fill in weight classes lost by four graduating seniors and six members of the team who chose not to come out. Pollack is really strong and will win many matches on his brute strength and ability to wrestle with no fear.
Adding to the solid-core freshmen are Tristan Cook, 160; Kyle Wells, 152; Tyler Johnson, 132; and Chris Cudabeck, 138. They have lots of freestyle and collegiate experience.
Sean Blaine, 98, and Richard Brock, 220, are new to the sport, but show much potential. Blaine won both his matches against his competition from Nikiski.
Team goals this season are to compete for a region title. Nikiski will gain about 15 players after their football season is over. They are in the state championship finals for small schools. Homer will hopefully have a top-5 finish. Last year, the team finished seventh with five state place winners.
The team will be hosting two fundraisers this weekend. On Friday, the team will put on a wrestling camp for youth. Ages 5–8 is 9:30 a.m.-noon in the mat room, fee is $15. Ages 9–14 is 9:30 a.m.-noon and 12:30-3:30 p.m. The fee is $25.
On Saturday, the team is inviting the community to a Fiesta Night at the Elks, 5–8 p.m., featuring all-you-can-eat tacos and Mexican food. The price is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Some nice gifts will be auctioned off. Come ready for some early Christmas shopping.
The team will be sending four representatives down to the Reno Tournament of Champions the week after the state meet.
Chris Perk coaches the Homer High School wrestling team and is the school’s activities director.