This weekend, the Mariner Mat Team heads to Nikiski duals in the wake of a stunning victory at the ACS Invitational last week, showing the state of Alaska that they are the team to beat for the Small Schools Championship.
The ACS Invitational is the biggest small-schools shakedown of the year, commonly considered a good preview for the state championship. Homer beat out 42 other teams to clinch the victory with 217.5 points to Bethel’s 203 and Kotzebue’s 192.5.
Last Thursday, the girls dualed Mt. Edgecumbe, who crowned the most Girls State Champions last year. Homer defeated the Braves 30-12. McKenzie Cook, Allison Wells and Heather Harrington all scored pins. Jadzia Martin and Alex Moseley picked up two forfeits. The girls competition has been limited so far, so it was nice to have another team to wrestle with.
On Friday, the Mariners got out to a lead in the team competition with help from all members of the squad. Scoring pins and wins over eight points help build bonus points throughout the tournament. The coaching staff asked the team to work as hard as possible for these bonus points and the team responded. Homer put eight wrestlers into the Semi-Finals.
Three of them pushed through to the finals, where freshman Wayne Newman defeated Thomas Dyment from Bethel 7-6. That win sealed the team victory over the Warriors. Newman scored a hard-earned double leg takedown in the third period.
Joining Newman in the finals were Timmy Woo and Tristen Cook.
Woo had an action-packed match against Craig High School’s Wyatt Patton. Woo scored a beautiful single leg in the second period and added an unsportsmanlike conduct point when Patton got frustrated and unnecessarily pounded Woo in the back of the head.
Patton scored a takedown with about 20 seconds to tie the match, but Woo escaped before time ran out for his second weekend in a row of winning matches in the last 15 seconds.
Cook matched up with senior Spencer Woods from Kotzebue, who won a state title last season. Cook was taken down early, but reversed Woods onto his back. He nearly scored a pin, but Woods got off his back and eventually was able to pin Cook in the second period. Tristen is having a solid season beating everyone else in the weight class handily.
Placing third were Jared Brant and Kyle Wells. Brant defeated the No.1 seed Colten Sieh from Kotzebue. He nailed a takedown early and was able to control the match for a 3-2 victory. His only loss was to eventual champion Aaron Olson from Bethel in double overtime.
Wells’ defeat of Drew Pekar from Bethel was also a big win. The Warriors were making up points when Wells earned a switch while training with only 5 seconds left.
Teddy Croft and Jadin Mann earned fourth place finishes. They both earned four victories over the weekend. Seth Inama, a ninth grader, earned fifth place.
This might be the first time that Homer has ever won this event.
At 6 p.m. today, the Mariner wrestling team will host a tough Kodiak Bears team. The night will feature three match-ups of highly ranked wrestlers for 3A and 4A.