The Homer Mariner wrestlers competed for the first time this weekend at Seward’s King of the Mountain. The first four rounds were round-robin team competition. Homer finished with wins over Anchorage Christian School and Seward, but lost to Houston and Nikiski.
The dual against Seward was important because as a team, the word “squeeze” was yelled every time wrestlers put opponents on their backs. Homer’s goal was to “silence the squeeze” and that’s exactly what happened. Only in one match did Homer fall to their backs. The team won 58-24.
Sean Blaine and Julian Richburg wrestled really tough in their two losses, but never gave up.
The “Fearsome Foursome of Sophomores” — Jared Brant, 120; Ravi Cavasos, 126; Jaime Rios, 132; and Timmy Woo, 138 — won matches by pin or technical fall. They are the heart of the line up.
Homer’s loss to Houston 42-40 was very close, with Homer giving them 12 points in forfeits. In the final round, it pitted the individual best performances in each pool against the other pool. Mariners Woo, Rios and senior Antonio Ochoa, 170, made it to the finals. Each Mariner lost in the finals.
Woo came the closest to winning. He was in a tight battle all match with Chase Smith of Valdez. Smith led until the remaining 12 seconds when Woo scored with his patented escape and takedown to lead 7-6. Then Woo somehow slipped off the hips on the next restart and fell to his back, giving Smith four points and the victory.
Brant fought back to a third-place finish after a loss to ACS’s Shannon Lemay. Freshman Tristan Cook, 160, placed third and Kyle Wells fourth at 152. Both Cook and Wells grappled hard over the weekend and look poised for many wins this season.
Julian Richburg, a senior, placed fourth. He has improved a lot from last season. Newcomers Alex Moseley, 98, took second and Sean Blaine fourth at 106.
This week the team heads to Anchorage Christian School for a big individual tournament. Almost all of the teams in the state participate, making it one of the two toughest tournaments during the regular season. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. both days.
Chris Perk is the head coach of the Homer Mariners wrestling team. He also is Homer High School’s athletic director.