All things seemed just fine, like any other tournament. The final wrestler was about to weigh in, in what looked like a heck of a Grace Grizzly Wrestling tourney in Anchorage.
Most of the Mat-Su Valley, Anchorage, and small school power houses Bethel and Kotzebue were in attendance.
As the bleachers began to shake and then the basketballs trap in the ceiling lights decided to fall to the gym floor, the lights went out and it keep shaking. After a brief “what the heck just happened” moment, (it turned to) “hey, let’s get the lights back on and get this thing going.”
Then a second quake occurred and then it was clear that wrestling was not going to happen last Friday.
Some teams were able to go home — it took Colony seven hours to return to Palmer. Some could not — reports of a major rock slide left the Mariners out of gear and holding steady in a town that was showing damage to many department stores and houses.
Our good friends at Anchorage Christian School gave us a warm place to hang out and then allowed us to practice with fellow peninsula team Soldotna High School until a decision was made about going home or staying and getting to wrestle the next day.
Throughout the night, the earth continued to remind us of the early moments of the quake.
Some wrestlers and coaches started to think about home and wished a quick trip across town would result in our own beds.
Finally, after a 6 a.m. wake up call to get to weigh ins, the second attempt was about to begin. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you tougher.
If this is the case, the Mariners did just that and responded powerfully, taking the team title with 158.5 points and besting the host Grizzlies by just 4 points.
Freshman 103 pounder Caleb Evans earned his first win of the season as he pinned Brian Adams from Kivalina. Evans nearly won a second match, but couldn’t hold off a scrappy opponent from Noatak.
Sophomore Austin Cline at 112 earned his way into his first finals of his young wrestling career. Cline was overpowered by SoHi’s Hunter Secor in the first period, but Cline’s win over Adam Snow from Grace will help him for seeding at the Conference Tournament next weekend hosted at Redington Jr./Sr. High School
The seniors who have guided this ship for four years battled three East Anchorage opponents in the finals.
Seth Inama at 125 was voted the Most Outstanding wrestler as he scored over 50 points in three matches en route to his championship.
Wayne Newman at 140, who had recovered mostly from his injury at Lancer Smith, won all three matches by technical falls and scored over 50 points as well.
Newman leads the team with 33 wins so far.
Luciano Fasulo at 135, entering his first tourney of the season, won his three matches all in dominating fashion. He now has over 100 consecutive wins versus Alaska opponents covering all four years of his career.
Ian Stovall at 130 earned a fourth-place finish and nearly beat a Bethel opponent who has two wins over Stovall. Hunter Harrington at 215 came back to beat his Bethel opponent, who had defeated him earlier in the day, to earn third place.
Mose Hayes at 152 and teammate Josh Bradshaw, also at 152, shared a moment under the spotlight in the finals.
The match went to overtime before Hayes decided it with a reversal, winning 5-2. Hayes and Bradshaw are both ranked in the top five of this weight class.
Mariah Grimes at 160 pinned Trisha Mann of Selawik twice to win the 2.5 pound Gummy Bear they gave out to all the champions.
Mina Cavasos, bumped up to 130, placed second, and teammate Mischelle Wells at 130 took fourth. Ann Graham took home a silver medal in the 112 weight class.
The Mariners look to bring home their fourth consecutive Kachemak Conference Championship this weekend at Joe Redington Senior JR/SR High School.