Mariners qualify one state finalist

By Norm Anderson 

For the Homer News

The Homer Mariner Mat team sent seven qualifying wrestlers to the State Tournament at Nikiski High School last weekend and qualified one state finalist, which came in the form of senior Mark McGregor, who lost a 5-1 decision to Trevour Chavez of Bethel.

Junior Calvin Johnson, wrestling at 106 pounds, was seeded second heading into the tournament. Johnson took fifth-place honors, beating TJ Cox of Nikiski in an 18-2 technical fall.

Mariner Austin McGregor (120 pounds), Pedro Ochoa (152 pounds) and Dick Perez (220 pounds), won two matches and finished within the top eight in their weight classes. 

McGregor finished his high school wrestling career with 85 total wins, 21 of which came this year. He matched up against Thorne Bay’s Anthony Minnillo in the state semi-finals in a match that Coach Chris Perk says was the finest of his career. 

McGregor won by a score of 6-5, revenging last year’s loss to Minnillo for third place in the state. He came out of this one ready compete, scoring two takedowns with his front headlock and escaping holds and clinching a 5-0 lead going into the final period. Within the final 20 seconds of play, Minnillo scored two takedowns to cut the deficit, but it wasn’t enough as McGregor moved on to face Chavez, the reigning state champion from Bethel.

Chavez had the lead by the end of the first period and in the second; both grapplers traded escapes as Chavez was trying to control his lead. The third period showed McGregor looking for the upper hand, eventually falling short of the state title 5-1. 

Perk called McGregor’s season “short and successful,” as he was able to score wins over the 170-pound state runner-up and 182-pound third-place finisher this year. 

“He’s a good wrestler, and was more ready than I was,” McGregor said of Chavez. “Things didn’t go my way, and I fell behind on points and had to struggle to get the lead back.”

McGregor counted the loss as an example of less experience than Chavez, but said he harbors no regrets.

“In the first round I lost because of a scramble,” McGregor said. “I took a shot and he ended up on top, and then I was just fighting to come from behind, and you have to be more aggressive than you want to be.”

Perk agreed with McGregor, saying that the senior could have used more aggression in the early stages.

“I think early on we had Chavez on his heels guessing a little bit, and so maybe (Mark) should’ve been a little more aggressive early,” Perk said. “I don’t think he took advantage of the early positioning. And then, once he got called for stalling, Mark I think forced him into a bad shot and wrestling down on a returning state champ isn’t good.”

Still, it was a good season. 

“I’d say that we wrestled OK, we won a lot of matches,” Perk said. “I don’t think we wrestled our best today, but we finished the season on a good note.”

As a team, the Mariners improved from last year’s state meet, scoring 56 points, many of which came from Johnson. Johnson won his first three matches and locked up with Gage Hoffman who was one of eight Bethel Warriors to advance to the semi-finals.  

“Johnson gave up many early double leg takedowns and could not rally enough points at the end,” said Perk.

 Hoffman was able to escape from a near side cradle that would have tied up the contest, instead ending 14-11 in favor of Hoffman. Johnson took fifth place in state while winning 33 matches this season.

Mariner Austin McGregor (120 pounds), Pedro Ochoa (152 pounds) and Dick Perez (220 pounds), won two matches and finished within the top eight in their weight classes. 

 The Mariners will only graduate two wrestlers and a solid group of eighth graders coming in next year could make for a top 10 team in Alaska.


Class 1-2-3A state wrestling tournament


Teams scores (top 25): 1. Bethel, 187; 2. Kotzebue, 139.5; 3. Nikiski, 130.5; 4. Dillingham, 129.5; 5. Valdez, 124.5; 6. Mt. Edgecumbe, 124.5; 7. Sitka, 95.5; 8. Nome, 91.5; 9. Skyview, 91.5; 10. Houston, 91.5; 11. Eielson, 72; 12. Homer, 59; 13. Wrangell, 54; 14. Cordova, 50; 15. Unalaska, 46; 16. New Stuyahok, 43; 17. Craig, 40; 18. Seward 40; 19. ACS, 39; 20. Grace, 30; 21. Glennallen, 26.5; 22. Aniak, 26.5; 23. Haines, 24; 24. Metlakatla, 23; 25. Unalakleet, 23.


Peninsula Clarion sports reporter Joey Klecka contributed to this story.


More in Sports

Fall colors, a dog and game in hand make for great outdoor experiences on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: On point this fall

His eyes were fixated on the white spruce before us. We knew… Continue reading

Ice sits ready to skate at Bottenintnin Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on Nov. 1, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Tangled Up in Blue: Skipping skating

I was looking forward to ice skating this winter. I had bought… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

Mariner's Micah Williamson steals the puck from the Warrior's Karson McGrew as he advances down the rink. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Hockey roundup: West wins End of Road tourney

End of the Road Tournament The West hockey team won the End… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Homer News reporter smells snow - and gets the surprise of a lifetime.

Sports in brief

Hockey Upcoming meets: 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18: Kenai vs. West, End… Continue reading

Alaska Olympic Development Program 2008 boys team featuring Gunnar Pinsky, Beau Miller and Kai Waltenbaugh (Photo provided by Breanna Hill)
Homer soccer players compete on Alaska Olympic Development team

Seven Homer soccer players are making their national and international debut after… Continue reading

Homer’s Gracie Gummer goes up for a kill against Kenai blockers Calani Holmes and Emma Beck during the 3A state volleyball consolation game at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai takes 2nd, Homer nabs 3rd at state volleyball

The Kenai Kardinals volleyball team fell narrowly to the Valdez Buccaneers in… Continue reading

Kenai Central’s Ayden Spann skates the puck across the blue line during a 4-1 loss to Colony during the second day of the 2021 Alaska Army National Guard Stars and Stripes Showdown on Friday, Nov.12, 2021, at the MTA Events Center in Palmer, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Kenai, SoHi, Homer finish up play at Stars and Stripes

The Homer and Soldotna hockey teams finished with 1-2 records at the… Continue reading

Most Read