All week sophomore Jadzia Martin knew she was going to be ranked No. 1 at the Kachemak Conference Tournament last weekend. She finally believed it when she saw her name at the top of the bracket on Friday in Nikiski. Now, she had the unknown pressure of being the target wrestler in the weight class.
After a win in the semifinals, Martin qualified for the finals against Sully Hauze of Seward, an opponent Martin beat in overtime a month ago. Martin used an aggressive snap down, putting Hauze to his knees. As Hauze came back to his feet, Martin threw a hard cross face and planted Hauze on his back. After a short fight, Martin put the squeeze on Hauze and earned her first conference championship.
Martin heads to state with an impressive 25-5 record, the first female Mariner to win a conference championship. Freshman Martin Welty, also 98 pounds, placed fourth and qualified for the state tournament.
Jared Brant, 106 pounds, is one of five freshmen to qualify for state with a second-place finish. Brant won two matches by fall before his finals match-up against junior Austin Craig, No. 2 ranked in the state. Brant lost twice to Craig.
This match was close in the first two periods, as Brant was able to score his first takedown in the three matches. Brant was caught in a tough position and pinned, but put up the best fight of the year. He has a 25-8 record and is currently ranked No. 5 in the state.
Teammate Calvin Johnson, 113, pinned two opponents before his finals match up with No. 1 ranked Seth Hutchison from Skyview. Johnson was beat 18-2 the last outing. This time Johnson scored a sweet double-leg takedown and lead 4-3 for the first period.
The second period, Johnson continued his dominance until he slipped, riding a bit too high, and Hutchison pulled him over and won by a fall. Johnson has 30 wins this season and is ranked No. 3 in the state.
Freshman Jaime Rios, 120, Ravi Cavasos, 126, and Timmy Woo, 132, all secured enough wins to place in the top four and qualify for state.
Woo has 26 wins this season. His only loss last weekend was to Gavril Kalugin of Voznesenka, 9-5.
Rios had a big win over Jacob McAnulty of Houston in the quarterfinals. Rios held on to a 7-6 victory. The two wrestlers had split wins in previous meetings.
Cavasos scored two first period pins en route to his state berth.
Senior David Jack Woo, 138, had one of the best weekends of his career. His three wins put him into the finals against Tyler Handley of Nikiski, ranked No. 4 in the state. Woo was overmatched in the finals, but now has 21 wins this season and heads into the state meet with much confidence.
Pedro Ochoa, 152 pounds, won three matches, but lost to Mike Stangel, ranked No. 4. It was a tough match as Stangel used a reshot that scored twice against Ochoa, including near fall points. Ochoa placed third for the second straight year. He is currently ranked No. 6 going into the state weekend.
Fellow senior Jordan Reynolds, 220, ranked No. 5 in the state, pinned two opponents en route to a second place finish. His finals opponent was two-time state champion from Houston, Luke Wagner. Reynolds went out strong, but was turned to his back with a stiff half nelson and pinned in the first period. Reynolds now has 19 wins for the season.
Freshman Diana Gaedecke, 106, Wyatt Lewis, 145, Heather Harrington, 220, and junior Antonio Ochoa all participated in the Conference Tournament, but did not win a match.
Harrington was named to the good sport team.
Homer placed fourth out of nine teams. Skyview won the team title, scoring more than 200 points. Seward and Houston both had great conference tournaments, bringing 20 wrestlers each. Homer was missing four weight classes due to injuries and loss of an athlete to grade eligibility.
This weekend the team hopes to place in the top 10.
Chris Perk is the head coach of Homer High School’s wrestling team.