Danny Rios has wrestled for the Mariners the past three years. This season the senior had second thoughts. Getting a job and focusing on his academics began to be a priority. However, the Homer High School wrestling team needed a 220-pounder and with Danny Rios’ brother, Jaime Rios, being the captain, it was just a matter of time before Danny joined the team.
Last weekend Danny Rios finally got enough practices to compete and helped the team tremendously. He was one of the three seniors honored Thursday night in the only home dual versus Bethel and had an exciting match with Kane Gillilan. Danny Rios took Gillilan to his back early, but was reversed and pinned. He did not let that bother him, however, as he went to the Nikiski duals and won all five of his matches.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Jaime Rios at 132 pounds won all five of his matches including a come-from-behind victory over Austin Vreeland from Dimond.
Jaime Rios was thrown to his back in a head and arm bridge for more than a minute and was able to regain the lead and eventually pin Vreeland and help the Mariners to a 77-6 victory over Dimond.
Mariners Julian Richburg, 145, and Antonio Ochoa, 170, were the other two seniors honored Thursday night. Richburg lost to Sven Williams 15-4, but never surrendered to a pin. His fight continued throughout the weekend. Ochoa was out of the lineup due to illness and could not wrestle. Ochoa’s spot as the team’s 170-pounder was filled by freshman 152-pounder Levi King. King earned the team six points when his Bethel opponent missed weight.
Bethel beat Homer 46–6. Helping score points was Matthew Pollack, 182. Pollack beat two opponents this weekend who had defeated him earlier in the season. Pollack pinned Drew Pekar on Thursday night and then beat Nick Olson from Nikiski on Saturday. Pollack is steadily improving and stands a chance to qualify for State as a first-year wrestler.
Girl athlete Jadzia Martin, 106, earned three victories over the weekend. Two of them were hard fought victories. Martin never backed down against Joe Fetko of Dimond as the lead changed many times. She finally pinned him with only seven second left. This was her first time back in competition since the Pre-season National Tournament in Ohio.
Martin’s teammate Alex Moseley, 98, showed tremendous improvement and nearly made it all three periods for the first time. Facing Austin Ozbun of Nikiski for the third time this season, Moseley scored a takedown and many escapes.
Mariner varsity 98-pound freshman Sean Blaine pinned two opponents in the first period over the weekend. Blaine is beginning to dominant some of the other beginner wrestlers and sticking close to the State-ranked grapplers.
Tristan Cook, 160, was still battling a cold but did his best to compete. He won three matches and really impressed his coaches with his toughness. Teammate Timmy Woo, who also is battling a bad cough, beat a 4A runner-up from Kodiak, JR Small. Woo and Small exchanged points for much of the match until Woo attacked Small numerous times in the final 30 seconds. Small couldn’t keep up and Woo was awarded a stalling point at the end of the match to win 13-12.
Sophomore Ravi Cavasos won four matches and lost only one at Nikiski. Cavasos is steady for the team and looking to break into the State top ranking soon.
This weekend the team travels to the valley and participates in two separate tournaments.
One team will take part in the Lancer Smith Memorial Tournament in Palmer and the JV team will be at the Colony Scramble. Lancer Smith is the toughest tourney in the state, with many of the 4A and small schools attending.
Chris Perk is Homer High School’s head wrestling coach and the school’s activities director.