This season the Mariner wrestling team looks to improve upon it seventh place team finish at State last year. Returning State place winners juniors Timmy Woo (third), Jared Brant (fourth) and Jaime Rios (fifth) and sophomore Tristen Cook (fourth) will all be in the hunt for a state championship.
A strong group of freshmen enter making this squad as deep as it has been since the 1986-87 team. Wayne Newman and Luciano Fasulo bring years of experience from the youth level and will make a major impact on the varsity team. Newman, a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District champion, will battle with teammate Sean Blaine, a conference champion from last year at 98 pounds or 106 pounds.
This team also will be made up of several siblings.
Freshman Jadin Mann is the stepbrother of Jaime Rios. Mann will wrestle at 220 pounds or 285 pounds. Mann has seen some good varsity football experience this fall.
Hunter Harrington, a ninth grader, will join his sister, Heather, a sophomore, who was the 220-pound girls state champion last year. Hunter will vie for a spot on the team at around 160 pounds.
Allison Wells, 120 pounds, who was a Tanana and girls freestyle state champion, will join her brother, Kyle Wells, who was a state qualifier last year as a freshman. Kyle will be wrestling at 182 pounds, battling senior Matthew Pollack for the varsity position. Pollack also was a state qualifier last year.
Luciano, 120, a triple crown and Tanana champion last year, will join sister, Jadzia Martin, 106. Jadzia, a senior, was not able to wrestle at State last year due to an injury. She was a conference champion the year before, wrestling against the boys and was a girls freestyle state champion last year. Jadzia will be a real threat to win the 106-pound girls championship.
Sophomore Alex Moseley, a runner-up at 98 pounds, will compete with Jadzia at 106/113 this year. Moseley has been part of the dominating girls varsity cross country team.
Freshman McKenzie Cook, 138/145, a Tanana and girls freestyle state champion last year, is the younger sister of Tristen Cook, 160. Tristen won the triple crown last spring and has been one of the most dedicated Mariner wrestlers — even going outside to camp this summer.
Freshmen Hannah and Seth Inama join the team this season. Seth will look at a varsity spot at 106/113 pounds. His sister, Hannah, is a first-year wrestler at 120.
Other freshmen joining the team will be Ian Stovall, 106 pounds; Anthony Westlake, 125; Dominic Pittman, 132; and Roen Bice, 152.
Returning sophomores are state qualifier Tyler Johnson, 145; Chris Cudaback, 152; Levi King, 170; Wyatt Alborn, 170; Teddy Croft. 170; and Richard Brock, 285. Jesse Woitte, 132, a transfer from Oregon, brings a few years of wrestling. Marley McGuire, 170, is new to the squad and trying it for the first time. McGuire is a former hockey player and brings strength and athleticism to his wrestling.
Much of the success can be given to the work done in the off season. Assistant Coach Bubba Wells has coached the Chapman Eagles and Anchor Kings during the winter months. Many of the other wrestlers were wrestling with Coach Danny Rios at Homer Middle School and Jason Cavasos, the head Popeye coach.
Homer will be battling Nikiski for a conference title, and then Bethel and Kotzebue, the returning champs, for the small school team title.
The team’s first competition will be in Bethel and Kenai Oct. 16-17. The squad will be split that weekend to go to two different tournaments.
The team holds a Fiesta Night fundraiser 5-7 p.m. Saturday in the Homer High School Commons, with all-you-can eat gourmet Mexican food. There are live and silent auctions. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students.
Fiesta Night Fundraiser
When: 5-7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Homer High School Commons
Cost: $15 for adults; $10 for students