Kenai Central’s Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski’s Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski’s Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.

Kenai traveled to Nikiski for an unscored dual meet, while Soldotna drove down to Homer for a dual meet that also was unscored.

Nikiski assistant coach Dylan Hooper said Tuesday was a good chance to build off some positive momentum the program generated at the Lancer Smith Fall 2021 Varsity Invite on Friday and Saturday in Wasilla.

The Lancer Smith is the toughest tournament in the state, normally featuring almost all of the small schools and big schools.

Sophomore Truit McCaughey took fifth at 171 and sophomore Mayaac Schmit took sixth at 285.

“It’s exciting for the future of our program to see those young kids wrestling so well,” Hooper said. “We didn’t have a junior or senior wrestle at Lancer Smith.”

Hooper said it’s particularly tough for young wrestlers to do so well in the upper weight classes. The assistant said he went back to 2011, when trackwrestling.com started, and Nikiski never had two underclassmen place at Lancer Smith. This was also the most placers the Bulldogs had at Lancer Smith since 2014.

Kenai didn’t have any wrestlers for Schmit on Tuesday, but McCaughey kept on rolling with pins of Zoticus Active and Morgan Stark.

“He’s having a great season and that continued with a couple of great matches tonight,” Hooper said. “He’s in great form and I’m excited to see where he goes from here.”

Hooper also liked the way Wyatt Maguire wrestled in a 7-6 loss to fellow freshman Sawyer Vann of Kenai.

The assistant said Nikiski currently has nothing scheduled until the Kachemak Conference meet Dec. 10 and 11 in Houston. Other peninsula schools are opting for an invitational at Grace Christian in Anchorage on Dec. 3 and 4.

“We don’t want to pick up any COVID,” Hooper said. “We’re going to be cautious and make sure we are a healthy team going into the region and state tournament. That’s the biggest thing and giving up one week of wrestling to make sure we get there was an important thing.”

Kenai coach Jason Chavarria also saw Tuesday as an important chance to improve as the season quickly nears conclusion.

“They’re starting to step up their push, their aggressiveness,” Chavarria said. “They’re starting to be pushed through that timidity.”

The coach said Zoticus Active had a good night despite getting pinned by McCaughey at 189 and Robert Isabel at 215 while giving up about 30 pounds. Chavarria said Active tends to go hard then let up during a match, but that Active is getting better and better at going hard the whole time.

“I had to explain to him that it’s only six minutes,” Chavarria said.

The coach also liked Reymond Perez’s pin of Sam Yerkes at 152. Chavarria said Perez did a good job of listening to his coach and adjusting accordingly.

“That’s one thing with this team is they have a lot of bad habits of holding on to things that just aren’t working,” the coach said. “And it’s a life lesson, right? If it’s not working, let it go.”

Chavarria also said he was proud of his team at the Lancer Smith for wrestling hard. The coach said the highlight there was Isabella Asi pushing to 100% for the first time and actually throwing up at the end of the match.

Notching pins for Nikiski on Tuesday were Shyra Loomis at 135 girls, Jackson Wittmer at 160, McCaughey with two at 189 and Isabel at 215. Pins for Kenai came from Sarai Bravo-Moe at 135 girls, Jenna Yeoman at 160 girls, Simone Watts at 160 girls, Owen Whicker at 125, Cameron Cook at 152, Perez at 152 and Morgan Stark at 189.

Homer honored seniors Nestor Kalugin and Mischelle Wells as part of senior night in the dual against Soldotna. Kalugin put together an impressive night of wrestling, with pins of Joe Whittom and Collin Peck at 171. Wells did not get to wrestle Tuesday.

The Mariners also received a pin from Gunner Froese at 119.

The Stars received pins from Ryan Buchanan at 119, Ezekiel Miller twice at 125, Buchanan at 125, Blaze Michael at 125, Peck at 171, Kevin Steger at 189, Angelina Chavarria at 119 girls and Erin Bell at 145 girls.

Kenai vs. Nikiski

(No team scores kept)

135G — Shyra Loomis, Nik, def. Isabella Asi; 135G — Sarai Bravo-Moe, Ken, p. Shyra Loomis, 2:00; 160G — Jenna Yeoman, Ken, p. Jasmine Durfee, 1:44; 160G — Simone Watts, Ken, p. Jasmine Durfee, 0:21; 125 — Sawyer Vann, Ken, dec. Wyatt Maguire, 7-6; 125 — Owen Whicker, Ken, p. Wyatt Maguire, 1:48; 152 — Cameron Cook, Ken, p. Sam Yerkes, 4:21; 152 — Reymond Perez, Ken, p. Sam Yerkes, 3:17; 160 — Jackson Wittmer, Nik, p. Shannon Murphy, 0:22; 189 — Morgan Stark, Ken, p. Seth Payne, 2:26; 189 — Truit McCaughey, Nik, p. Zoticus Active, 0:56; 189 — Truit McCaughey, Nik, p. Morgan Stark, 0:50; 215 — Robert Isabel, Nik, p. Zoticus Active, 3:19.

Soldotna vs. Homer

(No team scores kept)

103 — Tustin Keller, Sol, won by forfeit; 119 — Gunner Froese, Hom, p. Simon Willets, 3:01; 119 — Ryan Buchanan, Sol, p. Gunner Froese; 125 — Ezekiel Miller, Sol, p. Paul Minke, 3:50; 125 — Ryan Buchanan, Sol, p. Alex Van Meter, 1:57; 125 — Paul Minke, Hom, dec. Blaze Michael, 10-3; 125 — Blaze Michael, Sol, p. Alex Van Meter, 2:00; 125 — Ezekiel Miller, Sol, p. Paul Minke, 3:15; 145 — Saiyan Baker, Sol, won by forfeit; 152 — Edgar Land, Sol, won by forfeit; 171 — Collin Peck, Sol, p. Murphy Whaley, 0:32; 171 — Nestor Kalugin, Hom, p. Joe Whittom, 5:37; 171 — Nestor Kalugin, Hom, p. Collin Peck, 1:10; 189 — Kevin Steger, Sol, p. Adgel Chandler, 1:34; 119G — Angelina Chavarria, Sol, p. Cecilia Fitzpatrick, 2:51; 145G — Erin Bell, Sol, p. Rainey Sundheim, 1:47.

Homer’s Alex Van Meter and Soldotna’s Blaze Michael tangle at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Homer High School. Michael won by pin. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)

Homer’s Alex Van Meter and Soldotna’s Blaze Michael tangle at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Homer High School. Michael won by pin. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)

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