The brain will overcome pain if the “Why?” is strong enough.
That “Why?” is pretty strong for the Homer wrestling team right now.
The Mariners defeated a split-up Colony squad 51-22 on Saturday at Nikiski High School to win the Peninsula Duals.
It is the first time Homer has won the Peninsula Duals. The Mariners won the Class 1-2-3A state title last season and stamped themselves as favorites to repeat this season by winning the ACS Invite last weekend.
“Every week I give them challenges in the pursuit of excellence and they’ve yet to let me down,” Homer coach Chris Perk said. “They’ve risen to everything I’ve asked them to do, whether it’s workouts, technique or strategy.
“It’s impressive to watch a group of young people come together and work to succeed like that.”
The poster child for that desire in Saturday’s championship dual was Kyle Wells, a junior at 195 pounds.
Wells, who placed third at state a year ago, was down by a point in the third period when he tried to use his left hand to brace himself and hyperextended his wrist, immediately yelling in pain.
Not only did Wells continue, but he scored a reverse on Colony’s Chayse Eby to win 7-6.
Despite his obvious discomfort, Wells was able to use that damaged left wrist to keep Eby from breaking free for an escape in the final seconds.
That allowed him to finish the weekend 5-0 in the tournament.
“It was just pushing through,” Wells said. “My coaches were supporting me, my teammates were cheering for me and I love the sport.
“I wanted to keep going.”
Perk said it’s hard to get too excited about the incident since the extent of the injury is not yet known and he wants Wells healthy.
But the coach added that it does show something about his team.
“One of our mottos is grit, and part of grit is resilience,” Perk said. “You might get hurt during the match or the ref might make a bad call.
“You never know what it is. You just have to be ready to be resilient.”
The Peninsula Duals took place over two days, with Friday’s dual meets being used to put teams in a championship bracket Saturday.
Homer defeated Soldotna 56-22 and Colony 49-24 on Friday before defeating Houston 71-6 and Dillingham 63-12 on Saturday to make the final.
In addition to Wells, finishing the weekend undefeated for the Mariners were Wayne Newman at 106, Luciano Fasulo at 126, Mose Hayes at 132, Jared Brant at 138, Timmy Woo at 160, Tristen Cook at 182 and Jadin Mann at 285.
Perk also said it was nice to have Jaime Rios back from an ankle injury sustained during football. Rios was 4-1 at 170.
Soldotna lost the third-place dual to Dillingham 47-42, while Barrow defeated Seward 57-23 in the fifth-place match. In the tangle for seventh, Nikiski topped Houston 43-41.
For Soldotna, Gideon Hutchison at 113, Bechler Metcalf at 152 and Abraham VanHout at 170 were undefeated.
Kenai Central got perfect weekends from Jacob Anderson at 145 and 138, Keyshawn McEnerney at 152 and Byron Dunham at 182.
Dia Martishev of Voznesenka, at 132 and 126, also finished undefeated.
Nikiski coach Adam Anders said the meet takes a lot of work to pull off, and he thanked coaches, parents and volunteers for putting in the work to make it happen.
Anders added that the meet was a great opportunity for his young wrestlers to get a lot of mat time and improve.
The coach said the Bulldogs were led by Dakota Hupp, who was 7-1 at 195. Anders also gave credit to Donovan Smith for going 5-3 at 152 and Tyler Litke for going 7-1 at 220 and 285.
at Nikiski High School
Homer 51, Colony 22
285 — Jadin Mann, Hom, won by forfeit; 98 — Jacob Harvey, Col, won by forfeit; 106 — Wayne Newman, Hom, m.d. Marcus Riedlinger, 14-4; 113 — Seth Inama, Hom, m.d. Lane Booth, 12-0; 120 — Kolby Torres, Col, dec. Ian Stovall, 10-3; 126 — Luciano Fasulo, Hom, p. Gabe Whisman, 1:28; 132 — Mose Hayes, Hom, m.d. Jacob Jakiemiec, 12-2; 138 — Jared Brant, Hom, p. Jacob D’Augustino, 3:04; 145 — Macarius Floresta, Col, m.d. McKenzie Cok, 16-5; 152 — Eric Christy, Col, dec. Chris Cudaback, 3-1; 160 — Timmy Woo, hom, p. Frank Urbano, 1:56; 170 — Jaime Rios, Hom, p. Cody Gamble, 2:34; 182 — Tristen Cook, Hom, p. Walter Nagel, 1:26; 195 — Kyle Wells, Hom, dec. Chayse Eby, 7-6; 220 — Tuker Eby, Col, p. Heather Harrington, 1:11.
Dillingham 47, Soldotna 42
285 — Jack Allen, Dil, p. Austin Reeves, 1:09; 98 — Logan Craig, Sol, won by forfeit; 106 — Jimmy Nicolai, Dil, won by forfeit; 113 — Gideon Hutchison, Sol, p. Justin Dye, 3:25; 120 — Tanner Savo, Dil, won by forfeit; 126 — Jesse Noden, Dil, t.f. Brayde Wolfe, 16-0; 132 — Chris Williams, Dil, p. Travis Howell, 1:37; 138 — Dillon Chaney, Dil, p. Bryan Sledge, 3:48; 145 — Joseph Wassilly-Walker, Dil, won by forfeit; 152 — Bechler Metcalf, Sol, p. Dan Rolf, 1:26; 160 — Talon Musgrave, Sol, p. Triston Chaney, 1:01; 170 — Abraham VanHout, Sol, p. Sam Jenkins, 0:52; 182 — Brenner Furlong, Sol, p. Zachary Tilden, 3:42; 195 — Quincy Miller, Sol, won by forfeit; 220 — Mathew Krause, Dil, won by forfeit.
Barrow 57, Seward 23
285 — Vakameilalo Tu-ifua, Bar, p. Peter Hettick, 1:39; 98 — Double forfeit; 106 — Glen Balanza, Bar, p. Kriziel Sarmiento, 0:59; 113 — Anthony Librado, Bar, p. Isaiah Bivins, 1:02; 120 — Cole Norcross, Sew, p. Sammy Keovilayhong, 1:19; 126 — Calvin Miller, Bar, p. Jaden VanDyke, 1:50; 132 — JohnRick Nobleza, Bar, dec. Simon Estes, 6-4; 138 — Bradley Brower, Bar, p. Chris Kingsland, 2:22; 145 — Brooks Berry, Sew, t.f. Jeffrey Del Rosario, 20-5; 152 — Nele Hohenstein, Sew, won by forfeit; 160 — Isiah Passi, Bar, p. Nick Woodard, 3:05; 170 — Reid Broughton, Sew, won by forfeit; 182 — Matthew Brower, Bar, p. Eli Davis, 1:11; 195 — Sione Tu’ifua, Bar, p. Soren Fejes, 1:54; 220 — Benjamin Heather, Bar, p. Cyrus Petty, 4:28.
Nikiski 43, Houston 41
285 — Dylan Jackson, Hou, won by forfeit; 98 — Joey Yourkoski, Nik, won by forfeit; 106 — Chase Olsen, Nik, won by forfeit; 113 — Jordan Fleming, Nik, won by forfeit; 120 — Jens Knutson, Hou, t.f. Mason Payne, 21-5; 126 — Malcom Yerkes, Nik, won by forfeit; 132 — Derek Jokay, Hou, p. Caleb Weeks, 2:23; 138 — Dakota Bolduc, Hou, won by forfeit; 145 — Josh Seidl, Hou, won by forfeit; 152 — Donovan Smith, Nik, SV-1 over Daniel O’Connor, 5-3; 160 — Xavier Anderson, Hou, p. Jakobee Anderson, 0:36; 170 — Dustin Mullins, Nik, m.d. Aaden Hendrick, 9-1; 182 — Robert Ritter, Hou, p. Hamilton Cox, 2:36; 195 — Dakota Hupp, Nik, won by forfeit; 220 — Tyler Litke, Nik, p. Kobe Little, 0:40.