The host Houston wrestling team won the Kachemak Conference Championships on Saturday.
The Hawks scored 222.5 points to get the better of Nikiski’s 206.5 and Homer’s 204. Also from the Kenai Peninsula, Seward was fifth and Voznesenka was seventh.
The Hawks had four individual champions to Nikiski’s five, but superior depth carried the day for the hosts, denying the Bulldogs a fifth title in the last six years.
The Bulldogs got eight wrestlers into the championship round. TJ Cox got the Bulldogs title tally started at 120 pounds when he defeated Anchorage Christian Schools’ Shannon LeMay in a 6-3 decision.
Tyler Handley and Nathan Carstens would then score back-to-back titles at 152 and 160, respectively. Both Handley and Carstens also wore Kachemak crowns a year ago.
Handley defeated Homer’s Kyle Wells 20-10 in a major decision, while Carstens notched a 20-8 major decision over Tristan Cook of Homer.
Later, Jon McCormick and Luke Johnson also turned in back-to-back titles for the Bulldogs.
McCormick wrestled to a 4-0 decision over Anchorage Christian Schools’ Jordan Willis, while Johnson pinned Kendel Beasley of Houston in 1 minute, 21 seconds.
Johnson, who went undefeated as a sophomore and is currently undefeated as a junior, pinned his way through the entire tournament.
Austin Ozbun at 98, Tyler Olsen at 106 and Donovan Smith at 113 all earned second-place finishes for the Bulldogs.
Other state qualifiers for the Bulldogs were Bill Medetov at fourth at 106, Luck Broussard with third at 113, Dylan Broussard with fourth at 160, Ian Johnson with fourth at 182 and Will Olsen with fourth at 285.
Finishing a close third to the Bulldogs has Homer coach Chris Perk fired up about his program.
“We’re excited,” Perk said. “It’s been a process. It’s a five-year process. Next year, the plan is to win regions.”
Perk has a young team, and two of those young wrestlers came through with titles.
At 98, freshman Sean Blaine pinned Ozbun at 1:38.
At 138, sophomore Timmy Woo won by 16-5 major decision over Houston’s Terry Jackson.
“He’s real solid,” Perk said of Woo. “He’s always staying positive and looking forward to the next match.
“When you watch him wrestle he’s always looking ahead to the next move. He doesn’t wrestle with fear. When he has a reversal or takedown go against him, he goes back at it.”
Homer also received second-place finishes from freshmen Kyle Wells and Tristan Cook. Senior Antonio Ochoa also was second.
Homer girls Alex Moseley at 98 and Heather Harrington at 220 qualified for the girls state tournament due to being the lone wrestlers in their weight classes.
Other state qualifiers for Homer were Jared Brant with third a 120, Ravi Cavasos with third at 126, Tyler Johnson with fourth at 132, Jaime Rios with third at 132 and Michael Pollack with third at 182.
The final individual champion from the Kenai Peninsula is Voznesenka’s Gavril Kalugin at 145. Kalugin defeated Grace’s Graysen Sorenson in the title match, avenging a loss on the opening weekend of this season.
Michael Kusnetsov also qualified for state for the Cougars, placing fourth at 170.
Seward had six state qualifiers — Simon Estes in fourth at 113, Case Estes in fourth at 120, Tom Zweifel in third at 145, Kris Hettick in fourth at 152, Matt Morris in third at 170 and Justin Schutter in second at 285.
Kachemak Conference Championships
(Top 4 finishers qualify for state)
Team scores: 1. Houston 222.5; 2. Nikiski 206.5; 3. Homer 204; 4. ACS 136; 5. Seward 124; 6. Grace Christian 106; 7. Voznesenka 46; 8. Cordova 44; 9. Holy Rosary 25.
98 pounds — S. Blaine, Hom d. A. Ozbun, Nik 1:38; 106 — K. Weinberger, Hou m.d. T. Olsen, Nik 13-3; 113 — J. McAnulty, Hou t.f. D. Smith, Nik 4:00; 120 — J. Cox, Nik d. D. LeMay, ACS 6-3; 126 — A. Drake, Hou won by fft E. Brockman, Gra; 132 — M. Lucas, HR d. E. Kinney, Hou 10-3; 138 — T. Woo, Hom m.d. T. Jackson, Hou 16-5; 145 — G. Kalugin, Voz d. G. Sorenson, Gra 8-6 OT; 152 — T. Handley, Nik d. K. Wells, Hom 10-1; 160 — N. Carstens, Nik m.d. T. Cook, Hom 10-0; 170 — A. Paul, Hou p. A. Ochoa, Hom 2:38; 182 — C. Howard, Cor m.d. B. Nicholson, ACS 16-2; 195 — J. McCormick, Nik d. J. Willis, ACS 4-0; 220 — L. Johnson, Nik p. K. Beasley, Hou 1:21; 285 — T. Scott, ACS p. J. Schutter, Sew 5:12.
98 — D. Jessup, Hou won by fft; 106 — K. Anderson, Hou p. B. Medetov, Nik 0:23; 113 — L. Broussard, Nik p. S. Estes, Sew 3:58; 120 — J. Brant, Hom p. C. Estes, Sew 2:26; 126 — R. Cavasos, Hom p. J. Perkins, Gra 0:44; 132 — J. Rios, Hom won by fft T. Johnson, Hom; 138 — J. Sapp, Cor d. R. Merriner, Gra 7-5 OT; 145 — T. Zweifel, Sew d. J. Hofacker, ACS 2-1 OT; 152 — C. Webb, Gra d. K. Hettick, Sew 4-1; 152 — Z. Young, Gra won by fft D. Broussard, Nik; 170 — M. Morris, Sew p. M. Kusnetsov, Voz 1:59; 182 — M. Pollack, Hom won by fft I. Johnson, Nik; 195 — S. Lang, Hou p. R. Kohutek, ACS 1:50; 220 — E. Lincecum, Hou d. K. Quincy, Hou 8-7; 285 — D. Jackson, Hou d. W. Olsen, Nik 2:21.
Kenai wrestlers take fourth at North/South Tournament
The Kenai Central wrestling team led the Peninsula with a fourth-place finish at Saturday’s North/South Tournament in Wasilla.
Colony won the meet with 215 points, while the Kards had 91.5 and sixth-place Soldotna had 77.5.
Ellery Steffensen won the lone title for the Kardinals. At 152, Steffensen pinned Spencer Adams of Colony in 2:31 in the finals. Steffensen also pinned his other two opponents in the tournament.
Paul Steffensen nabbed second for the Kards, losing 4-3 in the ultimate tiebreaker to Rami Pellumbi of South. Steffensen, a sophomore, had been undefeated in Alaska before the match.
The match was tied through three periods, and remained tied through a sudden-death, one-minute period. Each wrestler then gets a position of his choice for 30 seconds, and neither wrestler scored there. That sent the match to the ultimate tiebreaker, where Steffensen was on the bottom and had 30 seconds to score a point. When he couldn’t, Pellumbi took the win.
Keyshawn McEnerny (145) and Dylan Carter (170) each notched third-place finishes for the Kards. McEnerny beat South’s Logan Nerland 9-6 in the third-place match, while Carter pinned East’s Joshua King in 3:39 in his third-place match.
Matt Vandermartin (138) was fourth for the Kards, getting pinned by South’s Noah Ottum in the third-place match.
Seth Hutchison paced Soldotna with the crown at 120. He defeated Kodiak’s Joel Valdez 10-4 in the finals.
Hunter Bourgeois also made the finals, at 160, but was pinned by Colony’s Robert Haan.
Ryan Winter, at 132, notched a 7-6 decision over Hayden Steiner to win his third-place match.
Finally, Bailey Blumentritt lost to Zachary Ritchie of South at 152 in a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker.
Kenai will travel to Soldotna for dual meets Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Team scores: 1. Colony 215, 2. Wasilla 149, 3. South 137, 4. Kenai 91.5, 5. Service 78, 6. Soldotna 77.5, 7. East 56, 8. Palmer 49, 9. Kodiak 44, 10. Bartlett 41, 11. West 29, 12. Eagle River 27, 13. Dimond 9, 14. Chugiak 0.
98 pounds — M. Mathis, Was p. R. Zimmerman, Col 2:47; 106 — S. Sisco, Col d. C. Tanner, Ser 4-2; 113 — S. Harris, Sou d. D. Simpson, Was 10-5; 120 — S. Hutchinson, Sol d. J. Valdez, Kod 10-4; 126 — G. Shack, Sou d. C. Booth, Col 6-2; 132 — G. Alvardo, Sou d. A. Concepcion, Sou 7-0; 138 — J. Nero, Col d. B. McKimson, Was 9-1; 145 — R. Pellumbi, Sou d. P. Steffensen, Ken 4-3 OT; 152 — E. Steffensen, Ken p. S. Adams, Col 2:31; 160 — R. Haan, Col p. H. Bourgeois, Sol 0:29; 170 — D. Morrow, Was d. D. Nash, Col 6-5; 182 — A. Correa-Medina, Sou d. F. Pearce, Was 7-3; 195 — A. Farris, Pal won by inj def A. Gold, East 1:07; 220 — K. Queja, East d. N. Wandersee, Kod 3-2; 285 — N. Stevens, Col d. M. Daigle, Col 8-2.
98 — G. Whisman, Col. d. K. Blackwell, Ser 7-3; 112 — D. Owens, West p. Y. Ahn, Kod 4:39; 113 — W. Salter, ER p. O. Garcia, Bar 4:14; 120 — J. Divelbiss, Dim d. M. Bracker, Col 4-2; 126 — C. Hopkins, Col d. I. Elvsaas, Was 2-0; 132 — R. Winter, Sol d. H. Steiner, Was 7-6; 138 — N. Ottum, Sou p. M. Vandermartin, Ken 3:56; 145 — K. McEnerny, Ken d. L. Nerland, Sou 9-6; 152 — Z. Ritchie, Sou d. B. Blumentritt, Sol 3-2 OT; 160 — C. Elliott, West m.d. H. Myers, Bar 11-3; 170 — D. Carter, Ken p. J. King, East 3:39; 182 — K. Nash, Col p. C. Phelps, Ser 2:24; 195 — H. Fanning, Ser d. I. Christy, Col 9-2; 220 — Z. Doan, Col p. L. Santana, Pal 4:23; W. Bruso, Bar d. Z. Koziczkowski, Ken 11-5.