SoHi boys lead state wrestling after Day 1

Soldotna's Hudson Metcalf and Kenai Central's John Grossl wrestle at 182 pounds Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. Metcalf would pin Grossl. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

The Soldotna boys wrestling team leads the Division I state tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center after one day of wrestling.

The Stars, looking for the first state title in school history, have 181.5 points, while South Anchorage is right behind at 174.5.

Soldotna put five in the finals, which start at 4 p.m. for Division I, Division II and girls.

SoHi’s Jacob Strausbaugh will wrestle Palmer’s Kael Salisbury for the crown at 112. Last season, Salisbury topped Strausbaugh for the state title at 103, but Strausbaugh beat Salisbury for the first time last week at the Northern Lights Conference tournament.

At 125, top seed Ezekiel Miller of Soldotna will face Lathrop’s Riley Williams for the title. At 152, SoHi’s Isaac Chavarria, the top seed, will face South’s Samuel Chaput for the title. At 189, SoHi’s Hunter Richardson, the top seed, will look to complete an undefeated season with a second state title by taking on James Shivers of South.

At 215, SoHi’s Liam Babitt, the top seed, will look for a third undefeated season and state title in the final against West Valley’s Pete Macchione.

In the girls tourney, Soldotna’s Trinity Donovan is one win away from becoming the third girl from Alaska to win four state titles. Donovan had three pins to move to a title match at 145 against Lathrop’s Heaven Matheny.

Also for the girls, Homer’s Saoirse Cook will wrestle Colony’s Bayleigh Harrington for the title at 126, Soldotna’s Daisy Hannevold will wrestle Bethel’s Isabel Lieb for the title at 138 and Homer’s Roane Cook will wrestle North Pole’s Lylah Murrah for the title at 185.

The girls team scores have Lathrop ahead with 134, while North Pole has 99 and Soldotna has 75. Also from the peninsula, Homer is in sixth, Kenai is tied for 33rd and Nikiski is tied for 37th.

In the Division II tournament, Jaxson Young, the No. 3 seed from Kenai Central at 103, worked his way to the final against Jason Ekamrak of Akiachak. At 112, Aidan Schilling of Seward will wrestle Alvino Vasquez of Bethel for the title, while 119 will see Seward’s Hunter Forshee-Kurtz go for the title against Oran Brown of Delta.

At 135, another Kardinal beat his seed when No. 4 Owen Whicker made the final against Colton Merriner of Grace Christian. At 140, Homer’s Russell Nyvall will go for the title against Josh Paulson of Grace Christian. At 152, Kenai’s Andrew Gaethle will wrestle for the title against Leo Wald of Haines.

Nikiski got its lone finalist when No. 3 Mayaac Schmit was able to make the final at 285 against Uatahouse Tuifua of Barrow.

Redington leads the Division II team scores with 98.5 points, while Kenai is hanging in at third with 85 points. Seward is eighth, Nikiski is 16th and Homer is 18th.

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