The Northern Lights Conference wrestling championships at Colony High School proved to be a home show for the home crowd.
The Colony Knights emerged as the dominant winners Saturday with 501 points, nearly twice as much as the second-place Soldotna Stars. The Knights made their mark in the finals with nine champions out of 14 weight classes, and had five finals filled with two Colony finalists.
Soldotna finished a distant second behind Colony, prevailing in a tight battle for second as the Stars tallied 264.5 points to beat out Wasilla with 250 and Palmer with 238.
On the girls side, SoHi won the team title with 48 points, besting the 42 that runner-up Kodiak collected.
The top five wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the Division I state tournament next weekend.
SoHi head coach Neldon Gardner said the Stars left happy with a runner-up boys result, but also lamented the loss of five seniors on the team that didn’t wrestle this weekend. That included defending state champion Aaron Faletoi, who was a heavy favorite to repeat this year before a hand injury earlier this week kept him from making the NLC tournament and the state field next week.
Gardner said the potential points from those seniors would have made the team race much closer.
“The way they would’ve scored could’ve been a difference of 120 points for us,” Gardner said. “So you add that for us and then subtract that from Colony … you do the math.
“It would’ve been a really close battle.”
SoHi emerged with two region titles — freshman Scott Michael at 125 pounds and junior Sean Babitt at 171. Babitt later received Outstanding Wrestler of the meet for pinning the top two seeded competitors ahead of him en route to the title.
“He came out on fire,” Gardner said about Babitt. “He’s just a super hard-working kid, he doesn’t get rattled. He won the (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) world title so he’s been to the big show, and knows what it’s like.”
Babitt pinned Colony’s Landis Erwin in the 171-pound final for the first region title of his career, while Michael escaped with a 9-8 decision over Palmer’s Aiden Corbridge in the 125-pound final.
SoHi also placed two other boys in the finals with junior Zach Burns taking second at 140 pounds and junior Dennis Taylor taking the silver at 152.
On the girls side, the Stars secured region titles from senior Vydell Baker at 125 pounds, freshman Trinity Donovan at 145 and senior Amanda Wylie at 160. All three wrestlers pinned their opponents in the finals.
“Those three girls just worked hard and came together and wrestled well this weekend,” he said.
Wylie’s title was the fourth of her career, capping an undefeated run through high school at the conference tournament.
Northern Lights Conference Championships
Friday-Saturday, Colony High School
Team scores — 1. Colony 501, 2. Soldotna 264.5, 3. Wasilla 250; 4. Palmer 238; 5. Kodiak 47.5
103 — E. Holmes Col won by fft J. Ritz, Col; 112 — E. Larson, Col t.f. J. Reynolds, Col 17-2; 119 — A. Logsdon, Was m.d. C. Silva, Col 12-1; 125 — S. Michael, Sol d. A. Corbridge, Pal 9-8; 130 — K. Payne, Col d. G. Blydenburgh, Pal 4-0; 135 — J. Hopkins, Col d. R. Gallagher, Col 10-5; 140 — A. Ehmann, Col t.f. Z. Burns, Sol 17-2; 145 — S. Uhlenhake, Was p. J. Christiansen, Pal 1:36; 152 — V. Cramer, Col p. D. Taylor, Sol 3:30; 160 — J. Tosten, Col d. T. Thornhill, Col 15-8; 171 — S. Babitt, Sol p. L. Erwin, Col 3:44; 189 — E. Bleakney, Pal m.d. P. Long, Pal 13-6; 215 — M. Floresta, Col d. J. Palmer, Was 6-4; 285 — D. Van Slyke, Col p. C. Ogle, Col 1:29.
103 — E. Allen, Was p. S. MacMaster Sol 0:27; 112 — H. Secor, Sol t.f. S. Secor, Sol 15-0; 119 — E. Miller, Sol p. C. Henry, Col 1:44; 125 —T. Clapp, Col t.f. C. Jasper, Was 16-1; 130 — I. Chavarria, Sol p. J. Brown, Sol 2:12; 135 — O. Manley, Pal d. P. Portney, Pal 6-5; 140 — N. Williams, Was p. H. Richardson, Sol 3:22; 145 — D. Campbell, Was won by fft E. Kraus, Col; 152 — Z. Loutzenhiser, Col d. A. Woodfork, Pal 5-4; 160 — A. Engebretsen, Was p. G. Mason, Pal 2:54; 171 — C. Lindquist, Was p. J. Acree, Pal 3:35; 189 —C. Binning, Col m.d. G. Harrington, Was 8-0; 215 — C. Roberts, Col p. L. Frank, Pal 4:21; G. Aderman, Pal d. D. Zurflueh, Kod 5-3.
103 — A. Luecken, Was won by fft; 112 — E. Schumacher, Was d. C. Trouy, Was 12-7; 119 — R. Madden, Sol p. C. Corbridge, Pal 4:44; 125 — G. Roberts, Kod t.f. J. Bordelon, Sol 18-1; 130 — G. Lorring, Kod d. C. Hernandez, Col 6-4; 135 — S. Logsdon, Was d. E. Land, Sol 10-5; 140 — F. Elvsaas, Was t.f. L. Plummer, Pal 15-0; 145 — K. Asay, Pal d. C. Feito, Col 10-9; 152 — G. Beaudon, Was d. B. Keeney, Was 5-4 SV; 160 — A. Willets, Sol p. J. Henley, Sol 0:26; 171 — K. Connaker, Col p. L. Peltier, Pal 0:16;189 — D. Johnson, Col d. D. Vroman, Was 8-4 SV; 215 — I. Harper, Kod p. L. Katzenburger, Sol 4:13; M. Rogers, Sol p. T. Lindor, Pal 0:45.