Kenai Central wrestler Paul Steffensen capped off a sterling freshman campaign with a Class 4A state championship in the 126-pound weight class Saturday at Bartlett High School.
Steffensen pinned his way to the championship, getting four pins in four total matches over Friday and Saturday combined, and finished his first high school year with a 36-0 record.
“He had probably the best days of wrestling in his life,” Kenai coach and father Stan Steffensen said. “It’s great, they work super hard, and you get to see their reward for hard work.”
Ultimately, Paul had to face the same wrestler he did in the Northern Lights Conference 126-pound championship a week ago — Jay-Ar Small of Kodiak. Last week, Steffensen topped Small in an 8-1 match.
Steffensen pulled off the win again, getting the pin with 21 seconds left in Saturday’s state final.
“He scrambled there, and shot in for a takedown,” Stan described. “He ended up getting (Small) in a neck whip, and put a ‘Superman’ on him.”
Paul’s brother, Ellery, made it to the 145-pound championship round, but a second state title for the Kenai junior was not in the cards.
On Friday, Ellery had two pins and a technical fall en route to the championship round, but was upset by East’s Anthony Sierra, who pinned Steffensen with 10 seconds to go in the match. Steffensen closed his junior year out with an 8-1 record.
Also, Kyle Hunter finished fourth for the Kardinals in the 182-pound division. After losing his opening day match on Friday, Hunter worked his way through four consolation matches and into the third-place match, where he lost in a 6-4 decision to Riley Frederickson of Colony, the same wrestler Hunter lost to last week in the Northern Lights Conference final.
Soldotna’s Atom Skiba (113 pounds) won his first consolation round match 8-2 over Wasilla’s Anthony Torres before dropping out of the running, and Hunter Bourgeois won his first consolation round match 16 seconds into the third round on an injury default, before dropping out on his next match.
Saturday at Bartlett High School
98 pounds — Bryce Adams, Col, dec. Val Shuman, Wes, 8-2; 106 — Greg Shack, Sou, pinned Brandon Abbott, Was, 3:22; 113 — Joel Valdez, Kod, inj. Matt Glover, Sou, 2:27; 120 — Brennan Girard, Eas, dec. Andrew Caballa, Kod, 10-6; 126 — Paul Steffensen, Ken, pinned Jay-Ar Small, Kod, 5:39; 132 — Rami Pellumbi, Sou, dec. Joshua Fetko, Ser, 6-5; 138 — Kraig Hammond, Sou, tech. fall Gavin Arnold, ERi, 17-2; 145 — Anthony Sierra, Eas, pinned Ellery Steffensen, Ken, 5:50; 152 — Nate McKimson, Was, pinned Robert Huffer, Chu, 5:36; 160 — Joe Dickinson, Lat, dec. Tyler Thammavongsa, Ser, 8-4; 170 — Cesar Guzman, Eas, dec. Xavier Horton, ERi, 5-3; 182 — Leroy Elliot, Wes, dec. Jacob Wharton, Lat, 3-2; 195 — Kerry Powers, Kod, dec. Caleb Deemer, Pal, 1-0; 220 — Ben Button, Pal, OT Quace Wright, Was, 6-5; 285 — Ben Davis, NP, OT Leo Sega, Kod, 3-2.
98 — Dillon Simpson, Was, tech. fall Val Shuman, Wes, 4:10; 106 — Berit Sturgeon, Was, pinned Yuto Ohki, Kod, 4:52; 113 — Chace Booth, Col, maj. dec. Weston Martin, Sou, 9-0; 120 — Andrew Hendrix, Lat, pinned Marcus Martin, Ket, 4:58; 126 — Gavin Alvarado, Sou, dec. Aaron Molesky, Pal, 3-2; 132 — Mason Cochran, Pal, tech. fall Dew Rogers, NP, 5:00; 138 — Robert Haan, Col, maj. dec. Conal Eager, Lat, 9-1; 145 — Nick Ottum, Sou, tech. fall Joe Fricilone, WV, 4:03; 152 — Kamber Lucas, Col, dec. Wade Booth, Col, 8-5; 160 — DJ Morrow, Was, dec. David Best, NP, 8-2; 170 — Emetrius McLeod, Ser, pinned Chance Boatman, Was, 2:52; 182 — Riley Fredrickson, Col, dec. Kyle Hunter, Ken, 6-4; 195 — Ed Hall, ERi, pinned Josh Miller, WV, 2:17; 220 — Zech Rockstad, Was, maj. dec. Lui Fa’amasino, Wes, 12-4; 285 — Brian Thompson, Pal, dec. Keanu King, Eas, 10-5.
98 — Oscar Garcia, Bar, pinned Bruce Hill, Was, :48; 106 — Zx Dio Abobon, Bar, forf.; 113 — Slava Hoffman, Ser, maj. dec. Trevor Wutzke, Ket, 10-0; 120 — Noah Ottum, Sou, dec. Bryan McKimson, Was, 3-1; 126 — Andrew Concepcion, Sou, dec. Samuel Wolff, Was, 9-7; 132 — Dawson Nash, Col, dec. Aaron Rohr, Kod, 10-3; 138 — Dustin Holta, Chu, dec. Westen Wall, Was, 6-4; 145 — Spencer Adams, Col, maj. dec. Cameron Eide, NP, 10-2; 152 — David Jutila, NP, dec. Joshua Noe, Sou, 9-5; 160 — Gabe McSharry, Sou, dec. Hunter Molesky, Pal, 4-1; 170 — Jack Dickinson, Lat, inj. Josh Yavorsky, Kod, :00; 182 — Abraham Falegoatai, Wes, dec. Nate Fousel, Ket, 8-4; 195 — Billy Schultz, Was, maj. dec. Robert Williams, Ket, 12-0; 220 — Ian MacKenzie, Col, forf. Richard Burroughs, Chu; 285 — Nicholas Stevens, Ser, inj. Mitchell Daigle, Col, :00.