Soldotna’s Amanda Wylie grapples with Alaina Pete of Brevig Mission in the girls 160-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Amanda Wylie grapples with Alaina Pete of Brevig Mission in the girls 160-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

State wrestling: SoHi duo earns girls titles; Homer takes 3rd in DII meet

Soldotna freshman Trinity Donovan walked off the center mat in the cavernous Alaska Airlines Center as a newly minted girls state wrestling champion and pointed to the crowd. Her family was there to see her earn a state title in her first try, but that’s not why Donovan was tearing up.

Donovan’s win in the 145-pound final Saturday at the Alaska state wrestling tournament capped an emotional year she spent dealing with the loss of her stepfather Travis Stubblefield, who died in June 2018.

That tough loss in her life made the moment all the more special, and Donovan had her family there to see her triumph on the biggest stage in her life.

“It feels amazing,” Donovan said. “This is redemption for me.”

Donovan laid claim to the 145-pound title with a narrow 3-2 decision over Emily Bellant of North Pole, capping a 21-6 season for the high school rookie.

Stubblefield, a 48-year-old Soldotna resident, was killed last year in an altercation at a Kasilof residence. Donovan said his loss was tough for her family, but it made her all the more determined to overcome her longshot status to win.

“This is the first time my dad’s family, my grandparents on my dad’s side have watched me wrestle,” she said. “This is all for him.”

Donovan was later joined by teammate Amanda Wylie as state champions for SoHi. Wylie is a senior who also won her first state wrestling title on Saturday in the 160-pound final, and has served as a mentor to Donovan in the wrestling room at SoHi.

Wylie stood watching like a proud mother when Donovan won her match.

“I’ve been coaching her since middle school when she was my prodigy,” Wylie said.

The SoHi boys team came up short in pursuit of a state champion at the Division I tournament, finishing eighth in the team race, but the Stars still got two runner-up finishes with Dennis Taylor in the 152-pound final and Sean Babitt at 171 pounds. Colony won the team title with 333 points and South Anchorage finished second with 280. SoHi finished with 82.5 points.

At the Div. II meet, held in conjunction with the Div. I meet, the Homer Mariners finished third in the team race to lead all peninsula schools. Homer got two state champions with seniors Mose Hayes at 152 pounds and Anthony Kalugin at 189.

Bethel won the Div. II team crown with 191.5 points to beat Glennallen, which finished with 176. The Mariners ended with 118.5.

Kenai Central finished 13th in the team race with 57 points, while Nikiski finished 23rd with 23.5 points and Seward was 26th with 12 points. None were able to put wrestlers into Saturday’s finals.

Donovan and Wylie both came up through the club wrestling ranks competing for the Soldotna Whalers. Wylie got to know Donovan when the latter was in middle school.

Donovan also had to battle through her weight class as the fourth seed entering the weekend. With an uphill battle to climb, Donovan persevered and toppled the No. 1 seed Desarae Matheny of Lathrop in the semifinals Friday, then beat second-seeded Bellant in the final.

Later in the night, Wylie won the 160-pound final with a third-period pin on Alaina Pete of Brevig Mission.

Wylie said her personal style is to throw opponents on the mat. During the season, Wylie and Donovan have had countless hours practicing against each other, so when Donovan was faced with Bellant’s throws in the final, she was more than ready.

“I was like, ‘Bruh, you’re welcome’,” Wylie said. “She yells at me for throwing her in practice, but then she goes out there and knows how to defend that.”

Donovan said she had been beaten twice before by Bellant, dating back to middle school, so the pressure was high when she stepped out on the mat.

“I was just trying not to puke,” Donovan said. “I had a hard time breathing with my mouth guard. Once I circled around, I knew I had it.”

Wylie said Donovan’s victory prior to her own match provided plenty of inspiration.

“We work so hard in practice,” Wylie said. “We just kept pushing each other, and her winning right before me really hyped me up.”

Wylie was up 15-4 in the third round when she caught Pete in a pin with 33 seconds left in the match.

SoHi head coach Neldon Gardner said Wylie had to stay in control and rely on technical moves to win it, and it also helped that Pete gave away several points on violations.

“That match was pivotal so many times,” Gardner said. “We were sitting on pins and needles throughout that one.”

Taylor’s loss in the 152-pound Div. I boys match came to one of the state’s toughest competitors. With just one loss to his credit this year, Colony’s Vincent Cramer held control over Taylor in the final and won convincingly 14-5, but Gardner praised Taylor for testing Cramer as long as he did.

In the 171-pound final, Babitt lost 8-4 to Wasilla’s Colton Lindquist, who had just two losses to his name this year.

The Stars also got two teammates duking it out for fifth place at 140 pounds, and it was junior Zach Burns getting the better of his freshman teammate Hunter Richardson with a close 6-5 final. Burns capped his season at 29-8 overall.

At the Div. II level, the Kenai Kardinals were able to push three grapplers into Saturday’s finals, highlighted by Tucker Vann at 171 pounds. Vann won a 3-1 decision over Su-Valley’s Dalton Pinard in the third-place final to grab the bronze medal, one day after he was pinned by Sidney Fleming of Sitka in Friday’s semifinals. Vann capped his junior season with a 17-3 record.

Also for Kenai Central, freshman Owen Whicker took sixth at 112 pounds, losing a 4-2 decision to Grace Christian’s John Harris in the fifth-place final. At 215 pounds, junior Rocky Sherbahn took sixth place, losing a tight 11-9 decision in the fifth-place match to Isaac Joeky of Napaskiak.

Homer’s two state champions continued the recent success of the Mariners at the state meet. In addition to Hayes and Kalugin winning boys crowns, the Homer girls also finished with two state champions, getting victories from junior Sadie Blake and senior Rayanna Vigil. The Mariners finished third in the girls team race with 76 points, while North Pole took the title with 112 points and Lathrop finished second with 98.

Fresh off a fifth straight Kachemak Conference title, Homer assistant coach Chris Perk said the Mariners weren’t able to pack enough wrestlers in the finals and consolation rounds, while Bethel and Glennallen had the depth to duke it out between themselves.

Perk said the weekend still had its moments for the Mariners.

“Rayana has been so powerful all year and she wrestled great,” Perk said. “Anthony had a rematch with his opponent, and sometimes that’ll motivate you, and he just went out there and pinned him … for Mose it’s just consistency, because he’ll just give you his best effort every day.”

Hayes state title at 152 pounds was the second of his prep career, following up on the one he earned as a sophomore in 2017. Hayes fell short of a repeat championship last year, so Saturday’s return to the top step of the podium was satisfying.

Hayes dominated the final 17-3 over Adam Jockusch of Eielson, capping a 27-1 senior campaign.

“The first time (winning at state) I was more of the underdog,” Hayes explained. “So this year I was more comfortable with it.”

Kalugin’s championship at 189 pounds came with force as the Homer senior took 1:43 to pin Kael Gerlach of Glennallen, putting a period on a 28-4 campaign. The state title was the first of Kalugin’s prep career, which includes three seasons with Voznesenka. Kalugin competed for the Homer wrestling team this season after the Voznesenka program closed.

Blake won the 125-pound title with an 8-3 decision over Ketchikan’s Ada Odden to cap a 23-1 season, while Vigil won the 189-pound crown by beating Kiley Clouse of Dillingham with a pin in the second round, putting a bow on an undefeated season (16-0).

Homer also put several wrestlers in the boys consolation rounds — junior Austin Cline took fourth at 119 pounds, losing the third-place match by an 8-4 decision to Dillingham’s Demetry Hoseth, freshman Russell Nyvall finished fourth at 125 pounds, pinned by Zach Kolbe of Dillingham in the third-place match, and junior Afony Reutov took fifth at 135 pounds, pinning Grace Christian’s Kenan Metzger in his last match.

Nikiski only placed one wrestler in the top six, as junior Koleman McCaughey earned fifth place with a third-round pin on Wrangell’s Rowen Wiederspohn in the fifth-place match. McCaughey rounded out his junior campaign with a 26-11 record.

Seward’s Marcus Lastimosa was the lone state placer, taking sixth place at 285 pounds after a 7-3 loss to Ayden Alstrom-Beans of St. Mary’s in the fifth-place final. The Seward sophomore finished 16-9 this season.

State wrestling

At the Alaska Airlines Center, Anchorage

Division I

Team standings — 1. Colony, 333 points; 2. South, 280; 3. Lathrop, 246; 4. Palmer, 137; 5. East, 133.5; 6. Wasilla, 130.5; 7. Thunder Mountain, 98; 8. Soldotna, 82.5; 9. West Valley, 69; 10. West, 65; 11. North Pole, 52; 12. Ketchikan, 46.5; 13. Chugiak, 37.5; 14. Eagle River, 21; 15. Service, 16; 16. Bartlett, 8; 17. Dimond, 6; 18. Kodiak, 6.

Championship matches

103 — Benjamin Pope, Eas, 7-1 dec. Andrew Killian-Dalrymple, Lat; 112 — Roberto Lechuga-Porras, Lat, 13-1 MD Caleb O’Hara, Eas; 119 — Aedyn Concepcion, Sou, 7-1 dec. Alexander Logsdon, Was; 125 — Simon Keffalos, Sou, pin 3:52 Jahrease Mays, Thm; 130 — Octavius McCleskey, Eas, 9-4 dec. Darinn Peterson, NP; 135 — Jared Hopkins, Col, pin 3:30 Niko Mayo, Sou; 140 — Theo Cha, Sou, 3-2 dec. Aidan Ehmann, Col; 145 — Kobe Ames, Lat, 12-2 MD Riley Harris, Sou; 152 — Vincent Cramer, Col, 14-5 MD Dennis Taylor, Sol; 160 — Brandon DeYarmon, Sou, 3-0 dec. Josiah Opp, Lat; 171 — Colton Lindquist, Was, 8-4 dec. Sean Babitt, Sol; 189 — Daniel Niebles, Chu, 10-2 MD Nick Tipton, Thm; 215 — Kelton Mock, Wes, 7-6 dec. Macarius Floresta, Col; 285 — Jackson Moore, Sou, 3-1 dec. Shaun Conwell, WV.

3rd-place

103 — Evan Holmes, Col, 8-5 dec. Ashton Volkman, Eas; 112 — Adam Concepcion, Sou, 8-3 dec. Elijah Larsen, Col; 119 — Jeremy Bockert, Col, MD 10-1 Carter Silva, Col; 125 — Colton Parduhn, Lat, 7-3 dec. TJ Clapp, Col; 130 — Garrett Blydenburgh, Pal, 2-0 dec. Kayden Payne, Col; 135 — Payton Portney, Pal, pin 3:34 Rett Gallagher, Col; 140 — William Poland, Lat, 6-1 dec. Niles Williams, Was; 145 — Sterling Uhlenhake, Was, pin 3:23 Isaac Coon, WV; 152 — Antonio Woodfork, Pal, 8-4 dec. Zac Loutzenhiser, Col; 160 — Jalen Tosten, Col, pin 2:55 Tanner Thornhill, Col; 171 — Jackson Acree, Pal, 9-5 dec. Landis Erwin, Col; 189 — Camryn Binning, SV 6-4 Ethan Bleakney, Pal; 215 — Ikaika Vaivai, Eas, 6-3 dec. Mason Wurst, Sou; 285 — Jacob Ferster, Thm, 6-0 dec. Daniel Van Slyke, Col.

5th-place

103 — Jerzy Ritz, Col, pin 2:46 Carson Cummins, Thm; 112 — Dylan Shaw, Sou, 1-0 dec. Elyle Francisco, Eas; 119 — Dimitri Larson, Wes, pin 4:12 Isaac Pang, Wes; 125 — Garrett Bourne, Lat, 7-4 dec. Kai Biagi, Ket; 130 — Aaron Johnson, Lat, 5-4 dec. Chad Hakala, Sou; 135 — Owen Manley, Pal, 12-4 MD Samuel Logsdon, Was; 140 — Zach Burns, Sol, 6-5 dec. Hunter Richardson, Sol; 145 — Deshawn Campbell, Was, 10-4 dec. Jayden Christianson, Pal; 152 — Jedi Patzke, Sou, pin 4:42 Kyle Stolz, NP; 160 — Jesse Schnabel, WV, 2-0 dec. James Salter, ER; 171 — Sage Martin, Lat, pin 0:18 Joshua Zong, Ser; 189 — Mark Fisher, NP, 4-2 dec. Colton Copelin, Wes; 215 — Camden Erickson, Thm, forf. Sean Michel, Lat; 285 — Noah Curtis, Lat, pin 1:52 Tyler Linder, Pal.

Division II

Team standings — 1. Bethel, 191.5 points; 2. Glennallen, 176; 3. Homer, 118.5; 4. Redington, 113; 5. Dillingham, 111; 6. Sitka, 92; T7. Craig, 87; T7. Grace Christian, 87; T7. Mt. Edgecumbe, 87; 10. Eielson, 85; 11. Wrangell, 80; 12. Nome, 62.5; 13. Kenai Central, 57; 14. Petersburg, 54.5; 15. Unalaska, 54; 16. Napaskiak, 34.5; 17. Houston, 34; 18. ACS, 31.5; 19. Barrow, 30; 20. Haines, 29; 21. Kotzebue, 28; 22. Savoonga, 24; 23. Nikiski, 23.5; 24. Su-Valley, 17; 25. New Stuyahok, 16; T26. Delta, 12; T26. Seward, 12; T28. Noatak, 10; T28. St. Mary’s, 10; T28. Stebbins, 10; 31. Emmonak, 9; T32. Hutchison, 7; T32. Scammon Bay, 7; T32. St. Michael, 7; T35. Bristol Bay, 5; T35. Nunapitchuk, 5; T35. Valdez, 5; T38. Gambell, 4; T38. Kivalina, 4; 40. Shishmaref, 3; T41. Aniak, 1; T41. Galena, 1; T41. Shaktoolik.

Championship matches

103 — Axel Madson, Bet, pin 0:25 Riesen Seyer, Hou; 112 — Landon Smith, Bet, pin 1:42 Darius Tilden, Dill; 119 — Keegan Delaquito, Gle, pin 2:53 Jonah Comstock, Wra; 125 — Jordan Korth, Gle, 5-2 dec. Ryan Rooney, Wra; 130 — Alex Buck, Gle, pin 3:58 Boston Postishek, Red; 135 — Nelson Evans, Bet, pin 5:42 Emilio Mangrobang, ME; 140 — Jude Merriner, Gra, 7-1 dec. Joshua Baird, Eie; 145 — Aengus Bancroft, Gle, 4-3 dec. Blaine Henning, Una; 152 — Mose Hayes, Hom, 17-3 MD Adam Jockusch, Eie; 160 — Hayden Lieb, Bet, TF 15-0 Kole Sperl, Pet; 171 — Wayland Patten, Cra, 7-3 dec. Sidney Fleming, Sit; 189 — Anthony Kalugin, Hom, pin 1:43 Kael Gerlach, Gle; 215 — Wesley Verhamme, Hai, 11-1 MD Nephi Tidwell, Eie; 285 — Nicholas Liomaiava, Bar, pin 3:56 Haley Osborne, ME.

3rd-place

103 — Wyatt Williams, Dill, TB 6-4 Justin Dick, Red; 112 — Colton Ewers, Sit, 15-3 MD Thomas Hannon, Nom; 119 — Demetry Hoseth, Dill, 8-4 dec. Austin Cline, Hom; 125 — Zach Kolbe, Dill, pin 1:33 Russell Nyvall, Hom; 130 — JJ Marble, Nom, 5-1 dec. Matt Bohlman, ACS; 135 — Charles Severance, Red, pin 4:12 Curtis Jeppesen, Una; 140 — Gavin Metcalf, Red, 10-1 MD Luke Hofacker, ACS; 145 — Elden Cross, Nom, 9-4 dec. Timber Patten, Cra; 152 — Austin Cramer, Gle, 9-5 dec. Hunter Wiederspohn, Wra; 160 — Andrew Beveridge, Gra, 6-2 dec. Luke Wegand, Cra; 171 — Tucker Vann, Ken, 3-1 dec. Dalton Pinard, SuV; 189 — Colten Hink, Dill, pin 3:53 John Welsh, Sit; 215 — Derek Seppilu, Sav, 11-7 dec. Max Johnson, Sit; 285 — Ulric Lehman, Cra, pin 4:49 Hunter Littlefield, Sit.

5th-place

103 — Payton Metcalf, Red, 13-0 MD Merrick Nilsen, Pet; 112 — John Harris, Gra, 4-2 dec. Owen Whicker, Ken; 119 — Stephen Maxie, Nap, inj. Tyson Olsen, ME; 125 — Tyler Laraux, Bet, 8-4 dec. Ajey Moses, ME; 130 — Lloydy Ayojiak, ME, 1-0 dec. John Esnardo, Una; 135 — Afony Reutov, Hom, pin 2:11 Kenan Metzger, Gra; 140 — Isaiah Hoffman, Gle, pin 3:00 Terrell Jimmy, Bet; 145 — Ryan Troyer, Kot, pin 4:00 Jamin Crow, Bet; 152 — Logan Crotts, Gra, 2-0 dec. Harrisen Wall, Eie; 160 — Stephan Anderson, 11-5 dec. John B. Charles, Emm; 171 — Koleman McCaughey, Nik, pin 4:10 Rowen Wiederspohn, Wra; 189 — Kevin Valadez, Bet, 4-2 dec. Garrison Koutchak, Ste; 215 — Isaac Joeky, Nap, 11-9 dec. Rocky Sherbahn, Ken; 285 — Ayden Alstrom-Beans, StM, 7-3 dec. Marcus Lastimosa, Sew.

Girls

Team standings — 1. North Pole, 112 points; 2. Lathrop, 98; 3. Homer, 76; 4. Bethel, 67.5; 5. Kodiak, 67; 6. Ketchikan, 67; 7. Mt. Edgecumbe, 61; 8. Soldotna, 55.5; 9. East, 51.5; 10. Dillingham, 51; 11. Wrangell, 45; 12. Colony, 34; 13. Petersburg, 33; T14. Palmer, 31; T14. Scammon Bay, 31; T14. West, 31; 17. Eagle River, 29; 18. South, 25; T19. Eielson, 24; T19. Newhalen, 24; T19. Nome, 24. 22. Brevig Mission, 23; 23. Chevak, 22.5; 24. Cordova, 21.5; 25. Unalakleet, 18; T26. Redington, 17; T26. Valdez, 17; 28. Unalaska, 14; 29. Bartlett, 12; 30. Hutchison, 11; 31. Kotzebue, 10; 32. Wasilla, 8; T33. Metlakatla, 7; T33. West Valley, 7; 35. Alakanuk, 6; 36. Barrow, 4; T36. Service, 4; T36. Seward, 4; 39. Bristol Bay, T39; Nunapitchuk, 3; T39. Stebbins, 3; 42. Selawik, 2.

Championship matches

103 — Thresa Savo, Col, SV 6-4 Jamiezon Garcia, Eas; 112 — Elizabeth Schumaker, NP, 9-4 dec. Ashley Andrews, ER; 119 — Liana Carney, Wra, pin 2:52 Autumn Poland, Lat; 125 — Sadie Blake, Hom, 8-3 dec. Ada Odden, Ket; 130 — Hayley Gilson, Ket, 4-3 dec. Aileen Lester, New; 135 — Danielle Johnson, Lat, 5-3 dec. Emily Lorring, Kod; 145 — Trinity Donovan, Sol, 3-2 dec. Emily Bellant, NP; 160 — Amanda Wylie, Sol, pin 5:27 Alaina Pete, BM; 189 — Rayana Vigil, Hom, pin 3:22 Kiley Clouse, Dill; 235 — Debranna Bealer, Eie, 1-0 dec. Maggie Miller, ME.

3rd-place

103 — Kaylana Keith, Lat, pin 2:59 Michelle Atcherian, Che; 112 — Trinity Pendergrass, Pal, SV 7-5 Natallie Tobuk, Nom; 119 – Olivia Troxell, Kod, pin 2:48 Tatiana Green, Eas; 125 — Janice Dykes, NP, 14-7 dec. Ruby Massin, Pet; 130 — Maysa Brown, ME, 7-6 dec. Dakota Darby, NP; 135 — Lindsey Beans-Polk, Bet, pin 2:06 Jamie Early, Wra; 145 — Rebecca Samuelson, Bet, SV 5-3 Desarae Matheny, Lat; 160 — Hanna Finley, Kod, 7-4 dec. Dakota Magnuson, ME; 189 — Jayleen Sekona, Sou, pin 2:57 Lexi Ivanoff, Una; 235 — Jana Allen, Val, TB 4-1 Megan Parrish, NP.

5th-place

103 — Deirdre Toyomura, Pet, pin 1:55 Cadence Cedars, Bet; 112 — Carson Adams, Wes, 14-7 dec. Jean Krause, Dill; 119 — Macara Kobernuss, NP, pin 4:37 Ruby McCue, Ket; 125 — Anika Witsoe, Cor, pin 3:41 Kaitlynne Rice, Hut; 130 — Theresa Meatas, Eas, SV 3-1 Jaron Mute, Bet; 135 — Reagan Finkenbinder, Dill, forf. Rachel Kaganek, Sca; 145 — Jakira Starks, Bar, 3-1 dec. Trinity Hopkins, Was; 160 — Halle Savage, Una, 7-5 dec. Twyla Anderstrom, Red; 189 — Thereisa Vaafuti, Wes, forf. Shyanne Kopanuk, Sca; 235 — Alizae Brown, Pal, 6-5 dec. Jacquelune DeMers, ER.

Homer’s Mose Hayes challenges Eielson’s Adam Jockusch in the Division II boys 152-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Mose Hayes challenges Eielson’s Adam Jockusch in the Division II boys 152-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Dennis Taylor battles Colony’s Vincent Cramer in the Division I boys 152-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Dennis Taylor battles Colony’s Vincent Cramer in the Division I boys 152-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Trinity Donovan is crowned the champion of the girls 145-pound division Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Trinity Donovan is crowned the champion of the girls 145-pound division Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Trinity Donovan wrestles Emily Bellant of North Pole in the girls 145-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Trinity Donovan wrestles Emily Bellant of North Pole in the girls 145-pound final Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the ASAA State Wrestling Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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