Warriors nail down second straight state wrestling title
The Nikiski Bulldogs had the house. The Bethel Regional High School Warriors brought the house down.
Bethel, spearheaded by a solid effort from its entire roster, nailed down its second straight Class 1A-2A-3A state wrestling championship on Saturday evening by putting the finishing touches on a magical season. The Warriors rolled up 188 points and easily outdistanced Dillingham and Nikiski for the overall team crown.
With the win, Bethel completed one of the better seasons on Alaska wrestling history. The Warriors finished no lower than second in any meet this season, including first in the Great Alaska Conference.
The win also extended the Warriors’ run of dominance. Paced by coached Darren Lieb and Courtney Geerdts, Bethel has won each of the last two state wrestling championships, and finished second the two prior seasons.
Dillingham finished second in the final team standings. The Wolverines scored 151.5 points and edged out Nikiski by one point. Valdez and Kotzebue finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Marjus Kuqo and Trevour Chavez highlighted the Warriors’ second championship by nailing down gold medals in their respective weight divisions. Both posted perfect 4-0 records and claimed easy wins in the championship round.
Kuqo, who amassed 26 total points in the meet, opened the tournament with a flurry. After posting a pin of Skyview’s Kyle Zimmerman in the first round in just under two minutes, he hit stride. Kuqo beat Kotzebue’s Sam Atkinson via a pin at the 2:28 mark to earn a berth in the 145-pound semifinals.
The No. 1-ranked wrestler in the 145-pound division, Kuqo earned a 7-0 victory over Valdez’s Michael Ace in the semis, and then claimed a 5-3 win over Anelon’s Tyler Anelon to claim the 145-pound crown.
Brandon Oulton also helped Bethel in the 145-pound ranks. He went 1-2 and finished with three points.
Chavez, like Kuqo, was without equal in the 160-pound division.
Chavez netted an easy win over Barrow’s Trace Hudson in the first round, and then disposed of Nikiski’s Morgan Sauve via a pin in the second round. In the semifinals, Chavez claimed a majority decision by scoring a 9-0 win over Anthony Minnillo of Thorne Bay. In the championship round, Chavez overpowered Nikiski standout Corey Green, winning by an 8-2 clip. Chavez finished the tournament with 27 points.
The Warriors just missed adding to their gold medal collection as Brayton Lieb and Timothy Robb both finished second in their weight classes.
Lieb went 3-1 in the 152-pound division. The BRHS standout opened the tournament with a bang. He pinned Quinhagak’s Charlie Roberts at the 3:38 mark. From there, he posted wins over Yakutat’s Jacob Taylor and Dillingham’s Clayton Rolf to set up a showdown of the state’s top two grapplers in the championship match. No. 1-rated Kaden Spurgeon of Nikiski opposed Lieb in the 152-pound finals, and escaped with a tough 7-3 victory.
Robb, who entered the tournament as the No. 2-ranked wrestler in his weight class, finished second in the 285-pound division, falling in the championship round to Mt. Edgecumbe’s Jaylin Prince of Kotlik, last year’s state champion.
Robb began his efforts with a pin of Klawock’s Daniel Kennedy. From there, he wrestled his way to wins over Aniak’s Jonathan Wilson in the second round, and Niksiki’s Henry Eide in the semifinals.
Wilson rallied back from the win. He paced Aniak to a 26th-place finish on the team standings by taking a win over Yakutat’s Dakota Ekis in the fifth-place match.
Wilson finished the tournament with a 4-2 record.
Lieb tallied 22 of the Warriors’ overall team points. Robb accumulated 20 points.
Daylen Westdahl also did well in the 285-pound division. He went 1-2 overall, including a pin of Metlakatla’s Marty Vera that earned him three points.
Evan Dyment and Josh Mendenhall both turned in solid performances in their brackets and nailed down third-place finishes.
Dyment starred in the 106-pound division. After opening the meet with back-to-back wins, he advanced to the semifinals before suffering a loss to eventual silver medalist Brettlyn Reich of Kotzebue.
He rebounded from the loss in grand style, pinning Unalaska’s Alex Magalong in just 2:02 to earn a berth in the third-place match. In the finals of the consolation side, he needed just 49 seconds to pin Anchorage Christian’s Wesley Gilroy.
Mendenhall was third in the 113-pound classification, going 4-1. After pinning Grace Christian’s Jeremy Schild in the first round of action, Mendenhall rolled into the semifinals with a dominating 16-2 decision over Nikiski’s Dakota Neely. Mendenhall’s luck didn’t hold out, however. In the semifinals he suffered a narrow 6-3 loss to eventual 113-pound champion Tanner Thain.
The BRHS standout answered back, however. He pounded out an impressive 10-0 win over Neely in the third-place matchup.
Avery Chiklak also scored for Bethel in the 113-pound ranks. He netted two points with a win over Chevak’s Jo Bukowski. Overall, Chiklak went 1-2 at the tournament.
Breydon Chavez and Keanu King also turned in stellar efforts at the tournament. Chavez was fourth in the 195-pound division, while King finished fourth in the 220-pound ranks.
Seward’s Sam Rininger earned the third-place honors in the 195-pound classification when Chavez was sidelined with an injury.
Dillingham’s Dustin Braswell edged out King for third in the 220-pound standings. Chavez and King combined to score 36 of the Warriors’ points.
J. Bruce Crow also scored for Bethel in the 220-pouund bracket. He finished with four points via a second-round win over Skyview’s Jacob Lawson.
Bethel also collected points from several other grapplers during the tournament, including Carlie McIntyre, Christof Swope, Luan Dema and Martin Oulton. McIntyre and Swope tallied three points, while Dema and Oulton netted one each.
Voted Outstanding Wrestler for 2011 was Jared Miller of Dillingham who is the 126lb. champion.
ASAA/First National Bank Class 1-2-3A state wrestling Team Scores
1) Bethel 188, 2) Dillingham 151.5, 3) Nikiski 150.5, 4) Valdez 143, 5) Kotzebue 123, 6) Mt. Edgecumbe 116, 7) Sitka 77.5, 8) Skyview 74, 9) Nome 73, 10) Houston 66.5, 11) Craig 61, 12) Seward 55.5, 13) Cordova 42, 14) Homer 42, 15) Wrangell 41, 16) Anchorage Christian 38.5, 17) Unalaska 31, 18) Hutchison 29, 19) Newhalen 29, 20) Eielson 28.5, 21) New Stuyahok 28, 22) tie, Glennallen and Grace Christian 26, 24) Thorne Bay 19.5, 25) Metlakatla 19, 26) Aniak 16, 27) tie, Barrow and Yakutat 14, 29) tie, Galena and King Cove 12, 31) Pelican 11, 32) Haines 8, 33) tie, Petersburg, Stebbins and Unalakleet 6, 36) tie, Chevak, Kake and Napaskiak 4; 39) Gambell 3, 40) Hoonah 2, 41) Hydaburg 1.
106 - Darin Davis (Sitka) d. Brettlyn Reich (Kotzebue), 6-5. 113 - Tanner Thain (Craig) d. Kiefer Groeneveld (Valdez), 3-2. 120 - Emery Booshu (Nome) d. Gabe Cabrera (Nome), 6-5. 126 - Jared Miller (Dillingham) d. Dion Williams (Nome), 8-3. 132 - Will Patrick (Sitka) d. Scott Hansen (Kotzebue), 4-3. 138 - Isaac Deaton (Valdez), d. Cade Schlagel (Dillingham), 4-1. 145 - Marjus Kuqo (Bethel) d. Tyler Anelon (Newhalen), 5-3. 152 - Kaden Spurgeon (Nikiski) d. Brayton Lieb (Bethel), 7-3. 160 - Trevour Chavez (Bethel) d. Corey Green (Nikiski), 8-2. 170 - Justin Allen (Valdez) d. Matt Adams (Cordova), 9-4. 182 - Lincoln Johnson (Nikiski) p. Shyler Johnson (Mt. Edgecumbe), 2:35). 195 - Travis Tungiung (New Stuyahok) d. Tom Hoseth (Dillingham), 11-8). 220 - Luke Wagner (Houston) d. Paul Johanson (Mt. Edgecumbe), 4-2 OT. 285 - Jaylin Prince (Mt. Edgecumbe) p. Timothy Robb (Bethel), 4:53.
106 - Evan Dyment (Bethel) p. Wesley Gilroy (ACS), :49; 113 - Josh Mendenhall (Bethel) m.d. Dakota Neely (Nikiski), 10-0. 120 - Anthony Walsh (Grace Christian) d. David Town (Valdez), 5-1. 126 - Jed Wilde (Seward) d. Cody Gilroy (ACS), 8-6 OT. 132 - Austin Rake (Valdez) d. Sam Janorschke (Skyview), 4-0). 138 - Doug O`Hara (Kotzebue) d. Noah Roetman (Kotzebue), 3-1. 145 - Michael Ace (Valdez) d. Josh Brown (Nikiski), 6-4 OT. 152 - Clayton Rolf (Dillingham) p. Devon Phillips (Kotzebue), 2:48. 160 - Anthony Minnillo (Thorne Bay) d. Mark McGregor (Homer), 7-6. 170 - Michael Matthew (Mt. Edgecumbe) m.d. Jake Davis (Houston), 12-3). 182 - Alex Rodriquez (Skyview) p. Jay Balcom (Craig), 1:08. 195 - Sam Rininger (Seward) 4-1 won by injury default over Breydon Chavez (Bethel). 220 - Justin Braswell (Dillingham) p. Keanu King (Bethel), 3:06. 285 - Henry Eide (Nikiski) p. Jon Alexander (Skyview), 5:31.
106 - Dakota Gardner (Eielson) p. Alec Magalong (Unalaska), 1:14. 113 - Tylor Handley (Nikiski) t.f. Terrance Anogiak (Seward), 23-8). 120 - Nate Ezell (Eielson) d. Willie Brand (Craig), 8-3). 126 - Jaren Sumauang (Sitka) won by injury default over Caj Rohrer (Valdez). 132 - Josh Roetman (Kotzebue) m.d. Keefe McIntosh (Valdez), 14-2). 138 - Kurt Dingwall (Wrangell) p. Dennis Wilson (Dillingham), 5:48). 145 - Tanner Thomassen (Wrangell) d. Sam Atkinson (Kotzebue), 6-5. 152 - Gabe Simple (Galena) m.d. Rudy Martinez (Hutchison), 9-0. 160 - Sonny Flensburg (Dillingham) p. Mason Kimber (Cordova), 2:38. 170 - Mitchell Boord (Sitka) d. Devon Miller (Wrangell), 5-3). 182 - Mick Wells (Homer) m.d. Austin Elsberry (Hutchison), 16-7). 195 - Demetrius Milne (Metlakatla) p. Paul Hamilton (King Cove), :33. 220 - Sol Finau (Glennallen) p. Connor McConnell (Unalaska), 2:55. 285 - Jonathan Wilson (Aniak) won by forfeit over Dakota Ekis (Yakutat).