Kaden Spurgeon is still on top. Only now, he’s got company.
Spurgeon won his second straight individual title and teammate Lincoln Johnson earned his first, leading Nikiski to a third-place finish at the ASAA/First National Bank Class 1-2-3A state wrestling championships before a home crowd Saturday.
No other central Kenai Peninsula athletes earned individual gold on a night Bethel took the team title with 188 points, while Dillingham placed second with 151.5. The Bulldogs had 150.5. Seward, Homer and Skyview also competed.
“It’s a perfect senior year for me,” Spurgeon said.
Not only were Spurgeon and Johnson perfect this weekend, sweeping their respective brackets, but they were unblemished all season.
Spurgeon defeated Brayton Lieb of Bethel 7-3 to win the 152-pound championship, capping a 32-0 season.
The senior advanced to the title match with a 17-3 win over Zach Haviland of Kotzebue in the first round, a pin against Brandon Hursh of Valdez in the second and a 21-6 technical fall over Gabe Simple of Galena in the semifinals.
In the final match, Spurgeon built a 5-2 lead through two periods and sealed the win with a takedown early in the third.
The start-to-finish win capped an undefeated season in which Spurgeon felt added pressure after winning state at 145 in 2010.
“Coming in the No. 1 seed, I hadn’t given up a takedown this year. Going into the match that was kind of stressful, and there was the home crowd watching, all that,” he said. “But other than that, I think it’s just wrestling, which is nerve-racking.”
Meanwhile, no wrestler was as dominant as Johnson.
The junior pinned every opponent he faced at 182 and was the lone champion to earn a pin in the finals round. Johnson, who placed second at state last season, beat Mick Wells of Homer and Alex Rodriguez of Skyview on his way to the title bout.
When Shyler Johnson’s back hit the mat midway through the second period, Lincoln Johnson finished a 34-0 season.
Of his 34 wins, 31 came by pin.
“Just getting that one more year of strength and speed and practice, practicing throughout the season, working hard in my other sports and just getting real in touch with my faith helped a lot,” Johnson said. “It feels great. I’ve been waiting for this for 12 years.”
Teammate Corey Green was the only other Peninsula athlete to reach the finals, but he lost 8-2 to Trevour Chavez of Bethel at 160.
Chavez earned two points for a takedown on the edge of the mat late in the first period on a call argued by Nikiski coach Adam Anders, and Green never recovered.
Fellow Nikiski athlete Henry Eide was a favorite to reach the finals at heavyweight, but he lost in the semis. Teammate Josh Brown, the No. 2 overall seed at 145, battled a leg injury before losing in the semis.
Anders said before the tournament that the Bulldogs could compete for the team crown if each athlete wrestled nearly flawless.
“We had a great tournament. We didn’t reach what we wanted and what we were capable of doing, but our guys all wrestled very well,” Anders said of his 11 participants. “I can’t think of one wrestler that lost a match because they wrestled far below their ability. We just didn’t reach what we could have.”
Skyview finished eighth in the team race, with Sam Janorschke placing fourth at 132 and Rodriguez advancing to the third-place match at 182. Heavyweight John Alexander lost to Eide in the contest for third.
Seward took 12th behind a third-place effort from Jed Wilde at 126. Homer, meanwhile, nabbed 14th. The Mariners got a fourth-place finish from Austin McGregor at 160.
But it was Spurgeon and Johnson who gave the home fans something to cheer about.
“It’s awesome, having them there,” Johnson said. “You can feel the crowd, the energy. It just adds that more to the match.”
ASAA/First National Bank
Class 1-2-3A state wrestling
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).
Kaden Spurgeon is still on top. Only now, he’s got company.