Steffensen takes state wrestling title

Kenai's Ellery Steffensen, left, leaps out of the grasp of South Anchorage's Kraig Hammond in their 138-pound final of the state high school wrestling championships Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in Anchorage, Alaska. Steffensen won the match 4-2. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)

Kenai Central sophomore Ellery Steffensen remained as the last man standing in the 138-pound division at the ASAA Class 4A state wrestling championships Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.


Steffensen won the state title in a match that went all the way in a 4-2 decision over Kraig Hammond of South. For Steffensen, who was seeded No. 1 going into the tournament, it’s his first state title.

After the first round Friday, Steffensen pinned his way to the championship bout, even getting a 19-second pin against Palmer’s Collin Bendixen in the semifinal match.

Steffensen’s older sister, Hope (seeded second), was upset in the 106-pound division bracket, finishing sixth after losing a 7-1 decision to Eagle River’s Marcus Amico. Hope won her first match of the tournament but lost an 8-3 decision to Jejomar Briones of West, an opponent she had beaten earlier in the season. The loss left Steffensen in the consolation bracket, where she eventually wrestled her way to the fifth-sixth place match.

In the 160-pound match, two Kenai wrestlers faced off with each other in the consolation bracket. Dylan Carter and Matt Aho, both out of the championship bracket, wrestled in the second round of the consolation bracket, with Carter taking an 11-8 decision over Aho.

Kenai Central finished with 45 total points to finish 13th in the tournament, while Soldotna scored 21 points to finish 17th out of 20 teams. South Anchorage won the team title with 226 points, edging Wasilla by 3.5 points.

For Soldotna, senior John Alexander finished fourth in the 285-pound, heavyweight division. Alexander won his opening round match against Cody Wadsworth of Dimond with a pin, but lost to Brian Thompson of Palmer in an 11-2 decision.

Alexander then won three straight matches (two of them pins) in the consolation bracket to make his way into the third-fourth place match, where he was pinned by Ketchikan’s Cody Ring, 3:33 into the match.

SoHi senior Troy Streiff, wrestling with an injured foot, won his opening round match with a 12-10 decision over Lathrop’s Ben Bennett, but was pinned by eventual champ Sawyer Root of Colony with 49 seconds remaining in his quarterfinal match.


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