Kenai Central and Soldotna squared off in a dual meet Tuesday at Kenai Central High School, the final home meet for the Kardinals this season, with the home team cruising to a 63-12 victory.
The night was highlighted by the celebration of the senior class.
In the 152-pound division, senior Aaron Troxell-Tom got the better of Soldotna’s Hunter Bourgeouis in an 8-4 decision; in the 138-pound class, senior Dustin Everitt got a first-round pin over Soldotna’s Travis Troxell, and Kenai’s final two seniors — Tyler Brown and Shawn Burdick — won by default in forfeited matches. Soldotna had to forfeit eight matches due to low numbers.
“Just being with the team, getting the chance to see everybody getting along really well is good,” Troxell-Tom said.
Troxell-Tom has been a part of the wrestling team since he first started attending the school his sophomore year, while Everitt is a four-year starter for Kenai.
“Our team just has a way of supporting that other teams don’t have,” Everitt said. “They come to the mat and cheer for you, no matter what else is going on, and you’ll look over and see 10 or 15 people cheering for you and it’s kind of cool.”
On Tuesday, the only points that the Stars received that were not by forfeit was in the 145-pound division. Eli Damon took the win when Kenai freshman Keyshawn McEnerny took a blow to the head within the first minute and had to bow out. The only other match that was not a forfeit was the 285-pound bout, which saw Kenai’s Zach Koziczkowski pin Soldotna’s Dalton Best with nine seconds left in the first round.
Apart from that, it was smooth — and quick — sailing for the Kards.
“It was fun, especially in front of the home crowd for the final time,” Everitt said.
As a nod to the tradition of the school, some of Kenai’s wrestlers competed in the older singlets that were used a number of years ago. The “retro” apparel features a larger use of the crimson color that the school utilizes, while the newer singlets display more black on them.
“It’s kind of become a tradition for the final home meet,” Everitt said.
Kenai will be making two trips up to Anchorage to compete before the winter break begins, and even then, the Kards will be hosting practices over the break to stay sharp before the final push for the Northern Lights Conference and 4A state meets hit in late January and early February.
Both Troxell-Tom and Everitt said the extra practice time could be the difference in a trip to state, and said if they had to give advice to up-and-coming athletes at Kenai, it would include attending the extra practices.
“Stick to it, keep a positive attitude, and try and make it the best time you can,” Troxell-Tom said.
Tuesday at Kenai Central
1. Kenai, 63 points; 2. Soldotna, 12 points.
98 — Double Forf; 106 — Kelcei Zoda, Ken, forf; 113 — Double forf; 120 — Atom Skiba, Sol, forf; 126 — Paul Steffensen, Ken, forf; 132 — Shawn Burdick, Ken, forf; 138 — Dustin Everitt, Ken, pinned Travis Troxell, Sol, :52; 145 — Eli Damon, Sol, inj. def. Keyshawn McEnerny, Ken, :57; 152 — Aaron Troxell-Tom, Ken, dec. Hunter Bourgeois, Sol, 8-4; 160 — Dylan Carter, Ken, forf; 170 — Andrew Welborn, Ken, forf; 182 — Kyle Hunter, Ken, forf; 195 — Tyler Brown, Ken, forf; 220 — David Beck, Ken, forf; 285 — Zach Koziczkowski, Ken, pinned Dalton Best, Sol, 1:51.