Colony head wrestling coach Todd Hopkins had a successful return to the Kenai Peninsula on Friday and Saturday at the Peninsula Duals at Nikiski High School.
Colony took the championship dual meet 53-18 over Homer, while the Colony junior varsity topped Soldotna 57-24 for third place at the tournament.
“Colony is solid. Holy cow,” Homer assistant Chris Perk said in calling the Knights the top team in the state. “We were wrestling our tails off against them and just missing on a couple moves.”
Hopkins, who became the head coach in 2012 and last season won his second Division I title in three years, is not ready to anoint his team the best. He said Wasilla, Lathrop and South all will have something to say about that.
But the victory close to his roots had him feeling good. Hopkins grew up in Seldovia and was introduced to wrestling in middle school by Kevin Daugherty, the former Soldotna High School head coach.
“This worked out really well,” Hopkins said. “I like coming back here.”
Colony’s depth carried the day in both the championship and third-place matches. In the championship, the Knights scored 30 points by forfeit without forfeiting a match. In the third-place match, Colony’s JV piled up 24 points due to forfeits and did not forfeit a match.
“The biggest thing is we have a program where the coaches from the club, middle school and high school all teach the same way,” Hopkins said. “That gives the kids consistency.
“They know what’s expected and rise to it immediately.”
The JV team did just that.
“The JV team had the confidence to come in and wrestle hard,” Hopkins said. “As the dual meets went on, they started believing they could wrestle with everybody.”
The final highlight for Hopkins came when his son, Caleb Hopkins, defeated Homer’s Tristen Cook 2-1 at 182 in the championship dual. Cook had defeated Hopkins 5-1 in a Friday dual between the teams.
“It’s always a highlight when somebody who lost comes back and turns it into a win,” coach Hopkins said.
Despite finishing second to Bethel last weekend at the ACS Invitational and taking second Saturday, Perk likes where his team is at. The assistant said the Warriors put his team on notice as to what must happen to win state. The Mariners are working on that in practice and it’s not quite ready for competition yet.
“We know we have to pin to win at state,” Perk said. “Bethel’s got the numbers.”
Luciano Fasulo, wrestling at 132 and 138, finished 5-0 for Homer and was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.
Also for Homer, Levi King was 4-0 at 195 and Kyle Wells was 4-0 at 220. Perk said a big moment for King was defeating Sione Tuifua of Barrow by pin. Tuifua had defeated King in the ACS finals. Wells also scored a big victory over Benjamin Joe Heather of Barrow, one of the top wrestlers in the weight class.
“Those two did their homework this week, for sure,” Perk said.
The assistant added Wayne Newman at 126 and Seth Inama at 120 are right on the cusp of beating some of the top Division I wrestlers. Mose Hayes also was 3-0 for Homer at 138.
Soldotna’s run to fourth place in the tournament was led by Gideon Hutchison, who was 5-0 at 120 and 126; Bechler Metcalf at 5-0 at 152; and Braeden Tennis at 2-0 at 160.
Voznesenka lost the seventh-place dual 54-15 to Anchorage Christian Schools. Maxim Kusnetsov was 6-0 at 113 for the Cougars, while Anthony Kalugin was 6-0 at 170 and 182.
Kenai Central advanced out of the first round Saturday on a bye, then lost to Colony’s JV. Seth Kruse and Byron Dunham were both 4-0 at 195 and 220 to lead the Kards.
Seward lost a pair of duals to exit Saturday’s bracket. Seward’s Cole Norcross was 3-0 at 120, while Collin Mullaly was 4-0 at 126.
Colony 53, Homer 18
113 — Aiden Ehrmann, Col, won by forfeit; 120 — Vincent Cramer, Col, dec. Seth Inama, 3-1; 126 — Rush Fannon, Col, sudden victory over Wayne Newman, 5-3; 132 — Luciano Fasulo, Hom, dec. Sam Sisco, 5-1; 138 — Mose Hayes, Hom, dec. Brice Lestenkof-Chapman, 2-1; 145 — Daniel Colley, Col, m.d. Joshua Bradshaw, 19-9; 152 — Landis Erwin, Col, p. McKenzie Cook, 0:29; 160 — Cody Gamble, Col, won by forfeit; 170 — Eric Christy, Col, m.d. Chris Cudaback, 11-0; 182 — Caleb Hopkins, Col, dec. Tristen Cook, 2-1; 195 — Levi King, Hom, p. Simon Ganchenko, 3:52; 20 — Kyle Wells, Hom, p. Cole Wilson, 1:06; 285 — Brandon Holmes, Col, won by forfeit; 98 — TJ Clapp, Col, won by forfeit; 106 — Jared Hopkins, Col, won by forfeit.
Colony 2 57, Soldotna 24
113 — Jacob Harvey, Col, p. Ben Booth, 1:59; 120 — Gideon Hutchison, Sol, p. Kolby Torres, 3:20; 126 — Hunter Sasser, Col, won by forfeit; 132 — Quinten Sereyko, Col, won by forfeit; 138 — Dylan Holmes, Col, won by forfeit; 145 — Brayden Reeves, Col, p. Aiden Willets, 2:38; 152 — Bechler Metcalf, Sol, p. Camryn Binning, 4:54; 160 — Braeden Tennis, Sol, sudden victory over Noah White, 8-6; 170 — Frank Urbano, Col, dec. Hudson Metcalf, 4-3; 182 — Jamar Toston, Col, p. Dylan Donham, 0:42; 195 — Ricky Westover, Col, p. Eli Floyd, 2:18; 220 — Aaron Faletoi, Sol, p. Tyde Riopelle, 0:52; 285 — Jacob Nelson, Col, p. Melvin Floyd, 0:25; 98 — Tarren Gudmunson, Col, won by forfeit; 106 — Logan Craig, Sol, dec. Rett Gallagher, 13-8.
Dillingham 48, Barrow 30
ACS 54, Voznesenka 15
113 — Maxim Kusnetsov, Voz, dec. Matthew Bohlman, 10-9; 120 — Collin Monks, ACS, won by forfeit; 126 — Dale Spann, ACS, won by forfeit; 132 — Hunter Desoto-Finn, ACS, p. Prokohpy Konev, 3:26; 138 — Dia Martishev, Voz, won by forfeit; 145 — Cole Smith, ACS, p. Daniel Anufriev, 4:00; 152 — John Gilder, ACS, won by forfeit; 160 — Jayzee Gillen, ACS, won by forfeit; 170 — Anthony Kalugin, Voz, won by forfeit; 182 — double forfeit; 195 — Ethan Suarez, ACS, won by forfeit; 220 — double forfeit; 285 — double forfeit; 98 — Caleb O’Hara, ACS, won by forfeit; 106 — Luke Hofacker, ACS, won by forfeit.