For a third straight year, the Kachemak Conference wrestling championship went to the Homer Mariners, but the accomplishment was a first in school history.
Homer has never strung together three consecutive region wrestling titles until Saturday afternoon in Seward.
Homer assistant coach Chris Perk said the thrill of three-peating was not as important as setting the Mariners’ sights high — on next weekend’s state meet.
“I think the consistency of just being on it every weekend was important,” Perk said. “It was a good prep for next weekend.”
Homer won the title in dominating fashion, accruing 304.5 points to the 179.5 taken by runner-up Houston. Among other peninsula teams, Voznesenka took sixth with 90 points, host Seward took seventh with 78 points and Nikiski was eighth with 77.5 points.
The Mariners rolled to the big win with seven region champions on the boys side and three on the girls side. Overall, the Mariners qualified 11 wrestlers to next week’s Division II state meet.
In Kodiak at the Northern Lights Conference tournament, Colony edged Wasilla to win a fifth-straight tournament. Colony had 389 points, while Wasilla tallied 382.5. Soldotna was fourth with 174.5, while Kenai had 62.5 and was sixth. The Stars claimed three individual championships, as did the Kardinals.
At Seward, Perk said with such a depth advantage, the team was able to use the weekend as a tune-up for state.
“We were not just going out to win matches, but executing a high-level technique,” he said. “Knowing that we’re pinning people because next weekend, those pin points will be important.”
Last year, Homer won the region meet but finished second to Bethel at the state championships one week later.
Kachemak Conference championships from Homer athletes went to junior Seth Inama at 120 pounds, junior Wayne Newman at 126 pounds, junior Luciano Fasulo at 132 pounds, sophomore Mose Hayes at 138, senior Chris Cudaback at 170, senior Levi King at 195 and senior Kyle Wells at 220.
Fasulo extended his total win streak to 93 straight matches in the state of Alaska, a streak that dates back to 2015, and it helped him land the title of Kachemak Conference Outstanding Wrestler of the Year. Fasulo is now 43-0 this season alone.
“I told (Fasulo), you should feel honored to get this award, because other guys are multiple state champions,” Perk said. “But when he goes out, you never question that he’s giving 100 percent all of the time.”
Max Kusnetsov of Voznesenka won the 113-pound belt, while Cougars teammate Dia Martishev finished second at 138 pounds in a mild upset to Hayes of Homer, a 6-2 decision, and senior Nikit Anufriev finished second at 195 pounds for Voz.
Tyler Litke was the top boys finisher for Nikiski, taking third at 195 pounds with a pin on Houston’s Robert Ritter. Mason Payne at 132 pounds and Ethan Hack at 285 both took fourth place for Nikiski.
On the girls side, senior Chloe Grogan won the 160-pound girls title for Nikiski, pinning Homer’s Mariah Grimes in 52 seconds. Homer got three girls champions in senior Alex Moseley at 120 pounds, freshman Halle Lapp at 132 and junior McKenzie Cook at 145.
Host team Seward did not ring up any boys champions, but did get a girls champion at 113 pounds with sophomore Naomi Ifflander. The Seahawks’ highest finishers in the boys tournament were freshman Clay Petersen at 98 pounds and senior Cole Norcross at 120.
At Kodiak, wrestlers need to be in the top five for the boys and top two for the girls to clinch spots to state, although additional at-large berths are available.
Soldotna’s championships came from Gideon Hutchison at 120, Bechler Metcalf at 152 and Amanda Wylie at girls 145.
Hutchison, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Division I, was absolutely dominant, pinning his way to the title. Metcalf came into the meet ranked third in Division I, while Andrue Shepersky of Wasilla was ranked second. However, fans never saw that matchup because Metcalf won the final by forfeit over Shepersky.
Wylie pinned Allison Garcia of Colony in the final to nail down her title.
For Kenai, Byron Dunham won at 195, Raven Patrick won at girls 160 and Reya Hale won at girls 182.
Dunham came into the tournament ranked No. 2 in Division I and recorded pins in both of his matches for the title. Both Patrick and Hale did not have any other competitors in their weight classes.
Securing state berths for the Stars were Logan Craig with third at 106, Ben Booth with fifth at 113, Zach Burns with fourth at 138, Levi Wahl with fifth at 170, Hudson Metcalf with third at 170, Eli Floyd with fourth at 195, Aaron Faletoi with second at 220 and Melvin Lloyd with fifth at 285. For the girls, Lexi Gridley at 120 and Madison Worth at 132 clinched state berths by finishing second.
Clinching state berths for Kenai were John Grossl with fifth at 182, Seth Kruse with fifth at 220 and Jacob Grant with fourth at 285.
Northern Lights Conference tournament
At Kodiak High School
Team scores: 1. Colony, 389; 2. Wasilla, 382.5; 3. Palmer, 279.5; 4. Soldotna, 174.5; 5. Kodiak, 102.5; 6. Kenai Central, 62.5.
98 — TJ Clapp, Col, m.d. Jack Fuller, Was, 12-0; 106 — Jared Hopkins, Col, dec. Rett Gallagher, Col, 11-5; 113 — Marcus Riedlinger, Col, dec. Aidan Ehmann, Col, 8-6; 120 — Gideon Hutchison, Sol, p. Vincent Cramer, Col, 1:46; 126 — Rush Fannon, Col, dec. Micah Mathis, Was, 9-6; 132 — Hunter Hayes, Was, won by forfeit over Christion Alexander, Was; 138 — Isaiah Elvsaas, Was, p. Sterling Unlenhake, Was, 1:31; 145 — Trace Severson, Col, dec. Gregory Dean, Was, 12-5; 152 — Bechler Metcalf, Sol, won by forfeit over Andrue Shepersky, Was; 160 — Jason Watkins, Pal, dec. Joshua Nummer, Kod, 9-2; 170 — Eric Christy, Col, tb-1 Levi Farris, Pal, 5-4; 182 — Caleb Hopkins, Col, m.d. Jeffrey Glynn, Pal, 14-0; 195 — Byron Dunham, Ken, p. Simon Ganchenko, Col, 2:59; 220 — Maximus Stokes, Was, p. Aaron Faletoi, Sol, 3:05; 285 — Lucas Santana, Pal, p. Joshua Smith, Kod, 2:31.
98 — Garrett Blydenburgh, Pal, dec. Chandler Jasper, Was, 4-0; 106 — Logan Craig, Sol, p. Tristen Pendergrass, Pal, 0:50; 113 — Wesley Fraker, Was, m.d. Noah Blackmon, Kod, 13-3; 120 — Alexander Logsdon, Was, m.d. Kolby Torres, Col, 10-1; 126 — Isaac Rodman, Was, s.v. 1 Kayden Payne, Col, 12-7; 132 — Sam Sisco, Col, t.f. Jacob Dyer, Pal, 4:47; 138 — Shaun Walton, Kod, dec. Zach Burns, Sol, 7-1; 145 — Daniel Colley, Col, dec. Ethan Kraus, Was, 9-2; 152 — Hunter Bleakney, Pal, m.d. Asa Barnes, Pal, 17-4; 160 — Zion Rogers, Pal, dec. Corey Dahlberg, Was, 8-3; 170 — Hudson Metcalf, Sol, dec. Christopher Roehl, Was, 8-2; 182 — Jackson Acree, Pal, sv-1 Coa Gamble, Col, 16-11; 195 — Jeffrey Palmer, Was, won by injury default over Eli Floyd, Sol; 220 — Christian Kurka, Pal, p. Amos Bartlett, Was, 1:25; 285 — Jacob Nelson, Col, dec. Jacob Grant, Ken, 4-2.
98 — Tarren Gudmunson, Col, p. Daniel Padilla, Kod, 2:00; 106 — Alex Prayner, Was, received a bye; 113 — Ben Booth, Sol, p. Pierce Peterson, Ken, 3:40; 120 — Payton Portney, Pal, received a bye; 126 — Jaden Caple, Pal, m.d. Wade McGann, Pal, 11-1; 132 — Owen Manley, Pal, sv-1 Quinten Sereyko, Col, 6-4; 138 — Brice Lestenkof-Chapman, Col, dec. Jayden Christianson, Pal, 7-3; 145 — Rodney Godwin, Pal, dec. Nathan Reeves, Pal, 9-5; 152 — Gabriel Nummer, Kod, dec. Colton Lindquist, Was, 5-0; 160 — Rowdy Bailey, Was, p. James Goodman, Kod, 1:23; 170 — Levi Wahl, Sol, won by injury default at 1:52 over Jacob Anderson, Was; 182 — John Grossl, Ken, dec. Max Rogers, Sol, 4-1; 195 — Jamar Toston, Col, p. Blake Tomlinson, Pal, 2:03; 220 — Seth Kruse, Ken, p. Ricky Westover, Col, 3:00; 285 — Melvin Lloyd, Sol, p. Brandon Holmes, Col, 4:13.
Girls championship matches
106 — Victoria Palin, Col, received a bye; 113 — Kristina Gerasimyuk, Was, p. Zoe Covington, Col, 0:39; 120 — Heidi Warner, Was, p. Lexi Gridley, Sol, 1:05; 132 — Teeana Nicholia, Pal, p. Madison Worth, Sol, 4:22; 145 — Amanda Wylie, Sol, p. Allison Garcia, Col, 0:47; 160 — Raven Patrick, Ken, received a bye; 182 — Reya Hale, Ken, won by forfeit.
Kachemak Conference tournament
At Seward High School
1. Homer, 304.5 points; 2. Houston, 179.5; 3. Grace Christian, 159.5; 4. Redington, 137.5; 5. Anchorage Christian, 118; 6. Voznesenka, 90; 7. Seward, 78; 8. Nikiski, 77.5; 9. Holy Rosary, 24; 10. Cordova, 6.
98 — Caleb O’Hara, ACS, maj. dec. 11-2 James Paris, Redington; 106 — Jude Merriner, Grace, 3-2 dec. Luke Hofacker, ACS; 113 — Maxim Kusnetsov, Voznesenka, 14-7 dec. Matthew Bohlman, ACS; 120 — Seth Inama, Homer, tech fall 4:52 Jonathan Kirby, Redington; 126 — Wayne Newman, Homer, pin 4:43 Colton Dow, Grace; 132 — Luciano Fasulo, Homer, pin 3:24 Eli Benson, Redington; 138 — Mose Hayes, Homer, 6-2 dec. Dia Martishev, Voznesenka; 145 — Cole Smith, ACS, pin 1:52 Dakota Bolduc, Houston; 152 — Michael Kuentzel, Grace, 5-3 dec. Lane Guim, Houston; 160 — Michael Lucas, Holy Rosary, 6-1 dec. Gabe Martin, Grace; 170 — Chris Cudaback, Homer, 4-3 dec. Eliot Merriner, Grace; 182 — Evan Bockman, Grace, 9-2 dec. Tristen Cook, Homer; 195 — Levi King, Homer, pin 3:18 Nikit Anufriev, Voznesenka; 220 — Kyle Wells, Homer, pin 2:00 Kyler Rumfelt, Redington; 285 — Dylan Jackson, Houston, pin :33 Reed Graham, Houston.
98 — Clay Petersen, Seward, forf; 106 — Ethan Tucker, Redington, maj. dec. 14-4 Keaton Ryherd, Houston; 113 — Owen Ford, Grace, pin 2:36 David Revilak, Houston; 120 — Cole Norcross, Seward, 7-4 dec. Collin Monks, ACS; 126 — Jordan Morganflash, Redington, 9-3 dec. Dylan Harris, Grace; 132 — Ian Stovall, Homer, 5-4 dec. Mason Payne, Nikiski; 138 — Damien Jessup, Houston, pin 4:00 Ryan Reed, ACS; 145 — Joshua Bradshaw, Hom, 3-2 dec. Daniel Anufriev, Voznesenka; 152 — Jeremy DeVries, Grace, 5-3 dec. Simon Estes, Seward; 160 — Chase Eber, Grace, 8-4 dec. Joseph Haxton, Redington; 170 — Anthony Kalugin, Voznesenka, 5-1 dec. Daniel O’Connor, Houston; 182 — Justin Gericke, Houston, 10-3 dec. Oliver Severance, Redington; 195 — Tyler Litke, Nikiski, pin 5:16 Robert Ritter, Houston; 220 — Shawn Graham, Houston, forf; 285 — Richard Brock, Homer, pin 1:33 Ethan Hack, Nikiski.
Girls championship matches
106 — Megan German, Houston, forf; 113 — Naomi Ifflander, Seward, forf; 120 — Alex Moseley, Homer, pin 4:48 Mina Cavasos, Homer; 132 — Halle Lapp, Homer, forf; 145 — McKenzie Cook, Homer, pin 1:19 Rebekah Christenson, Seward; 160 — Chloe Grogan, Nikiski, pin :52 Mariah Grimes, Homer.
Girls third-place matches
120 — Jessie Merrick, Houston, pin :23 Destiny Martin, Nikiski; 145 — Kailey Whipple, Houston, pin 3:47 Sierra Lancaster, Houston.