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Stars, Panthers shine at borough wrestling

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2003

Fierce competition defined the final regular season meeting of the big-schools wrestling teams at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Wrestling Tournament Saturday at Skyview.

Although the event allowed coaches a final opportunity to test their team against live opponents before next week's Region III/4A meet at Palmer, the grapplers hit the mat with the intensity of gladiators.

No team scores were kept at the meet, but Skyview and Soldotna had the strongest showings. The Panthers had seven first-place finishers, while the Stars had five champions.

The match of the day came in the finals at 130 pounds where Homer's Monte Garroutte, ranked No. 1 at the weight, faced off against Skyview's Dallas Seavey.

The two wrestled to a stalemate at the end of three two-minute periods and needed to go into overtime, where the win would go to the first person to score points.

The first period ended in a draw as the two were able to keep out of one another's grasp just enough to stave off any scoring. Garroutte nearly managed a takedown, but a wily Seavey eluded the loss by grabbing Garroutte's leg.

Garroutte said he wasn't so sure that his opponent wasn't taken to the mat.

"If you have one leg over (your opponent's), even if they have yours, it's a takedown," he said.

Seven seconds into the second period, Seavey started from the defensive position and executed an escape to earn one point. The two continued to spar without further score until the end of the period, each getting hold of the other from the neutral position, but neither being able to wrest control.

"I was countering him and he was countering me a lot," Seavey said.

The standoff continued through the third period, as Garroutte found himself now struggling to get free from the defensive position. With just six seconds left in regulation, he pulled himself away from Seavey and scored a point to tie the competition.

"I usually get a lot of energy at the end of a period," Garroutte said. "I knew I had 10 seconds to get it done."

In the one-minute, sudden-death extra period, however, Seavey got behind Garroutte and took him to the mat, scoring a takedown that ended the match and gave Seavey the title.

"He's No. 1 in the state and he's peaking about now," Seavey said of Garroutte. "But I'm peaking at about the same time."

Homer coach Chris Perk said he saw Seavey lock his hands at one point during the match, but said because the referee wasn't able to see the infraction, it wasn't a big deal.

"In a one-point match, it could go either way," Perk said. "I'm very confident in Monte's ability. We'll see that guy at regions next week, and hopefully, next time Monte gets that call."

Kenai's Steven Fisher won the 119-pound division, pinning Skyview's Archie Thompson with 1:05 remaining on the clock in the third period.

"I just had to stay on my moves," Fisher said after the match. "I've wrestled him three times before, so I know how to get a pin from him."

Soldotna senior heavyweight Seth Letzring won 275-pound division after a short day, facing only one competitor, Homer's Jared Weaver.

Letzring, who pinned Weaver, said heavyweight wrestling generally lasts longer than the time the first man hits the mat ... but not much longer.

"It doesn't matter who's on the bottom," Letzring said. "It's once they're on their back that they're in trouble."

With a little less than a minute expired in the second period, Letzring wrestled Weaver to the mat with what he said Soldotna coaches called the "huggie bear" takedown -- a chest-to-chest hold he used to put Weaver on his back. Letzring pinned his opponent with 1:05 left in the period.

Skyview coach Neldon Gardner said he was pleased with the way the tournament turned out, and he was happy about his team's performance, including the seven first-place finishes the Panthers had for the day.

"I was just really proud of everybody," he said.

Along with Seavey, Skyview got first-place finishes from Eli Hutchison (112 pounds), Clark Buffington (125), Cody Phipps (130), Brandon Cleveland (140), Cameron Gardner (152) and Justin Rainwater (171).

Soldotna's first-place finishers included Letzring, Shawn Weigle (215), Colten Goracke (171), Johnny Howarth (160) and Ben Breakfield (145).

Homer 103-pounder Cameron Hagen won his division. Perk said because of Homer's small numbers, he didn't expect to win the team competition in regional and state competition.

But he said he expected the Mariners to be in the thick of the competition.

"Our goal is to squeeze into the top four at Regions, and top 10 at state," Perk said. "Wasilla, SoHi and Skyview have depth. We'll pick it up in the next couple of weeks in our conditioning and techniques, and we'll see what we can do."

KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH TOURNAMENT

At Skyview Saturday

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES

103 -- Hagen, Hom, p. Gauthier, Sky, 5:04

112 -- Hutchison, Sky, maj. dec. Greiner, Hom. 15-0

119 -- Fisher, Ken, p. Thompson, Sky. 4:57

125 -- Buffington, Sky, p. Crauthers, Hom. 1:05

130 -- Seavey, Sky, dec. Garroutte, Hom. 2-1, OT

135 -- Phipps, Sky, dec. Aragon, Sky. 6-2

140 -- Cleveland, Sky, maj. dec. Howarth, Sol. 13-5

145 -- Breakfield, Sol, dec. Michael, Sky. 6-2

152 -- Gardner, Sky, dec. Stone, Sol. 9-7

160 -- Howarth, Sol, dec. Denison, Sky. 5-2

171 -- Goracke, Sol, dec. Hediger, Hom. 9-5

189 -- Rainwater, Sky, dec. Pollack, Hom. 7-4

215 -- Weigle, Sol, p. Pyfer, Sky. 1:23

HWT -- Letzring, Sol, p. Weaver, Hom. 3:05



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