Skyview's Michael Burlison puts the squeeze on Wasilla's Mike Trudeau in the semi-final round Friday. Trudeau later advanced to the finals.
Photo by Ben Stuart, Morris News
Defending State Champion Wasilla dominated the Northern Lights Conference Wrestling Championships in Homer this weekend, but a trio of peninsula wrestlers showed not all warriors hail from the Mat-Su Valley.
Skyview's Eli Hutchison (135) and Soldotna's Brandy Goracke (140) and Sean Whitmore (275) grabbed conference crowns, although none of their championship matches would fall under the category of "pretty victories."
"Any way that's legal. You got to go all out, all match," said Hutchison after beating Wasilla's Ceasar Berrera 2-0.
The two 135-pounders chased each other around the ring for the first two periods without scoring.
In the third, Berrera jumped on Hutchison's back and stayed there for the first minute, 30 seconds.
Hutchison eventually found enough leverage to turn Berrara around, scored on a reversal, and secured him long enough to get the win.
In the next match Goracke built a first period 4-2 advantage before going down in pain after a shot to the ribs.
His opponent, Wasilla's Levi Fox, used the injury to his advantage, scoring on an escape in the second period before Goracke scored on a takedown.
With Goracke leading 6-3, Fox turned the tide again with a reversal and held Goracke down for much of the third period.
But with time running out, Goracke wiggled free, scoring on a reversal and taking the match 8-5.
After receiving treatment on the sidelines for sore ribs, Goracke said he had to change his strategy during the match.
"I couldn't breath there for a while, but I'm alright now," he said. "I was kind of playing it safe."
Goracke said he beat Fox earlier in the year in the first minute and seven seconds of the match. This time, however, Fox took the match to him.
Skyview's Michaela Hutchingson controls Kodiak's Jimmy Eggemeyer in the semi-final round Friday to earn a 5-0 win.
Photo by Ben Stuart, Morris News
"As the season goes, and we start getting closer to state, the kids try more, a lot more," he said.
Whitmore had a tougher time in his match against Colony heavyweight James Savage.
Down 7-4 in the second period, with his back nearly on the mat, Whitmore spun Savage over and pinned him.
The move happened so quickly Whitmore said didn't exactly know what had happened after the match.
"I don't know, it just kind of happened," he said. "But when I got him on his back I was pretty sure it was over."
Whitmore's pin evened his season record against Savage at two wins and two losses.
"I'll probably see him in the semifinals at state," Whitmore said.
Wasilla's dominance of the conference was evident early as it grabbed a sizeable lead in the team competition Friday, winning 26 of its 28 first-round matches. Wasilla also sent Warrior wrestlers to the championship round in all but two weight divisions Friday night.
By Saturday night, seven of these wrestlers stood atop the winner's podium and Warriors claimed the team title by more than doubling second-place Kodiak's 204.5 team points.
Still, a top-six finish in this tournament is a ticket to the 4A State Wrestling Championships next weekend in Chugiak, and as Skyview coach Neldon Gardner put it, regions is really a warm-up for State.
"We still have an opportunity to do well at state because there's so many more teams and you don't need as many numbers," Gardner said.
"We're taking ten to state, we're hoping to place eight of those 10," he said. "If we can place eight we'll be right in the middle of it all."
Four Skyview wrestlers made the championship round, Saturday night, the most of any school besides Wasilla. Michaela Hutchison (103), Clark Buffington (145) and Eddie Buffington (152) each finished second to wrestlers from Wasilla.
Homer wrestling coach Chris Perk watched the lone Mariner in the championship round, Simeon Daigle (112) fall to Wasilla's Sam Miller.
"They're very solid from top to bottom," Perk said. " In most of these tournaments, their JV team is beating a lot of the varsity teams."
Skyview's Eli Hutchinson holds down Homer's Camron Hagen Friday in the semi finals.
Photo by Ben Stuart, Morris News
Homer finished in seventh place in the team standings with 97 points, but will send five wrestlers to state next weekend.
Soldotna will send eight, while Kenai will not be represented at state.
Northern Lights Conference
Friday and Saturday at Homer
Team scores: 1. Wasilla. 414.00; 2. Kodiak, 204.5; 3. Colony, 202; 4. Skyview, 158; 5. Palmer, 152; 6. Soldotna, 150; 7. Homer, 97; 8. Kenai 5.5.
103 Alan Bartelli, Was, p. Michaela Hutchison, Sky
112 Sam Miller, Was, dec. Simeon Daigle, Hom, 5-2
119 Dusty Killian, Col, p. Clayton Schmidling, Was
125 Holland Gravely, Col, p. Mike Chafin, Was
130 Chris Odom, Was, dec. Duane Carpenter, Was, 5-2
135 Eli Hutchison, Sky, dec. Ceasar Berrera, Was, 2-0
140 Brandy Goracke, Sol, dec. Levi Fox, Was, 8-5
145 Mike Trudeau, Was, dec. Clark Buffington, Sky, 9-7 OT
152 Trevor Pempek, dec. Was, Eddie Buffington, Sky, 3-2
160 Chuck Carpenter, Dflt Inj. Ben Breakfield, Sol
171 Jake Wade, Was, dec. Steve O'Brien, Kod, 7-4
189 Steel Tubbs, Pal, dec. Lloyd Nieman, Pal, 7-3
215 Dominick Bellotte, Col, p. Chae Roskam, Was
275 Sean Whitmore, Sol, p. James Savage, Col
103 Andrew Van Asdall, Col, p. Jimmy Eggemeyer, Kod
112 Lucas Fried, Kod, p. Wesley Mills, Pal
119 Steven Guana, Kod, dec. Danny Lyles, Was, 8-4
125 Tom Eller, Pal dec. John Bouman, Hom, 12-8
130 Clifton Ivanoff, Kod, dec. Louden Greiner, Hom, 5-3
135 Camron Hagen, Hom, maj. dec. Erick Morris , Sol 13-5
140 Scott Foster, Sol, dec. Shane Strausbaugh, Sky, 5-3
145 Jared Sunberg, Kod, dec. Michael Burlison, Sky, 7-2
152 Justin Ratcliff, Pal, dec. Ammon Pettijohn, Was, 7-5
160 Tremain Benton, Pal, dec. Malachi Peterson, Kod, 9-2
171 Tyler Wehrli, Sky, dec. Josh Carlon, Sky, 10-8 OT
189 Chris Walsh, Col, p. Ben Watkins, Kod
215 Nick Watkins, Kod, dec. Jesse Bills, Pal, 4-3 OT
275 Donnie Salmon, Was, p. Cody Crum, Hom
103 Aaron Boss, Col, Dflt Inj. Sabastion Sandoval, Was
112 Ryan Hogan, Was, dec. Zach Beauchamp, Col, 7-2
119 Jake Cuifo, Sol, maj. dec. David Crozier, Col, 11-0
125 Noah Fields, Kod, dec. Steven Burlison, Sol, 6-3
130 Marlon Branson, Kod, dec. Marshall Carlyle, Pal, 7-5
135 Jon Jensen, Was, Dflt Inj. Kenneth Hockmuth, Kod
140 Ryan McKee, Col, dec. Jeremy Langford, Was, 7-3
145 Chad Custer, Col, Dflt Inj. Shawn Olivera, Col
152 Eric Rodgers, Sky, dec. Cody Miller, Col, 6-1
160 Al Cratty, Kod, dec. Mike Knutson, Was, 5-2
171 Bryant Sullivan, Was, dec. Cody Dishon, Pal, 9-2
189 Adam Miller, Was, Dflt Inj. Terrence Carlson, Sol
215 Aaron Nevin, Kod, p. Russel Bacon, Sky
275 Les Baker, Sol, p. Jacob Long, Kod
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