West Valley wins state wrestling championship

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Most of the teams were already conceding the title to the West Valley Wolfpack before the championship finals of the Class 4A state wrestling tournament started Sunday night at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.

The only questions were if West Valley could break the record for most state champions in a single state tournament and which team would finish in second place.

The answers were 'no' to the record and Skyview to the second-place question.

''This is great,'' West Valley coach Dan Carstens said before the finals started. ''I've already told the team they've put us where we need to be, now it's all for them and their years of hard work.''

The Wolfpack sent seven wrestlers into the championship finals, giving them a shot a breaking the record of six champions set in 1990 by another West Valley team. But the Wolfpack fell short as only three claimed titles -- David Wiese at 130 pounds, Miles Dinstel at 152 and Nathan Moore at 171.

West Valley won the team title with 174 points, followed by Skyview with 134.5, Lathrop with 132, Wasilla with 128.5 and Soldotna in fifth place with 107 points. Tournament host Ketchikan took sixth place with 102 points.

''It's a battle for second and third now,'' said Skyview coach Neldon Gardner, whose Panthers were in second place 27.5 points behind West Valley and 1.5 points ahead of Lathrop entering the final round. ''They had a phenomenal semifinals. We've put six in the finals before and won five, but never seven.''

Three other teams won multiple state champions as Ketchikan had three champs -- David Mann at 103 pounds, Matt Haseltine at 145 and Jon Hamilton at 275. Chugiak won two titles -- Ed Bailey at 119 and Stan Brown at 135. Soldotna took two crowns -- Colten Goracke at 160 and Shawn Weigle at 215.

The two Chugiak wrestlers shared outstanding wrestler award. The West Valley coaching staff won the head and assistant coach of the year awards. Ketchikan won the sportsmanship award and Dimond won the academic award with a 3.34 team GPA.

West Valley had 161 points entering the championship finals, with seven finalists. Skyview was in second place with 133.5 points and two finalists, Lathrop was third with 132 points and two finalists and Wasilla was in fourth place with 125.5 points and two finalists. Soldotna was in fifth place with 99 points and three finalists, with Ketchikan sixth with 87 points and three finalists. The only other teams with more than one finalist were Juneau-Douglas and Chugiak.



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