Northwest Territories wrestler Glenna Inglangasuk, in red, tries to escape from Alberta, North's, Michelle Babb during their 52 kilogram match Monday.
Photo by Roy Shapley
Team Alaska’s wrestlers managed to pick up wins and knowledge Monday during the opening rounds of Arctic Winter Games wrestling competition.
Alaska’s wrestlers went 2-0 in dual meets during the day, despite only recently becoming familiar with new international freestyle rules not yet used in the state.
“You have to have a lot more in your head,” Michael Dormady, of Kenai, said following his pin of Nunavut’s Corey Panika in the 90-kilogram weight class. “We only officially learned the rules this morning.”
International freestyle rules were changed two years ago and are used in Canada and at the Olympics. Changes made include a rule that awards a point for forcing a wrestler off the mat. The format of the match also is different. Instead of aggregate points, competitors wrestle to become the first to win two out of three rounds.
Alaska coach Steve Wolf said his wrestlers have adapted well to the unfamiliar style mainly because Team Alaska is made up of a group of talented kids.
“They seem to be winning. I told them before that if you just pin the guy you won’t have to worry,” he sad.
Make that guy or girl. The Arctic Winter Games matches include male and female matchups, a concept that’s also a little unfamiliar to Alaska’s female wrestlers who are used to wrestling mainly male competition at the high school level.
“I’m not really used to wrestling girls,” said Homer’s Katie Connor.
Connor said that she and her teammates believe having wrestled mainly against guys has been an advantage thus far in the Games.
“Sometimes you kind of overdo it against girls,” she said.
Chugiak’s Melissa Apodaca who has experience wrestling women at the national level said she is confident her experience will make the somewhat unfamiliar Games rules and format a nonissue.
“I’m really not worried,” she said.
Connor, however, did voice a bit of frustration with the rules, especially the fact that they don’t give wrestlers a chance to mount a comeback in the final period.
“I don’t like it. It makes it like three matches,” Connor said. “I think it should just be one match.”
Despite its early dominance, however, Team Alaska likely will face a big challenge today when it goes up against Alberta, North, which also went 2-0 Monday and looks to present the biggest challenge to Alaska’s gold ulu hopes.
“These guys are representing their whole area,” coach Wolf said. “They’re going to have some very tough wrestlers.”
Today’s duals begin at 9 a.m. at the Kenai Recreation Center, when Team Nunavut takes on Team Yukon. Alaska and Alberta North face off in the second match of the day.
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