Coming off a surprising second-place finish at last weekend's North-South Tournament, the Skyview wrestling team was hoping to duplicate that success at their own tourney.
And they didn't quite do it.
Rather, the Panthers did even better.
With four champions, two second-place finishers and four third-placers, Skyview won the 13-team Skyview Invitational on Saturday with 233 points, well ahead of second place Homer (195) and third place Soldotna (180).
"It's always good to win your home tournament, home dual meets. We picked up a little slack from last week. It wasn't quite as strong a tournament, but there were a lot of competitors here," said Panthers coach Neldon Gardner. "The team looked good. Individuals looked really well. We're real happy with the progress we're making."
Claiming titles for Skyview was sophomore Bryce Wilson (103 pounds) and seniors Michaela Hutchison (119), Alex Janorschke (130) and Eddie Buffington (189).
"We just dominated," Buffington said. "We're all pretty pleased. We're still going to work harder. It's just never enough."
The surprise of the tournament had to be the Mariners, though, who had six grapplers reach the finals, five of whom emerged victorious.
"Actually, yeah." Homer's Billy Edge, who claimed the 171-pound crown, said of being surprised. "Because in the past, Homer's never really done that well ... But five out six, it was amazing."
Ben Daigle (125) got things rolling for Homer as he cruised to a 9-0 victory over Kenai's John Hughes, a familiar opponent.
"I've wrestled him for a long time, since like seventh grade. I just kind of went out there expecting to win, but it was a pretty tough match," Daigle said. "It was 9-0, but it wasn't easy. It was really tiring."
Mitch Wyatt (145) earned a title by forfeit and Tris Brymer then fought his way to a 12-4 major decision over Seward's Dylan Beck.
"I felt confident," Brymer said. "I probably tired out just a little bit."
Edge (171) was next in line for the Mariners and he defeated Tim O'Leary of Seldovia, 13-6, saying afterward he has high expectations for the state tournament.
"I'm hoping to win state," he said.
The most shocking champion, at least to his teammates, was junior Robby Brymer, Tris' brother, who edged Barrow's Joe Hirt, 4-1, for the 140-pound championship.
The win was important to Brymer, as Hirt had already defeated him twice this season.
But just making the finals was even more paramount.
"I was just really surprised because this is like the first time I've actually been to the finals in a big tournament like this," he said. "After that, then I just set my sights on the goal because I wanted to beat Joe Hirt because he's beaten me twice before. Both of those times I knew I should have won.
"It gives me a lot of confidence. I think I should do really well if I can just keep it up, keep up my good wrestling," Robby Brymer added. "It's little stuff. Most of the time I make little mistakes and that's what makes me lose the match. And when I really concentrate and focus, I can do really good."
His performance surprised even his brother.
"He shocked me, too," Tris said. "I was real surprised and happy for him. I was glad he got that win."
The lone Mariners' loss in the finals was Tom Appelhanz (135), who fell to Soldotna's Wes Mills, 7-4.
"I studied the lineups enough to know who has what and where. Homer is a team very similar to East High School, in that they have not great, big numbers or large numbers of kids, but they have quality kids. They've got some good, quality kids," Gardner said. "You take six or eight kids, they'll take you a long way in a bigger tournament or a state tournament.
"They have potential to do very well, top five, top six, maybe top three in the state tournament if they perform at that level."
Skyview's Wilson earned his title by knocking off Nikiski's Matt Parker, 12-4, and Hutchison won a 5-1 decision over Kenai's Chris Osbekoff.
"Last time I pinned him but he's getting way tougher. He's getting way better," Hutchison said. "I wrestled him last weekend at North-South and it was a completely different match."
Janorschke, who has yet to place in two trips to state, defeated Colony's Dan Gregory, 7-3, and hopes to use this as a springboard to success for the rest of the season.
"It helps a lot being able to do really well in tournaments like this," he said. "Some of the big names from around the state weren't here, but it's great that I could win, especially here for this one because it's at Skyview."
Buffington then earned a championship when Kenai's Wes Quade dislocated his elbow.
"I was feeling confident, but you never know. Things happen," he said. "I felt bad because I think I just ended his season. I've never done it before. I was just doing a simple duck under."
Also earning titles were Kenai's Quintun Pribbenow (112), who beat Skyview's Monica Hutchison, 8-4; Ninilchik's Austin Vanderford (160), who pinned Skyview's Patrick Sheridan in 1:49; Brandon O'Brikis (215), of Seward, who pinned SoHi's Matthew Strieby in 1:46; and Soldotna's Nathan Strieby (HWT), who pinned teammate Les Baker in overtime.
At Skyview High School
Team scores: 1. Skyview, 233; 2. Homer, 195; 3. Soldotna, 180; 4. Colony, 108; 5. Kenai, 105.5; 6. Houston, 104; 7. Barrow, 94; 8. Seward, 87.5; 9. Kalskag 81; 10. Nikiski, 77; 11. Ninilchik, 52.5; 12. Seldovia, 35; 13. Cook Inlet Academy, 14.
103 Wilson, Sky, maj. dec. Parker, Nik, 12-4
112 Pribbenow, Ken, dec. Mo. Hutchison, Sky, 8-4
119 Mi. Hutchison, Sky, dec. Osbekoff, Ken, 5-1
125 Daigle, Hom, maj. dec. Hughes, Ken, 9-0
130 A. Janorschke, Sky, dec. Gregory, Col, 7-3
135 Mills, Sol, dec. Appelhanz, Hom, 7-4
140 R. Brymer, Hom, dec. Hirt, Bar, 4-1
145 M. Wyatt, Hom, won by forfeit
152 T. Brymer, Hom, maj. dec. Beck, Sew, 12-4
160 Vanderford, Nil, p. Sheridan, Sky, 1:49
171 B. Edge, Hom, dec. O'Leary, Sel, 13-6
189 Buffington, Sky, won by injury forfeit
215 O'Brikis, Sew, p. M. Strieby, Sol, 1:46
HWT N. Strieby, Sol, p. Baker, Sol, 6:57, OT
103 Mielke, Col, p. Hanley, Sol, 4:05
112 Stephenson, Sky, p. Stangel, Nik, 4:22
119 Reierson, Sew, tech fall Harbik, Nik, 17-1
125 Such, Col, p. Powell, Sol, 2:18
130 Ekder, Hou, p. Russell, Bar, 2:22
135 Patterson, Bar, dec. Smith, Col, 2-0
140 Thomas, Sky, dec. Morris, Sol, 7-5
145 Burlison, Sol, dec. Filken, Col, 6-1
152 Trask, Col, dec. Buccholtz, Nik, 8-1
160 Weinfurter, Hom, maj. dec. George, Bar, 11-1
171 Mahan, Sky, p. Levi, Kal, 1:49
189 Chumley, Sol, p. Elsey, Sol, 2:19
215 Gonzales, Bar, dec. Crowley, Hou, 7-6
HWT Mraz, Sky, won by forfeit
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