Trey Zimmerman, Nathan Stangel, Josh Brown, Kaden Spurgeon and Lincoln Johnson won individual titles, leading the Nikiski wrestling team to its second consecutive Denali-Kachemak Conference tournament championship Saturday in Valdez.
The Bulldogs finished the two-day, 14-team event with 204 points. Runner-up Cordova had 151.5 points, while third-place Valdez notched 142. The top five finishers in each weight class earned berths to the Class 1-2-3A state championships, which begin Dec. 10 at Nikiski.
There will be a large contingent of Bulldogs wrestling for state trophies on their home mat thanks to the effort in Valdez, where the squad sent athletes to title matches in seven of the 14 weight classes.
Zimmerman pinned Christian Wheeles of Anchorage Christian Schools in 3:40 to win the title at 103 after a pin in the quarterfinals and a 12-7 decision over Ashley Johnson of Valdez in the semifinals.
Stangel, wrestling at 130, defeated teammate Morgan Sauve by major decision in the finals, 18-8, while Brown pinned David Martishev of Voznesenka in 3:12 to earn the crown at 135.
Kaden Spurgeon, a favorite to win a state title at 145, defeated teammate Tyler Peek 11-2 to for gold. Johnson, ranked No. 1 in the state at his weight for small schools, took first at 171 thanks to a forfeit victory over teammate Karl Buchholz.
Corey Green grabbed second at 140, falling 5-4 in overtime of the finals against Michael Ace of Valdez. Teammate Floyd Armstrong also earned silver. He lost in the championship at 152, getting pinned by Cordova's Seth Balint in the third period.
The Bulldogs also earned a slew of third-place trophies -- Dakota Neely (103), Mike Stangel (125) and Sawyer Skiba (130). Logan Harrison earned fourth at 145.
Fifth-place finishers for Nikiski were Shawn Burdick (103), Walter Moore (125) and Jesse Hyatt (215). All of them will compete in the state tournament, which will be at Nikiski for the next three years.
The Cougars of Voznesenka accumulated 108 points to finish fifth, led by second-place finisher David Martishev (135) and Julian Polushkin (215).
Joe Martishev and Dennis Martishev both qualified for state at 140, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Teammate Zenon Martushev will wrestle at state at 160 after earning third, and Zenovei Martushoff advanced with a fifth-place tally.
Seward managed seventh place as a team and will send Jed Wilde (125), Aaron Sorenenson (152), Tony Harris (160) and James Logan (189) to state. Wilde finished second, falling to Dillon Gilro of Anchorage Christian Schools 8-3 in the finals. Joey Hettick (103), Nick Markowitz (145) and Sam Rininger (171) will be state alternates after placing sixth. Each lost matches for fifth-place and a guaranteed berth to state.
Ninilchik's lone wrestler, Sam Bennett, finished second at 189 to give the Wolverines a state competitor for the 10th time in as many seasons.
Denali-Katchemak Conference tournament
Friday, Saturday at Valdez
Team scores: Nikiski, 204; 2. Cordova, 151.5; 3. Valdez, 142; 4. Hutchison, 119; 5. Voznesenka, 108; 6. Grace Christian, 103.7; Seward, 75; 8. Anchorage Christian Schools, 65; 9. Glenallen, 57; 10. Delta, 48; 11. Eielson, 42; 12. Galena, 40.5; 13. Ninilchik, 22; 14. Tok, 6.
103 -- Trey Zimmerman, Nik, p. Christian Wheeles, Gra, 3:40; 112 -- Kreifer Groeneveld, Val, dec. Anthony Walsh, Gra, 4-1; 119 -- Anthony Tamblyn, Gra, dec. Austin Rake, Val, 11-9; 125 -- Dillon Gilroy, Anc, dec. Jed Wilde, Sew, 8-3; 130 -- Nathan Stangel, Nik, major dec. Morgan Sauve, Nik, 18-8; 135 -- Josh Brown, Nik, p. David Martishev, Voz, 3:12; 140 -- Michael Ace, Val, dec. Corey Green, Nik, 5-4 OT; 145 -- Kaden Spurgeon, Nik, major dec. Tyler Peek, Nik, 11-2; 152 -- Seth Balint, Cor, p. Floyd Armstrong, Nik, 4:50; 160 -- Justin Allen, Val, p. Paul Amore, Anc, 1:28; 171 -- Lincoln Johnson, Nik, won by forfeit over Karl Buchholz, Nik; 189 -- Bryan Carrillo, Cor, major dec. Sam Bennett, Nin, 13-5; 215 -- McKyer Trumblee, Cor, dec. Julian Polushkin, Vol, 8-4; HWT -- Samisoni Finau, Gle, p. Alex Rietveld, Gle, 1:24.
103 -- Dakota Neely, Nik, p. Ashley Johnson, Val, 4:38; 112 -- Caj Roher, Val, dec. Nate Ezell, Eie, 6-4; 119 -- Justice Campbell, Del, p. Dustin Elsberry, Hut, 5:22; 125 -- Mike Stangel, Nik, p. Cody Gilroy, Anc, 3:15; 130 -- Sawyer Skiba, Nik, tech. fall Dean Tallburg, Hut, 116-1; 135 -- Paul Johnson, Gra, major dec. Justyn Pattee, Hut, 14-3; 140 -- Joe Martishev, Voz, won by forfeit over Dennis Martishev, Voz; 145 -- Mason Kimber, Cor, dec. Logan Harrison, Nik, 8-6; 152 -- Aaron Sorenenson, Sew, major dec. Trent Jones, Gra, 19-7; 160 -- Zenon Martushev, Voz, p. Ralston Ferguson, Gal, :32; 171 -- Matt Adams, Cor, won by forfeit over Jesse Deaton, Val; 189 -- Joshua Dewey, Gal, major dec. James Logan, Sew, 13-4; 215 -- Kevin Tanner, Hut, won by forfeit over Solomone Finau, Gle; HWT -- Taylor Kelley, Cor, p. Clay Easterling, Hut, 1:01.
103 -- Shawn Burdick, Nik, p. Joey Hettick, Sew, 1:57; 112 -- Andrew Jensen, Hut, p. Stephan Waska, Gal, :41; 119 -- Daniel Schliesing, Gra, p. Toby Monroe, Gal, 1:52; 125 -- Walter Moore, Nik, dec. Keefe McIntosh, Val, 12-6; 130 -- Carsen Trumble, Cor, dec. Kalen McIntosh, Val, 10-9; 135 -- Dylan Keiffer, Anc, dec. Josiah Walker, Gra, 12-4; 140 -- Dakoda Murphy, Eie, p. Timothy Kemper, Tok, 3:38; 145 -- Rudy Martinez, Hut, p. Nick Markowitz, Sew, 5:46; 152 -- Zenovei Martushoff, Voz, p. Sam Borrego, Eie, 1:35; 160 -- Tony Harris, Sew, dec. Taylor Levinson, Del, 1-4; 171 -- Luke Rietveld, Gle, dec. Sam Rininger, Sew, 7-2; 189 -- Victor Matthews, Del, p. Austin Elsberry, Hut, :59; 215 -- Jesse Hyatt, Nik, tech. fall Jacob Campbell, Del, 16-1; HWT -- Ryan Navarro, Cor, p. Lander Simmers, Gra, :39.
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