With 12 wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament, a coach of the year award and winning the title, the Nikiski Bulldogs had an impressive showing at the inaugural Denali-Kachemak Conference tournament Friday and Saturday at Anchorage Christian Schools.
Nikiski won the tourney with 209 points. Cordova took second with 184 points and Seward came in third with 153.
"We knew we had a good chance of doing it," said Nikiski head coach Adam Anders. "The kids really peaked at the right time."
Morgan Sauve, at 119 pounds, and Nathan Stangel (125) won individual titles. Sauve pinned Valdez's Brandon Hursh 1 minute, 9 seconds, into round one.
"Morgan just had an outstanding tournament all around," Anders said. He was mentally prepared for the final match, Anders said.
Though just a freshman, Anders said Sauve is showing signs of maturity.
"It was a big moment for him," Anders said. "We were all excited for him."
Stangel took on fellow Bulldog Jayden Tumbaga in the championship match. He defeated Tumbaga by a 12-7 decision.
"It was special to have two of our own guys in the finals," Anders said. However, it was a bit of a doubled-edged sword, knowing one of them had to lose the match, he said.
"It was great for Nathan to get a region championship," Anders said. "He deserves it. He earned his region championship."
Trey Zimmerman (103) earned a state berth by defeating Hutchison's Andrew Jensen in the opening round of the fifth-place match. The top-five finishers in each weight class move on to the state tourney, which will be hosted by Bartlett on Friday and Saturday.
Troi West (112) took fourth at regions. West lost to Grace Christian's Matthew Hatter 5-1 in the third-place match.
Matt Parker and Josh Brown both earned state berths wrestling at 130 pounds. Parker lost in the championship match to Luke Charters of ACS. Charters was named wrestler of the year. Brown lost to Hutchison's David Scerbak in the third-place match.
Corey Green (135) won 7-6 over Voznesenka's Joe Martishev for a third-place finish. Tyler Peek (145) pinned Zenovei Martushoff of Voznesenka to claim third place and a state berth.
Kaden Spurgeon (152) took second after losing to Cordova's Blake Platt, 9-2. Lincoln Johnson (160) beat Cordova's Matt Adams 10-2 and won third place.
Henry Eide (285) took second and will battle for the state title this weekend.
Anders said his team came into the tournament prepared.
"They were excited about the opportunity to win at regions and they managed to wrestle to their potential and do it," he said. "The guys were really at the top of their game."
Anders said winning coach of the year, an award he shared with Glennallen's Walt Maslen, was a nice recognition but several people, namely parents and assistant coaches, contribute to the program to make it a success.
For now, the team is going to celebrate the win but the Bulldogs know their biggest task is still ahead of them.
"We're going to enjoy our success today and then go back to work on Monday and start preparing for the state tournament," Anders said.
Other peninsula state qualifiers include:
Seward's Misha O'Leary (103), one of 10 Seahawks to qualify for state, defeated Eielson's Chris Smith 12-8 in the third-place match. Jed Wilde (112) won the individual title. He defeated Dillon Gilroy of ACS. Wilde won by fall in the second round.
Brenton Meier (125) earned a state berth after making the third-place match. Meier lost to Daniel Tedrick of ACS. Glenn Norcross (130) won the fifth-place match over Cantwell's Bryce Nichols to earn the final state tourney spot.
Shane Douglas (140) also narrowly qualified for state by winning the fifth-place match over Rudy Martinez of Hutchison. Douglas won by an 11-6 decision.
Joe Nyholm (171) took fourth at regions. He lost to Kyle Armour of Eielson 11-3.
At 189, both Billy Markowitz and James Logan earned state berths. Markowitz took second at regions and Logan fourth.
Kyle Kain (215) won the region title. He defeated Voznesenka's Julian Polushkin by fall in the first round. Leon Hood (285) won the fifth-place match by pinning Hutchison's Clay Easterling in the first round.
Joe Martishev (135) took fourth at regions after losing 7-6 to Nikiski's Corey Green in the third-place match. Joining Martishev at state will be Zenovei Martushoff, Zenon Martushev, Julian Polushkin and Leo Polushkin.
Martushoff (145) was defeated by Tyler Peek in the third-place match. Martushoff (160) took second, losing in the finals to Valdez's Justin Allen by pin in the second round.
Julian (215) also took second, losing to Seward's Kain in the finals. Kain pinned Julian in the first round.
Leo defeated Nikiski's Eide to claim the region crown. He pinned Eide in round two.
Jeff Klapak (140) lost a close, 3-1, third-place match to Brandon Bahnke of ACS but still qualified for state. His brother, Justin (152), also lost in the third-place match. He was defeated by Paul Amore of ACS by pin in the first round.
Both Klapak's punched their tickets to state with fourth-place finishes.
Seldovia Sea Otters
Matthew Gain was the lone qualifier for Seldovia. He took fifth place with a win over Galena's Ralston Ferguson. Gain pinned Ferguson in the opening round.
Class 1-2-3A Region Tournament
1. Nikiski, 209; 2. Cordova, 184; 3. Seward, 153; 4. Anchorage Christian Schools, 151; 5. Voznesenka, 109; 6. Valdez, 105; 7. Hutchison, 94.5; 8. Grace Christian, 85.5; 9. Glennallen, 72; 10. Eielson, 50.5; 11. Galena, 48; 12. Ninilchik, 44; 13. Cantwell, 17; 13. Seldovia, 17; 15. Tok, 7.
103 -- Keifer Groenveld, Val, p. Anthony Tamblyn, Gra, 3:38; 112 -- Jed Wide, Sew, p. Dillon Gilroy, Acs, 3:27; 119 -- Morgan Sauve, Nik, p. Brandon Hursh, Val, 1:09; 125 -- Nathan Stangel, Nik, dec. Jayden Tumbaga, Nik, 12-7; 130 -- Luke Charters, Acs, t.f. Matt Parker, Nik, 18-2; 135 -- Matthew Downing, Val, dec. Daniel Brandon, Acs, 9-6; 140 -- Kyle Mundy, Cor, p. Brooks Sutter, Gra, 4:59; 145 -- Seth Balint, Cor, dec. Nick Brockman, Gle, 7-5; 152 -- Blake Platt, Cor, dec. Kaden Spurgeon, Nik, 9-2; 160 -- Justin Allen, Val, p. Zenon Martushev, Voz, 2:36; 171 -- Bryan Carrillo, Cor, m.d. Francis Katogan, Gal, 10-2; 189 -- John Kavairlook, Gal, m.d. Billy Markowitz, Sew, 13-4; 215 -- Kyle Kain, Sew, p. Julian Polushkin, Voz, 1:08; 285 -- Leo Polushkin, Voz, p. Henry Eide, Nik, 2:13.
103 -- Misha O'Leary, Sew, dec. Chris Smith, Eie, 12-8; 112 -- Matthew Hatter, Gra, dec. Troi West, Nik, 5-1; 119 -- Cody Gilroy, Acs, p. Eli Keep-Barnes, Hut, 3:05; 125 -- Daniel Tedrick, Acs, p. Brenton Meier, Sew, 1:55; 130 -- David Scerbak, Hut, m.d. Josh Brown, Nik, 13-4; 135 -- Corey Green, Nik, dec. Joe Martishev, Voz, 7-6; 140 -- Brandon Bahnke, Acs, dec. Jeff Klapak, Nil, 3-1; 145 -- Tyler Peek, Nik, p. Zenovei Martushoff, Voz, 3:48; 152 -- Paul Amore, Acs, p. Justin Klapak, Nil, 1:53; 160 -- Lincoln Johnson, Nik, m.d. Matt Adams, Cor, 10-2; 171 -- Kyle Armour, Eie, m.d. Joe Nyholm, Sew, 11-3; 189 -- Matthew Birky, Gra, p. James Logan, Sew, 4:45; 215 -- Wade Simpson, Gle, p. Ted Velasco, Cor, 1:16; 285 -- Samisoni Finau, Gle, p. Alex Rietveld, Gle, 1:39.
103 -- Trey Zimmerman, Nik, p. Andrew Jensen, Hut, 1:02; 112 -- Dustin Elsberry, Hut, p. Shiloh Joyce, Cor, 1:01; 119 -- Carsen Trumblee, Cor, p. Adam Zamudio, Cor, 1:38; 125 -- Bullet Boyles, Gra, p. Savannah Fackler, Sew, 1:07; 130 -- Glenn Norcross, Sew, dec. Bryce Nichols, Can, 12-9; 135 -- Darin Gilman, Cor, p. Kovy Harbick, Nik, 4:46; 140 -- Shane Douglas, Sew, dec. Rudy Martinez, Hut, 11-6; 145 -- Matthew Rogers, Eie, t.f. Nick Markowtiz, Sew, 16-0; 152 -- Vince Fricilone, Hut, p. Sam Borrego, Eie, 5:18; 160 -- Matthew Gain, Sel, p. Ralston Ferguson, Gal, 1:58; 171 -- Luke Rietveld, Gle, dec. Quinn Bennett, Nil, 5-2; 189 -- McKyer Trumblee, Cor, dec. Joshua Dewey, Gal, 6-3; 215 -- Solomon Finau, Gle, p. Terrence Korenev, Val, 3:10; 285 -- Leon Hood, Sew, p. Clay Easterling, Hut, 1:25.
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