Voznesenka's Joe Martishev pointed to the rafters and ran toward his coach, giving him a sweaty bearhug.
Nikiski's Kaden Spurgeon pumped his fists and squinted toward the grandstands, blinded by flashing cameras as a hometown crowd rose to its feet.
Martishev and Spurgeon won individual Class 1-2-3A state championships in a span of 10 minutes inside a packed Nikiski gymnasium Saturday night, breaking long championship droughts for their respective schools.
Martishev won the title at 140 pounds, coming from behind to defeat Michael Ace of Valdez 5-2 in the finals. That gave Voznesenka its first individual wrestling title since the program began seven years ago.
Spurgeon followed it up with a title of his own in the very next match, at 145, putting together a 10-5 win against Trevour Chavez of Bethel. It was Nikiski's first title since 2004.
The pair of championships provided highlights for Kenai Peninsula schools on a night when Bethel took home the team trophy in decisive fashion, finishing with 228.5 points. Nikiski earned second with 169.5 points, followed by Dillingham (141).
"Coach said it would be the one with the most desire, who wants it, so the past two weeks in practice I went in double-pumping, nonstop," said Martishev, a senior. "Here I am on top."
It was a crowning moment not only for Martishev, but also for seventh-year coach Steve Wolfe, the man who launched the wrestling program in 2003 despite having no practice facilities.
Wolfe remembered back to the beginning of this season when the squad practiced inside portables, otherwise designated for classroom instruction. He and the athletes pushed chairs and desks toward the wall simply to create enough space in which to practice.
The enrollment at Voznesenka is 30, Wolfe said, and 13 of those students participated on the wrestling squad this season, including an all-time-high five seniors.
Until Saturday, however, the closest the school got to having a champ was a third-place finish from Leo Polushkin in 2009.
A group of family members and friends made the trip to Nikiski, gathering in a corner of the gym as Martishev made history.
"They aren't just wrestling for themselves or their families or their school, they are wrestling for their whole culture," Wolfe said.
The wrestler whose face was hidden for every match -- he wore a black mask under his headgear -- defeated three opponents to whom he had previously lost to win the title. Martishev said Old Believer tradition prohibits shaving, and by rule, wrestlers aren't allowed to have facial hair.
Although his face was covered much of the evening, there was no hiding Martishev's smile after the title victory.
"Just to see coach jumping up in air -- 'we did it, we did it' -- I almost started crying," he said.
Spurgeon, meanwhile, gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he led from start to finish against Chavez in the finals at 145. A three-time state participant, Spurgeon finished third in 2008 as well as in 2009.
On his way to gold, Spurgeon won by major decision in the first round, quarterfinals and semifinals before doubling up Chavez for the championship.
He took a 2-0 lead in the first period and held at least a two-point advantage the rest of the way. Spurgeon lost to Chavez at the Anchorage Christian Schools Invitational early this season, making the win all the sweeter.
"It was the best feeling in the world, I've never felt so good," Spurgeon said. "All those hours in the weight room and mat room, working with the coaches, it paid off. Every minute of it."
Spurgeon's name will be inked on a banner and raised to the gym rafters, where it will be placed next to another for his father, who was a two-time state champion.
With another year of eligibility, Spurgeon hopes to duplicate that effort.
In the meantime, he's fine with relishing title No. 1.
"I've been working for this since fourth grade," he said. "All around, it was just a great tournament."
The Bulldogs had two second-place finishers -- Lincoln Johnson, who lost 15-0 to Dylan Castle of Craig in the finals at 171, and Nathan Stangel, who despite a gritty effort lost 7-5 against Seth O'Brien of Bethel in the championship at 130.
Josh Brown (135), Corey Green (140) and Tyler Peek (145) each took third, while Trey Zimmerman placed sixth. The Bulldogs also had 11 athletes who didn't reach the podium.
Coach Adam Anders expected the Bulldogs to compete for the team title.
"We were hoping to get first, but we still had a strong performance," he said, thanking his coaching staff for their work this season. "We should be even stronger next season."
Voznesenka's Julian Polushkin placed second at 215, helping the Cougars finish 10th as a team.
Seward finished 19th as a squad and was led by Jed Wilde, who earned fifth at 125.
Ninilchik's lone wrestler, Sam Bennett, went 1-2.
Class 1-2-3A state wrestling
1. Bethel, 228.5; 2. Nikiski, 169.5; 3. Dillingham, 141; 4. Kotzebue 127; 5. Sitka, 112.5; 6. Craig, 109; 7. Mt. Edgecumbe, 106; 8. Cordova, 98.5; 9. Valdez, 79.5; 10. Voznesenka, 68; 11. Petersburg, 67; 12. Barrow, 53; 13. Nome, 50; 14. Anchorage Christian School, 39; 15. Yakutat, 37; 16. Glennallen, 36; 17. New Stuyahok, 35; 18. Metlakatla, 29; 19. Seward, 26; 20. Unalakleet, 24; 21. Wrangell, 20; 22. Unalaska, 17; 22. (tie) Newhalen, 17; 24. Hutchison, 14; 24. (tie) Thorne Bay, 14; 26. Grace Christian, 13; 27. Hydaburg, 9 28. Napaskiak, 8; 29. Chevak, 6; 29. (tie) Hoonah, 6; 29. (tie) Koliganek, 6; 32. Galena, 5; 32. (tie) Ninilchik, 5; 34. Delta Junction, 4; 34. (tie) Stebbins, 4; 34. (tie) Angoon, 4; 37. Buckland, 3; 37. (tie) Haines, 3; 39. Eielson, 2.5; 40. Koyuk, 2.
103 -- Tanner Thain, Crai, dec. Dhanmark Angeles, Bar, 9-6; 112 -- Zach Pleasent, Bet, dec. Scott Hansen, Kot, 6-4; 119 -- Jared Miller, Dil, dec. Gabe Cabrera, Nom, 9-6; 125 -- Jesse Rogers, dec. Will Patrick, Sit, 2-1 (OT); 130 -- Seth O'Brien, Bet, dec. Nathan Stangel Nik, 7-5; 135 -- Ryan Baxter, Cra, major dec. Mario Kugo, Bet, 8-0; 140 -- Joe Martishev, Voz, dec. Michael Ace, Val, 5-2; 145 -- Kaden Spurgeon, Nik, dec. Trevour Chavez, Bet, 10-5; 152 -- Matthew Rogers, Mte, dec. Reed Tennyson, Dil, 11-5; 160 -- Justin Allen, Val, p. Paul Amore, Anc, 1:48; 171 -- Dylan Castle, Cra, tech. fall. Lincoln Johnson, Nik, 15-0; 189 -- Ryne Sorenseon, Sit, major dec. Bryan Carrillo, Cor, 14-0; 215 -- Tony Craig, Pet, major dec. Julian Polushkin, Vol, 14-6; HWT -- Jaylin Prince, Mte, dec. Jacob Craig, Pet, 5-1.
103 -- Darin Davis, Sit, major dec. Brettlyn Reich, Kot, 11-3; 112 -- Joe Kohler, Nst, dec. Tyler Eide, Nom, 9-4; 119 -- Doug Ohara, Kot, dec. Noah Roetman, Kot, 8-2; 125 -- Landon Eck, Kot, p. Dennis Wilson, Dil, 3:27; 130 -- Aydin Erlich, Kot, dec. Nolan Christopher, Nst, 4-2; 135 -- Josh Brown, Nik, p. Matthew Rae, Kot, 3:35; 140 -- Corey Green, Nik, dec. Cordbin LePore, Bet, 8-7; 145 -- Tyler Peek, Nik, p. Carl Fox, Bet, 3:46; 152 -- Seth Balint, Cor, major dec. Joseph Lie, Bet, 20-10; 160 -- Zenon Martushev, Voz, dec. Anthony Minnillo, Tho, 9-5; 171 -- Shyler Johnson, Unk, p. John Vandeventer, Dil, 3:55; 189 -- Demetrius Milne, Met, p. Even Brandon, Dil, 2:47; 215 -- Timothy Robb, Bet, won by forfeit. McKyer Trumblee, Cor; HWT -- Erich Pili, Bar, p. Dakota Ekis, Yak, 3:50.
103 -- Josh Mendenhall, Bet, dec. Trey Zimmerman, Nik, 4-0; 112 -- Kiefer Groenveld, Val, dec. Anthony Walsh, Gra, 4-0; 119 -- Austin Rake, Val, dec. Chris Clement, Sit, 13-12; 125 -- Jed Wilde, Sew, major dec. Cody Gilroy, Anc, 16-7; 130 -- Cade Schlagel, Dil, tech. fall. Austin McKeehan, Met, 15-0; 135 -- Craig Schlosser, Dil, p. David Stickel, Nom, :14; 140 -- Brayton Lieb, Bet, dec. Max Hanson, Sit, 2-1; 145 -- Zac Call, Una, dec. Mason Kimber, Cor, 6-3; 152 -- Tyler Anelon, New, p. Kristian Geise, Hoo, 1:47; 160 -- Mike Corl, Pet, p. Carl Crockett, Mte, 2:01; 171 -- Matt Adams, Cor, won by forfeit. Steven Johnson, Wra; 189 -- Rex Newlun, Yak, dec. James Logan, Sew, 8-3; 215 -- Adam Iyapana, Mte, dec. Cory Simon, Bet, 3-2; HWT -- Samson Finau, Gle, p. Alex Rietveld, Gle, :35.
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