The wrestling season is down to six minutes, or 12 minutes, depending on the number of grapplers in a weight bracket at Saturday’s Southeast Region V 4A wrestling championships.
Since both Juneau-Douglas, with six grapplers, and Thunder Mountain, with seven, don’t field full teams, some competitors may wrestler just one match.
“We have a number of wrestlers who are capable of going on to state,” TMHS coach Chad Requa said. “There are going to be some really exciting matches on Saturday.”
Although the tourney was moved from Thunder Mountain High School to Juneau-Douglas, both teams practice on mats in the side gyms of their respective schools so the main gym atmosphere will not be an advantage.
The fan support could be. Especially when both teams do not field entire rosters.
Ketchikan, the third team in the championships, has been the dominant team this season and has won duel team matchups against the Crimson Bears and Falcons.
“There is no margin for error at the region championships,” Ketchikan coach Bill McLaughlin said. “I tell my kids they have been here before, it is just another match. The people in Juneau can get loud but we just have to wrestle.”
They have listed three wrestlers in two of the weight brackets, two wrestlers in four other weight brackets, and seven lone entries in the remaining weights. A school can enter just two wrestlers per weight bracket so the Kings will have to diet down are feast up by Saturday.
That makes a loud crowd very important for JDHS and TMHS. Plus, fans get to see some top action.
“A couple of my wrestlers have been at it since they were in middle school,” JDHS coach John Smith said. “Going to state would be a nice way to top that off.”
Thunder Mountain’s Thomas Riley placed fourth at the state tourney last season, meaning he won the region title and earned the bid to compete against the state’s best wrestlers. Riley has 16 wins and 6 losses at 132-pounds this season.
If all tourney predictions go as planned, Riley’s main nemesis will be Kayhi’s Ian Rud (11-9). The two grapplers were the only 132-pounders. It should be noted however that coaches may try and move a wrestler up or down when they register Saturday, which is legal as long at the wrestler can make the weight. JDHS added William Lott to this weight and he could do some damage.
The Falcons’ Jackson Pavitt also made the state tourney last season. Pavitt is wrestling at 160-pounds and is 16-9. JDHS does not have this weight, but Kayhi feature’s Dalton Spear (14-9) and Robert Williams (2-5).
All wrestlers are ranked and seeded at a coaches meeting in the morning to determine who has earned a bye through their season efforts and who must wrestle first.
Unfortunately for Falcons’ fans in the Taylor family, both Shawn 5-14 and Dylan 2-12, wrestle in the 138-pound division. The Crimson Bears have tough Sam Adam at that weight and Ketchikan once again drops a load of participants in Logan Collins (19-9), Bryce May (1-6) and Theo McBurnette (5-5). Collins has opened some eyes in tournaments farther north.
JDHS has the only local 113-pounder in David Dumesnil (records for JD wrestlers were not presented to the Empire by press time). Dumesnil and Kayhi’s Keenan Spencer (15-9) will be fun to watch.
Ketchikan has the only 120-pounder, Isaac Lontz (18-5). To note, many wrestlers have records that include competitions against grapplers from outside Southeast.
Kayhi also has the only 126-pounders with Hitsati Hudson (3-12), Brandon Ojeda (6-7), and Jamie Barr (7-8).
JDHS senior Ben Hock will be in a dogfight with Ketchikan’s Shiloh Mackey (14-3) and Joseph Chadwell (11-9) at 145-pounds. Plus Crimson Bears’ teammate Malik Brown wants to travel north as well.
The Falcons have Brylie Yadao (4-6) at 152-pounds and he will have his hands full against Kayhi’s Kenny Hamilton (19-4) and Craig Deboer (11-6).
TMHS’ Devin Womak (6-15) will probably open at 170-pounds against Kayhi’s Jake Stout (2-11), before getting a shot at the Kings’ Davon Wake (13-9).
At 182-pounds, the Falcons have another state contender in Stephen Patz (7-13) and the Crimson Bears’ hopes rest with Jerry “JD” Hudson. Hudson could have to open the tourney with Kayhi’s Kohl Hallmann (2-11).
It the region team title is not out of reach for the local teams, it most certainly will be as Ketchikan again has the only participants in the remaining three weights with 195 – pound Jayson Frizzell (1-1), 220-pound Craig Jackson (5-5) and 285-pound Cody Ring (10-10).
Juneau School District teacher, middle school wrestling coach, and region tournament director Kris Mercer stated the action will be fun to watch.
“With only three schools in the tourney anything can happen,” Mercer said. “This weekend will determine the best wrestlers from our region to represent us at state. I am sure they will make us proud. It is a credit to the wrestlers who have stuck through the sport from middle school to this venue.”
The Wresters: 113 – David Dumesnil (JD), Keenan Spencer (KHS). 120 – Isaac Lontz (KHS). 126 - Hitsati Hudson (KHS), Brandon Ojeda (KHS), Jamie Barr (KHS). 132- Thomas Riley (TM), William Lott (JD), Ian Rud (KHS). 138- Sam Adam (JD), Shawn Taylor (TM), Dylan Taylor (TM), Logan Collins (KHS), Bryce May (KHS), Theo McBurnette (KHS). 145 – Ben Hock (JD), Malik Brown (JD), Shiloh Mackey (KHS), Joseph Chadwell (KHS). 152 – Brylie Yadao (TM), Kenny Hamilton (KHS), Craig Deboer (KHS). 160 – Jackson Pavitt (TM), Dalton Spear (KHS), Robert Williams (KHS). 170- Devin Womak (TM), Davon Wake (KHS), Jake Stout (KHS). 182 – Stephen Patz (TM), Jerry Hudson (JD), Kohl Hallmann (KHS). 195 – Jayson Frizzell (KHS). 220 – Craig Jackson (KHS). 285 – Cody Ring (KHS).