It took longer for Thunder Mountain High School senior Thomas Riley to remove his warm-ups than to win his fourth career region wrestling title at Saturdays Region V Championships at Juneau-Douglas High School.
“I just wanted to go out there quick and get a pin,” the Falcons’ Riley said. “I wanted to get it done with. Now I have to train harder this week. I am really excited to get back to state.”
Riley exploded from the hand shake starting his match against Ketchikan’s Ian Rud at 132-pounds to put the Kings grappler on his back. As Rud tired, Riley slowly tightened his grip around the Kings’ neck and shoulders and had a pin with one minute and seven seconds remaining in the first period.
“It feels really good,” Riley said of his fourth region title. “Really good.”
Also feeling really good was 113-pound JDHS sophomore David Dumesnil in a pin over Ketchikan’s Keenan Spencer with :48 left in the opening period.
“My coach and my mom have been telling me all season to go out there and be mean,” JDHS’ David Dumesnil said. “I told myself I had to get this done, I have to do it. I psyched myself up, went out there, and it turned out good.”
Five Juneau grapplers are advancing to the state wrestling tournament at Bartlett High School next weekend.
At 160-pounds TMHS’ Jackson Pavitt topped Ketchikan’s Dalton Spear 6-2 in three periods of action.
“Now we go up and try to place at state,” TMHS’ Jackson Pavitt said. “I hope we get some good matches up there. We definitely have to wrestle smart, not do anything stupid, just wrestle the way we should.”
Crimson Bears sophomore Jerry Hudson was matched up against TMHS senior Stephen Patz. Unbeknownst to Hudson, all three of the southeast 182 pounders were going on to state because the Mid Alaska Conference couldn’t fill the weight.
“I didn’t tell him that if he lost he could still go to state,” JDHS coach John Smith said. “I wanted him to go out there and believe he could win first place. He is a great young wrestler. He got more out of that loss than if he would have won it. And now he still gets to go up against even better competition at state.”
While Hudson made a valiant effort, the Falcons’ Patz was seeded first in the region for a reason and he pinned Hudson with 1:05 remaining in the first period.
“We just have to keep drilling on what we have been working on,” Patz said. “Just get better at it and keep working hard.”
Ketchikan captured the team title with 187 points, with 9 first place winners, 7 seconds and 3 thirds. TMHS was second with 87 points coming from 3 first place winners, 1 second, 2 thirds and 1 fourth. JDHS finished with 36 team points and had 1 first, second, third and fourth grappler. Ketchikan also won the Sportsmanship Trophy and the Kings’ Kenny Hamilton was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Kings’ manager Brianna McLaughlin and TMHS’ Devin Womak were on the All Academic Team.
“I feel good about how we wrestled,” TMHS coach Chad Requa said. “Devin (Womak) and Shawn (Taylor) wrestled tough matches. They all did. They did the things we worked on in practice and were performing like we asked them too. The ones that lost just got beat. The ones that won deserved it.”
The season didn’t end with a region title and a berth to state for Juneau-Douglas High School senior grappler William Lott.
It ended as a testament to the power of the human spirit.
An injury two months earlier when he was lifted in the air and slammed to the mat at a meet in West Valley resulted in a partial shoulder muscle tear and a black out.
Lott had a choice: Surgery would end the season; Rest and rehabilitation would allow a possible return. Either would be his last seconds on the mat.
Lott could choose an end to pain, or he could choose to prolong it.
Lott chose to wrestle. Lott chose to feel the knife-like piercings in his rotator cuff and shoulder muscles grind with each movement. Lott chose to finish his senior season like a wrestler.
“During the season he could wrestle a bit,” JDHS coach John Smith said. “But then he would be so sore he would have to take time off.”
In a region wrestling tournament there is no time off. You wrestle and, win or lose, another match is waiting until a champion is defined and the all-so-rans are in final placing.
Sometimes a champion is an all-so-ran. Sometimes a champion is William Lott, finishing his senior season in fourth place after three matches, his shoulder on fire, his eyes glazed, his head proudly lifted above the Crimson Bears singlet worn for four seasons.
“I have been basically just jogging a lot and trying to work my shoulder,” Lott said. “I haven’t changed my wrestling style at all. I had hoped to go on to state. I never look at the clock or the score and just try to wrestle as hard as I can and have fun.”
Following are the Region V wrestling results:
113-pounds, David Dumesnil (JDHS) by fall over Keenan Spencer (KHS). 120-pounds, Isaac Lontz (KHS) via Bye. 126-pounds, Brandon Ojeda (KHS) by Fall over Jamie Barr (KHS), third place to Hitsati Hudson (KHS). 132-pounds, Thomas Riley (TMHS) by Fall over Ian Rud (KHS). 138-pounds, Logan Collins (KHS) by Fall over Theophilus McBurnette (KHS), third place Shawn Taylor (TMHS), fourth place Dylan Taylor (TMHS). 145-pounds, Shiloh Mackey (KHS) by 9-2 Decision over Joseph Chadwell (KHS), third place Ben Hock (JDHS), fourth place William Lott (JDHS). 152-pounds, Kenny Hamilton (KHS) by 9-7 Decision in overtime against Craig DeBoer (KHS), third place Briley Yadao (TMHS). 160-pounds, Jackson Pavitt (TMHS) by 6-2 Decision over Dalton Spear (KHS), third place Robert Williams (KHS). 170-pounds, Davon Wake (KHS) by 7-2 Decision over Devin Womak (TMHS). 182-pounds, Stephen Patz (TMHS) by Fall over Jerry Hudson (JDHS), third place Jake Stout (KHS). 195-pounds, Kohl Hallmann (KHS) via Bye. 220-pounds, Craig Jackson (KHS) via Bye. 285-pounds, Cody Ring (KHS) via Bye.