The first two championship matches of the 2014 Southeast Middle School wrestling championships at Floyd Dryden Middle School ignited a packed gymnasium of wrestlers, fans and supporters as Juneau’s two middle schools had grapplers with their arms raised high overhead in victory by the referee.
Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School’s Connor Norman won a 4-0 decision over Sitka’s Kyle England at 75-pounds for the tourney title and FDMS’s Jahrease Mays pinned Ketchikan’s Schoenbar Middle School 80-pounder Payton Stewart at :59 of the first period.
“I just went in there confident that I was going to have a tough match,” Mays said. “He shot a takedown and then everything just turned out to go good from there. I was really focused on that match. I was practicing three hours before that match, I knew I was going to be wrestling him.”
Mays said he used a sagging head and arm to break Stewart down. Mays also defeated Stewart in Ketchikan last year and in the Southeast Championships last season.
The middle school wrestling tournament is one of the best ways local youth athletes learn about competition and meet other youth athletes they will interact with into high school and sometimes beyond.
“After the pin I just looked at the clock and saw like, eight seconds,” Mays said. “It makes you feel like you are really good, and doing it in front of the crowd makes it even better. I am not sure what high school I am going to go to but I want to go win state titles at either one.”
The atmosphere of the tournament brought over 200 Southeast wrestlers into Juneau for the two-day tournament. Another 100 elementary school grapplers held a tournament on Sunday at FDMS.
For Norman, the title was sweet because he has spent his career wrestling against Mays.
“He has definitely improved my wrestling,” Norman said. “When practicing, Jahrease takes the time to make sure we are doing the moves right, so we both can improve. He is always a good sport.”
Norman used a double-leg take down and a Mat-return to power his way to the title.
“My favorite move is the cradle,” Norman said. “I’m working on improving that.”
Ketchikan’s Schoenbar Middle School took the team title with 304.50 points, Petersburg’s Mitkof Middle School was second with 179, FDMS third with 150.50, Sitka fourth 145, Thorne Bay fifth 93, Craig sixth 80, Wrangell seventh 78, DHMS eighth 56, Hoonah ninth 31, Haines tallied 24 points, Gustavus 18, Kake 9, Yakutat 5, and Pelican, Klawock, and Hydaburg 0.
“You get to watch how other wrestlers wrestle,” Mays said. “And you get to learn, especially if they are in your weight class or close to it you may be wrestling them in the future. You get to watch what they do, all their moves, and see what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
Middle school coaches, both local and visiting, expressed concern that an alternate venue may be found to permanently host the middle school championships due to concerns over the Juneau School District travel policy.
“The wrestling this past weekend at Floyd Dryden was great,” Floyd Dryden assistant coach Ken Brown said. FDMS assistant Chris Heidemann is acting head coach this season due to head coach Kris Mercer’s health. “It was wonderful to see so many kids working so hard to represent their community in a positive manner. It really showed how important the issue of travel is to Southeast Alaska and to the culture of sharing between the communities. I hope the school board noticed and will reverse their decision on banning middle school travel. I would hate to see an event that brings 200 plus kids and their families to Juneau go away due to the decisions of a few. Hopefully business leaders will also take notice and let the school board know they enjoy the increased business these athletic events bring to town. It would be a shame to see this go away.”
Mays, Norman and eighth-grader Kailer Lindley will be traveling as part of the Juneau Tornados Youth Wrestling Club to the state championships at Tanana this weekend. These athletes will not represent Juneau middle schools but will be associated with the Juneau club team and had to fund raise for the trip.
Championship — Conner Norman (DZ) dec. Kyle England (SIT) 4-0; Third place — Nate Houston (FD) dec. Hank Voltz (WRG) 7-2; Fifth place — Curtis Stauss (DZ) dec. Merrick Nilsen (PSG) 6-0.
Championship — Jahrease Mays (FD) pin Payton Stewart (SCH) :59; Third place — Johnny Olsoe (TB) pin Andy Collings (KET) 1:21; Fifth place — Joyln Toyomura (PSG) pin Kaylahni Bidiman (HNH) :38.
Championship — Matthew Rodriguez (SCH) maj. dec. Patrick Rauwolf (SCH) 9-0; Third place — J.D. Barrat (WRG) dec. Shaw Merry (KAK) 8-0; Fifth place — Chase Foster (FD) pin Israel Collinson (PSG) :23.
Championship — Brayden Linne (SCH) pin JD Gagner (SIT) 4:10; Third place — Alex Worhatch (PSG) maj. dec. Brandol Arnold (SIT) 13-2; Fifth place — Bradey Beam (FD) maj. dec. Jacob Patrick (GUS) 9-0.
Championship — Conner Fairchild (FD) pin Orion Heller (WRG) :40; Third place — Emmitt Anderson (SIT) dec. Paul Allmendinger (SCH) 9-7; Fifth place — Henry Davis (DZ) pin Thomas Durkin (PSG) :57.
Championship — Sean Tavares (SCH) pin Sid Fleming (SIT) 3:56; Third place — Van Abbot (PSG) pin Henry Short (PSG) 1:36; Fifth place — Cody Requa (FD) pin Austin Jackson (FD) :40.
Championship — Dawson Daniels (SCH) pin Ian Jenson (TB) 5:32; Third place — Teag Schawrtz (PSG) dec. Gavin Hammock (SIT) 6-4; Fifth place — Trenton Hammock (SIT) pin Tyler Traudt (SCH) 1:42.
Championship — Wayland Patton (CRG) dec. Vince Tenebro (SCH) 4-3; Third place — Cameron Reines (SIT) pin Josh Wright (HNH) 9-5; Fifth place — Kailer Lindley (FD) dec. Hunter Wiederspohn (WRG) 10-9.
Championship — Grant Collins (SCH) dec. Bryan Castle (CRG) 5-1; Third place — Cameron Bauer (HNS) pin Darren James (SCH) 1:29; Fifth place — Tosh Robinson (FD) dec. Devin Rusher (TB) 12-6.
Championship — Kadin Hodges (SCH) pin Camden Suarez (SIT) :57; Third place — Drew Marker (CRG) dec. Eric Ulery (TB) 1-0; Fifth place — Conner Simons (SCH) tech fall Drake Carabajal (FD) 18-3.
Championship — Kyler Sumuang (SIT) dec. Max Collins (SCH) 9-6; Third place — Dale Strong (PSG) dec. Nate Eisenhower (SCH) 9-3; Fifth place — Dillon Rooney (WRG) pin Juan Sanchez (PSG) 1:39.
Championship — Titus Tripple (TB) pin Dawson Froehlic (SIT) :20; Third place — Nick Hofstad (PSG) dec. Josh DeAsis (DZ) 8-2; Fifth place — Christian Strahm (SIT) pin Damion Wallace (SCH) :27.
Championship — Justin Albecker (SCH) pin Max DiCicco (SIT) 1:27; Third place — Kayden Bird (CRG) dec. Britton Erickson (PSG) 9-2; Fifth place — Dawson Entwit (SCH) dec. Chase Lockhart (PSG) 6-0.
Championship — Colby Houthoofd (SCH) pin Maverick Ballard (CRG) :41; Third place — Terran Stack (SCH) pin Stone Arnce (PSG) :52; Fifth place — Tyler Turner (SCH) pin Elisa Larson (PSG) :15.
Championship — Nathan Van Sickle (FD) pin Chase Maxwell (PSG) :52; Third place — Steven Rosales (FD) dec. Brandon Guthrie (HNH) 5-4, OT; Fifth place — Micah Eichner (SCH) pin Zach O’Mally (TB) 2:10.
Championship — Mark Neidiffer (PSG) pin Cameron Harris (SCH) :45; Third place — Lance Fiagatusa (FD) dec. Alex Eldama (FD) 7-6; Fifth place — Kyrel Payne (FD) pin Jerry White (HNH) 2:45.
Championship — Caleb Groshong (WRG) dec. Brandon Ware (PSG) 5-1; Third place — Josh Quinto (FD) pin Matthew Tualau (GUS) 1:44; Fifth place — Duane Harwell (DZ) maj. dec. Bowen Price (CRG) 9-1.
Championship — Joey Rhodes (SCH) pin Bobby Cox (FD) :53; Third place — Billy Joe Griffin (SCH) pin Isaak Larson (YAK) 1:30.