Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling coach Bob Mahon scanned a list of the state's top-ranked wrestlers Wednesday after practice. The list had more High-Liter marks than a college textbook.
``See these kids in yellow?'' Mahon asked. ``All the marked kids are in this tournament.''
The tournament Mahon referred to is the Bob Weiss Great Alaska Challenge in Ketchikan. This Friday and Saturday the Crimson Bears will take on their toughest meet of the season this side of the state tournament. Service and Chugiak - ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, by Alaska Wrestling Online - will be in attendance. Lathrop, which received several votes in the poll, will also attend along with West Valley and Sitka, not to mention the host defending Region V champion Ketchikan Kings.
``There's 30 to 35 top-ranked wrestlers coming (actually 42),'' said Ketchikan coach Rick Collins. ``It should be a pretty tough tournament.''
Five Juneau wrestlers are ranked in the poll - Anthony Manacio IV at 103 pounds, brother Anthony Manacio III at 125, Jestin Hulegaard at 130, Gary Reid at 140, and Garrett Schoenberger at 171. Ketchikan has seven ranked wrestlers - Joey Fama (119), Travis Johnson (135), Geoff Nordland (152), Leif Thompson (189), Tryg Westergard (215), and Matt Hamilton (heavyweight). Two Sitka wrestlers were named, Jamie McCrehin at 119 and David Gauthier at 125.
Mahon said the poll is a relatively accurate indicator of the state's top wrestlers.
Juneau will also butt heads with one of Colorado's most dominant programs. Alamosa is the defending Class 4A champion and has won five state titles since 1988. The Mean Moose feature two wrestlers - Pat Walsh at 112 pounds and Steve Malouff at 125 - that are going for their third straight state titles.
``They definitely have a good wrestling tradition,'' Collins said.
Also attending is a team from Upper Lake, Calif., located roughly 100 miles northwest of Sacramento.
The tournament features nine teams rotating through a round-robin bracket so each team wrestles eight dual meets.
For Southeast teams, the Challenge is important because it will give wrestlers a chance to match up with some of northern Alaska's best teams before the state tournament Feb. 4-5. With so many top wrestlers in the tourney, good performances will go a long way toward seeding at the state tournament, Mahon said.
Juneau covers just about every weight class in the tourney, with a few wrestlers able to compete up or down a class depending on the need, Mahon said.
CLASS 4A STATE WRESTLING POLLS
The Class 4A state high school team and individual wrestling polls released Jan. 4. The polls are compiled by Eric Wade, who produces the Alaska Wrestling website (www.alaskawrestling.com), after consultation with many of the state's high school wrestling coaches.
Teams - 1. Service; 2. Chugiak; 3. Wasilla; 4. Palmer; 5. Skyview. Others receiving votes: Colony, Lathrop, North Pole, Kodiak, Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas.
103 pounds - 1. Danny Spicer, Service; 2. Ed Bailey, Chugiak; 3. Andy Anderson, Palmer; 4. Cory Crane, Wasilla; 5. Anthony Manacio IV, Juneau-Douglas; 6. Darin Pestrikoff, Dimond; 7. Aaron Olsen, Kodiak.
112 - 1. Jordan Brock, Wasilla; 2. Junior Valladolid, Kodiak; 3. Todd Krieg, North Pole; 4. Jack Koutchak, Lathrop; 5. Jesse Schenk, Colony.
119 - 1. Matt Laselle, Wasilla; 2. Stan Brown, Chugiak; 3. Jamie McCrehin, Sitka; 4. Daniel Pickett, Colony; 5. Len Tole, Chugiak; 6. Joey Fama, Ketchikan.
125 - 1. Scott Jorgenson, Palmer; 2. Neil Strausbaugh, Skyview; 3. Anthony Manacio III, Juneau-Douglas; 4. Jon Dearborn, Lathrop; 5. Daniel Graham, Colony; 6. David Gauthier, Sitka.
130 - 1. Willie Young, North Pole; 2. Jason Bussdieker, Skyview; 3. Steve Haseltine, Ketchikan; 4. Cody King, Service; 5. Jestin Hulegaard, Juneau-Douglas.
135 - 1. Bill Jolin, Service; 2. James Murrel, Palmer; 3. Derek Tarr, Soldotna; 4. Steven Manuel, Bartlett; 5. Travis Johnson, Ketchikan.
140 - 1. A.J. Cathey, Wasilla; 2. Chris Hill, Service; 3. John Ford, Palmer; 4. Tim Hendricks, West Anchorage; 5. Gary Reid, Juneau-Douglas; 6. Ian Leach, Skyview; 7. Anthony Woods, Chugiak.
145 - 1. David Lorring, West Valley; 2. Castel Santana, Service; 3. Kyle Karstens, Soldotna; 4. Jake Roddick, North Pole; 5. Billy Pate, Lathrop; 6. Thomas Nelson, Chugiak.
152 - 1. Geoff Nordlund, Ketchikan; 2. Jens Schurig, Chugiak; 3. Carl Noble, North Pole; 4. Jimmy Fejes, Service; 5. Josh Donn, Palmer; 6. Brian Shinn, Service.
160 - 1. Isaac Dobbs, West Valley; 2. Chris Rice, Skyview; 3. Dave O'Brien, Kodiak; 4. Alex Jeffries, Service; 5. Chaun Sims, North Pole; 6. Sherman Powell, Service.
171 - 1. Justin Thompson, Soldotna; 2. Garrett Schoenberger, Juneau-Douglas; 3. Mike Knowles, Kodiak; 4. Shayne Norton, Colony; 5. James Beaudoin, Wasilla.
189 - 1. Eric Romberg, Soldotna; 2. Byron Lance, Chugiak; 3. Leif Thompson, Ketchikan; 4. Michael Delaney, Colony; 5. Jake Urban, Soldotna; 6. Brandon Requa, Service; 7. Victor Casey, Chugiak.
215 - 1. Trygve Westergard, Ketchikan; 2. Josh Hendrickson, Chugiak; 3. James Winter, Colony; 4. Mike Quinn, West Valley; 5. Tito Bergt, Service.
Heavyweight (275) - 1. Kelsey Gray, West Anchorage; 2. Kelly Kirk, Kodiak; 3. Robbie Simpson, Service; 4. Chris Halverson, Wasilla; 5. Matt Hamilton, Ketchikan; 6. Justen Otness, Lathrop.