Eleven Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers, competing as a Southeast Alaska club team, secured a second-place finish at the Phoenix (Ore.) High School Christmas Tournament over the holiday break.
The full high school team will return to competition this week with a Thursday dual meet and Friday-Saturday tournament at West Valley High School in Fairbanks.
In Oregon, the Juneau wrestlers were led by perfect 6-0 individual records posted by Dennis Hall at 119 pounds; David Liliedahl at 140 pounds; Isaac Cadiente at 145 pounds; and Robert Vicario at 215 pounds.
As a team, Juneau accumulated 74.5 points. First-place Banks High School - ranked third in the state of Oregon - had 81 points.
Juneau's finish was even more impressive, since the team gave up 24 points due to forfeits and was further depleted by an injury to Sungie Musarra at 112 pounds.
"There was good competition," coach Bob Mahon said. "It was a great trip for us. Hopefully it will work well for us" as the high school season goes on.
Among the wrestlers with perfect Oregon records, Liliedahl and Cadiente each had five pins, while Vicario recorded three and Hall one.
Other individual records at the meet included: Gerry Carillo, 103 pounds, 5-1, first in weight class; Cody Wolf, 103, 5-1, second; Sungie Musarra, 112, 2-1, withdrew due to injury; Logan Harvey, 125, 2-3; Buckley Svinicki, 135, 5-1 (three pins), second; Austen Clair, 160, 5-1 (two pins), second; and Jake Ritter, 189, 3-3 (one pin), third.
In addition to the tournament experience, the Juneau wrestlers also got a chance to practice in wrestling rooms at some of the local high schools.
"It makes a huge difference," Cadiente said of practices in the extra-heated, wrestling-dedicated facilities. "We lost eight to 10 pounds per practice."
Cadiente said that over the course of a typical home practice in the cool, airy Marie Drake gym, wrestlers usually lose about five pounds.
The team also was exposed to different practice philosophies. While Juneau team practices are demanding, Carillo said he was impressed by the constant activity of the Oregon teams.
"They don't stop moving the whole time," Carillo said.
Wolf said the experience gained from the Oregon trip should benefit the team in the coming weeks.
"It'll help us for regions and state," he said. "I saw a lot of new moves. I think I'll do better at (this weekend's meets in) Fairbanks and (at the state meet in) Ketchikan."
The Crimson Bears will face off with the West Valley Wolfpack in a dual meet on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, more than a dozen teams are expected to compete at the West Valley tournament. It will be the last chance for Juneau to see "up north" competition before next month's state meet in Ketchikan.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.
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