JDHS takes region crown

Crimson Bears win 9 individual titles, qualify 12 for state tourney

Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2007

With nine individual champs, the Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team rolled to the Southeast Conference team championships Saturday in Ketchikan.

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The Crimson Bears amassed 191 points to win the title. The Kings finished second with 150 points with Sitka taking third with 103 points.

"We did real well," JDHS coach Kris Mercer said. "I think we had nine firsts, a couple of seconds and the sportsmanship award, a bunch of All-Academic winners. We didn't lose this time."

Heading into the final round, JDHS led the host team by a scant four points.

Needing a big finish to win the team championships, the Crimson Bears responded by winning 9 of the 11 title bouts in which they competed.

"We suited up together, meditated together and got psyched," Mercer said of the time before the finals. "When we got out there, it was Juneau versus Southeast. We had all 11 kids warming up. It was neat teamwork. They're coming together."

Of the nine individual champions, one of the highlights for JDHS came at 112 pounds.

Juneau's Ian Otness pinned Ketchikan's Nick Martin with six seconds left in the match.

"He really pulled it off," Mercer said. "He was not expected to win that one. I think everyone but me and him thought he was going to lose."

At 215 pounds, Ramiro Lamas won a regional title in thrilling fashion.

Trailing Sitka's Bryce Timm by three points late, Lamas managed to turn the tide and pin his opponent with four seconds to spare.

At 125 pounds, Dante Santos routed Sitka's Vince Licari 11-4 to win the title. Mercer, however, felt Santos' semifinal win over Ketchikan's Josh Hahn was the most impressive.

"He was doing flips, twists and was totally impressive," Mercer said. "He's looking good and having fun. You can see the confidence on his face when he walks to the mat. The semifinal was so dynamic."

Two of the weight classes featured Juneau teammates battling for the state title.

Bobby Hunt pinned Sabrina Storey 1:38 in the first round to win the 103-pound championship.

In a battle between the state's third- and fifth-ranked wrestlers at 152 pounds, the Crimson Bears' Matt Barry knocked off teammate Steven Dyer 14-2.

Barry's victory led a streak of six straight JDHS championships.

Joardan Savland (160 pounds), Samson Keeney (171), Tyler Zimmerman (189), Lamas (215) and Jake Mason (275) all won their respective weight classes.

Mason steamrolled his way through the bracket, pinning both of his opponents in less than a minute.

Keeney automatically qualified for the finals and then picked up a 15-3 major decision over Ketchikan's Ryan Borup.

Savland topped Ketchikan's Nick Fama 8-3 while Zimmerman pinned his way to the title.

Ben Roemeling (130) and Bryce Saviers (119) both lost their championships finals, but did qualify for next weekend's state tournament by finishing in the top two.

In all, Juneau-Douglas will send 12 of its 14 wrestlers to the state championships in Chugiak.

Keeney, Savland, Mason, Santos, Zimmerman and manager Eva Ceder earned All-Academic team honors while Keeney and Zimmerman won the sportsmanship awards.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.

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