The Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team won eight of the 14 weight classes to claim the overall crown at the Southeast Conference-Class 4A Championships held Friday at Sitka High School.
Juneau scored 204 points for the team title, outpacing Sitka's 174 points and Ketchikan's 157.5. The Crimson Bears also had five other wrestlers reach the finals, giving Juneau 13 athletes to take to this coming weekend's Class 4A state championships at Chugiak High School.
"What do you need to know? We took first place and we're taking 13 wrestlers to state," Juneau head coach Kris Mercer said. "We got eight firsts and five seconds, and the kids wrestled tough."
Sitka's George Wathen was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler after claiming the title in the 130-pound weight class, and the host Wolves won the team sportsmanship award. Mercer said senior Luis Highley won Juneau's sportsmanship award and all six of Juneau's seniors - Sungie Musarra, Jordan Saceda, John Kuterbach, Highley, Jake Ritter and Alika Bradley - made the academic all-conference team.
The Crimson Bears got off to a strong early start as they won the four lightest weight classes and six of the first seven.
Sophomore Dante Santos, who's ranked second in the state in his weight class according to the AlaskaWrestling.com rankings, got things rolling for Juneau when he pinned Sitka's Michael Abt in 3 minutes, 28 seconds to claim the 103-pound championship.
The 112 final was an all-Juneau non-bout featuring the top two wrestlers in the state at that weight class. Junior Gerry Carrillo, who's ranked No. 1, won by forfeit over No. 2 Musarra, who Mercer said wasn't feeling well so they decided to save him for state.
"Santos looked good," Mercer said. "We need to get healthy, because we've had a run of the flu."
Saceda pinned Sitka's Jim Jurczak at 119 pounds in a very quick 17 seconds to win a battle of the No. 4 and No. 5 wrestlers in the state rankings. Juneau junior Cody Wolf, who's ranked No. 5 in the state at 125 pounds, edged Sitka's Lucas Chambers with an 8-6 decision to finish the Crimson Bears' haul of the first four titles.
"Saceda wrestled last night like I've never seen him wrestle," Juneau assistant coach Darren May said.
Wathen, who's ranked No. 5 at 130 pounds, prevented a Crimson Bear sweep of the seven lightest weight classes when he pinned Juneau's Steven Dyer in 4:52. But then two unranked Juneau wrestlers won titles as Joardan Savland won an 8-4 decision over Ketchikan's James Gillian at 135 pounds and Matt Barry won a 16-10 decision over teammate Clinton Clark at 140.
"Joardan Savland has only wrestled a couple of times all year, but he came out of nowhere to win at 135," May said. "I think the best match of the tournament was between Matt Barry and Clinton Clark. Those two were really going at it."
Juneau's other titles came at 171, when Kuterbach claimed a 6-3 decision over Ketchikan's Ryan Hendricks, and at 215, as Ritter pinned Ketchikan's Kenny Pearson in 1:47. Kuterbach is ranked No. 2 in the state at his weight class, while Ritter is ranked No. 4.
Also reaching the finals for Juneau and qualifying for state were Garret Cox, who dropped a 15-5 major decision to Sitka's Jason Koelling at 145 pounds, and Jake Mason, who was pinned in 58 seconds by No. 3 Jake LaDuke of Sitka at 189 pounds. The other non-Crimson Bear titles went to Sitka's Dylan Bergman at 152, Ketchikan's Iain Brown at 160 and Ketchikan's Jon Hamilton at 275 pounds.
"We've got 13 wrestlers going up north," May said. "We were hoping to squeeze one or two more, but Phillip (Moser) lost a tough (3-1) decision to Kenneth Davis of Ketchikan at 152 when Davis got a takedown at the end. Alika (Bradley) had a good match with (Sitka's Tyler) Holmlund, but lost 2-0. The last two weeks are probably the best Alika's wrestled all season, and it's a shame he's a senior and only two guys get to go to state."
The Crimson Bears are hoping their 13 wrestlers, including seven ranked in the state poll, will lead to a high finish this coming weekend at the state meet.
"It's going to be so fun up there," Mercer said.
CLASS 4A CHAMPIONSHIPS
Results from the Southeast-Class 4A Wrestling Championships held Friday at Sitka High School. Results listed are the team scores and for the championship and consolation finals. Wrestlers who reached the championship finals in each weight class qualified for the state meet.
Team scores - 1. Juneau-Douglas, 204 points; 2. Sitka, 174; 3. Ketchikan, 157.5.
103 pounds - Dante Santos, Juneau, pin. Michael Abt, Sitka, 3 minutes, 28 seconds. 112 - Gerry Carrillo, Juneau, def. Sungie Musarra, Juneau, forfeit. 119 - Jordan Saceda, Juneau, pin. Jim Jurczak, Sitka, 0:17. 125 - Cody Wolf, Juneau, dec. Lucas Chambers, Sitka, 8-6. 130 - George Wathen, Sitka, pin. Steven Dyer, Juneau, 4:52. 135 - Joardan Savland, Juneau, dec. James Gillian, Ketchikan, 8-4. 140 - Matt Barry, Juneau, dec. Clinton Clark, Juneau, 16-10. 145 - Jason Koelling, Sitka, maj. dec. Garret Cox, Juneau, 15-5. 152 - Dylan Bergman, Sitka, maj. dec. Ken Davis, Ketchikan, 17-3. 160 - Iain Brown, Ketchikan, pin. Trevor Norton, Ketchikan, 4:50. 171 - John Kuterbach, Juneau, dec. Ryan Hendricks, Ketchikan, 6-3. 189 - Jake LaDuke, Sitka, pin. Jake Mason, Juneau, 0:58. 215 - Jake Ritter, Juneau, pin. Kenny Pearson, Ketchikan, 1:47. 275 - Jon Hamilton, Ketchikan, pin. Tyler Holmlund, Sitka, 2:39.
103 pounds - Kyle Foote, Ketchikan (no opponent). 112 - Vince Licari, Sitka, pin. Anthony Chavarria, Ketchikan, 0:07. 119 - Kevin Conway, Sitka, dec. Buddy Howard, Juneau, 7-0. 125 - Andrew Goodwin, Ketchikan (no opponent). 130 - Nick Fama, Ketchikan, pin. Bill Pearson, Ketchikan 1:38. 135 - Torin Lehmann, Sitka (no opponent). 140 - Karl Leitz, Ketchikan, dec. Kamden Johnson, Sitka, 8-6, OT. 145 - Jemery Minshall, Ketchikan, dec. Ramiro Lamas, Juneau, 8-5. 152 - Phillip Moser, Juneau, pin. Dylan Mores, Juneau, 4:29. 160 - Sean O'Neill, Sitka, maj. dec. Kevin Skannes, Sitka, 11-2. 171 - Samson Keeney, Juneau, dec. Finn Straley, Sitka, 8-5. 189 - Blaine Heaton, Ketchikan, pin. Forest Allred, Ketchikan, 5:39. 215 - Bryce Timm, Ketchikan, pin. Kevin Wilkens, Juneau, 1:13. 275 - Alika Bradley, Juneau, pin. Dustin Simpson, Ketchikan, 0:36.