The Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team had five individual champions, but it wasn't enough to keep the tournament-host Ketchikan Kings from claiming their fifth Region V wrestling title in six years.
The Kings also had five individual champions as they scored 188 points at Saturday's meet at Ketchikan High School. Sitka had four champions and scored 160.5 points for second place, followed by Juneau with 160 points for third.
Juneau junior John Kuterbach earned outstanding wrestler honors after winning the title at 160 pounds, and the Crimson Bears won the team sportsmanship award.
"I'm real pleased, I'm really happy with the outstanding wrestler and sportsmanship awards," Juneau coach Kris Mercer said by phone Saturday night, before he was aware of a scoring adjustment that moved Sitka ahead of Juneau in the team standings. "This is our first year. We'll settle for second this year, but we'll get first next time."
The Crimson Bears were led by Kuterbach, who was seeded second in his weight class before upsetting top-seeded Anthony Haskins of Sitka with a 13-2 major decision. Kuterbach earned his first trip to the state tournament with the victory.
The other Juneau region champions were sophomore Gerry Carrillo at 103 pounds, junior Jordan Saceda at 119, senior Dennis Hall at 125 and junior Jake Ritter at 215. The only other Juneau wrestler to reach the finals was freshman Dante "Jephty" Santos, who took second place at 112 pounds.
The top two finishers in each weight class earned trips to this weekend's Class 4A state tournament at Chugiak High School. Ketchikan and Sitka both had 11 state qualifiers, while Juneau had six qualifiers. Juneau also had seven wrestlers take third place and just miss spots at state, while three others took fourth place.
"We'd been shooting for eight or nine (state qualifiers)," Mercer said. "But they used a computer to seed the byes and some of our guys ended up wrestling the top-seed guy right away. We really wrestled pretty well."
Carrillo, the state's No. 1 wrestler at 103 pounds, won his first region title with a 9-3 decision over Ketchikan's Nick Fama. Carrillo went to state last year at 112 pounds.
Saceda, another Juneau wrestler who didn't make state last year, earned his first region title with a 10-4 decision over Sitka's Jim Jurczak at 119. Saceda wrestled at 130 last year, but dropped down to his more-natural weight this season.
Hall, who went to state last year at 125, won his first region title with a 10-3 decision over Sitka's Lucas Chambers.
Ritter, the state's No. 1 wrestler at 215 pounds, maintained his perfect record and won his first region crown when Sitka's Matt Loucks was forced into an injury forfeit. Ritter, who was fifth at state last year at 189 pounds, is 27-0 this season at 215.
Santos was pinned in the first period of his 112-pound final by Ketchikan's David Mann, who won last year's state title at 103 pounds, but Santos still earned his first state berth by making the finals.
"This was a building year for us," Mercer said. "I'm real happy with all the kids we'll be sending to state. There's not a slouch in the bunch. They'll represent us well."
Besides Mann, Ketchikan's champions were Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz at 135 pounds, Iain Brown at 145, Zach Thompson at 171 and Jon Hamilton at 275. Sitka's champions were Hank Derenoff at 130, Tyler Wagner at 140, Dylan Bergman at 152 and Jake LaDuke at 189.
Championship final and consolation final results from the region meet will run later this week.
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