FAIRBANKS -- It took a 140-pound, seventh-seeded wrestler to end a 14-year drought.
Senior Gary Reid became the first Juneau-Douglas wrestler since 1986 to claim a state wrestling title by beating Palmer's John Ford 6-5 at the 2000 Alaska State Wrestling Tournament on Friday and Saturday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center.
Then, only four matches later, Reid's teammate and life-long friend Garrett Schoenberger defeated Wasilla's Josh Beaudoin 7-5 to win a title of his own.
``I couldn't ask for more than this,'' Schoenberger said. ``We have been best friends. We used to wrestle in our living rooms. This is all we've ever worked for.''
``We have been working for this for four years,'' Reid said. ``We've been thinking about this all season, it is always in the back of your mind.''
Perennial wrestling power Service High School claimed the team title with 159.5 points. Palmer took second with 124.5 points and Lathrop finished third with 118. Juneau finished 10th with 74 points, while Ketchikan was 13th with 64 and Sitka took 17th with 23. Sitka and Colony were each given the sportsmanship award and Dimond earned the Academic Award with a team grade point average of 3.38.
The Juneau seniors both pulled of upsets in route to their state titles.
Schoenberger, ranked first in his class in the most recent state wrestling poll but seeded second, upset top-seeded Josh Beaudoin of Wasilla by a 7-5 decision. Reid defeated both the first and second seeds at 140, earning himself not only a state title but the tournament's outstanding wrestler award.
Before the tournament JuneauDouglas head coach Bob Mahon told Reid that his goal for his 140 pounder was just to arrive healthy. Reid cut two of his fingers on his left hand in an accident with a snowblower right before a tournament at West High in Anchorage earlier this season. He had also injured his leg in a separate incident. Despite the injuries, Reid still took second in the tourney, losing only to Tim Hendricks of West. That second-place medal proved to inspire Reid and helped drive him towards his ultimate goal, a state championship. In the semifinals of the tournament, Reid won decisively over Hendricks with a 14-4 major decision.
``Whenever Gary felt he needed a little something extra he looked at the medal,'' Mahon said.
``I was in bad shape before the West tournament. I cut the hand that I grip with and hurt the leg that I ride with,'' Reid said. ``The medal is for inspiration. I shows me how close I have come and now I know I am going to finally get my state championship.''
Heavyweight Matt Hamilton represented Ketchikan in the finals. Hamilton pinned his way through most of the tournament, needing less than three minutes to beat each of his first three opponents. The sophomore faced the top seed of the 275-pound class, Kelsey Gray of West in the finals. Gray pinned Hamilton in the second period.
Five additional wrestlers from Region V placed in the top six. Two of those athletes met twice in the tourney, both in the quarterfinals and in the third-fourth place match at 125. Juneau's Anthony Manacio III defeated region rival David Gathier of Sitka twice. In their first meeting, Manacio defeated Gauthier 13-8. The second match would prove to be much closer with Manacio edging the Sitka sophomore 4-3. It was the fifth meeting between the two wrestlers this season.
``David wrestled really tough,'' Manacio said. ``I would of rather wrestled someone different, it is almost like we are teammates since we are both from the southeast.''
The consolation match was scoreless until Manacio escaped Gauthier's hold midway through the second period. Gauthier took a 3-1 lead in the third period then, with the match nearing an end, Manacio notched a takedown to win by one point.
``My goal was to take at least second, but I am really happy with what I did.'' Manacio said. ``I only lost to the defending state champion by one point. I look forward to next year.''
Manacio's younger brother, Anthony IV, placed fourth in the tournament at 103 after falling 11-4 to Chugiak's Ed Bailey. Bailey was the second-seeded wrestler at 103.
Ketchikan had two wrestlers medal in the consolation rounds. Geoff Nordlund took third at 152 after pinning Dimond's Brett Denton, and Leif Thompson took fifth at 189 after his opponent defaulted due to injury.
Nordlund controlled throughout most of his match with Denton. With a takedown early in the match Nordlund led until midway through the second period when Denton evened the score at four. Nordlund soon trapped Denton in a cradle extending his lead to 8-4. Denton attempted a comeback in the final minute, escaping the cradle and registering a reversal to cut the lead to two points. Nordlund spoiled Denton's hopes by pinning the Diamond sophomore as time expired.
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