Juneau-Douglas High School senior Sungie Musarra closed out his prep wrestling career by winning a state title on Saturday night, helping the Crimson Bears take fifth place in the Class 4A state wrestling meet at Chugiak High School.
Musarra, who missed last year's state meet because of shoulder surgery, fought off a bad bout with the flu to win the 112-pound championship with a 6-2 decision over Bartlett's Theron Apodaca.
"It's what I've been working for the past four years. It's a good way to go out," Musarra said when reached by cell phone. "I was pretty sick this weekend."
The only other Crimson Bear to reach a state championship match was senior Jake Ritter, who dropped a 14-3 major decision to Bartlett's Bobby Dunbar, who is ranked third in the nation at 215 pounds.
Dunbar was a two-time small schools state champion who transferred to a large school this year, becoming just the second wrestler to win a state title at both levels . The other was Gabe McMahan, who wrestled for Glennallen and Palmer high schools in the early 1990s.
Juneau also had three wrestlers finish in third place - Dante Santos (103 pounds), Gerry Carrillo (112) and Jordan Saceda (119) - and two other Crimson Bears took fifth place - Cody Wolf (125) and Matt Barry (140) - at the Friday-Saturday meet.
"It's pretty good. Last year we were 12th so we're tickled for fifth," Juneau coach Kris Mercer said. "We're only losing four of the 13 wrestlers we took to state, so we're excited for next year. I want to at least get third."
The Wasilla Warriors repeated as state champions with 179 points and two state champions. South Anchorage took second place with 149 points, even though the Wolverines had no state champs. The battle for third place was very tight as West Valley took third with 113.5 points, followed by Skyview with 107.5, Juneau with 104, Chugiak with 100 and Colony with 96. Sitka finished 11th with 73 points, while Ketchikan was 13th with 52 points.
Ira Carson of West Anchorage, the 130-pound champion, and West Valley's David Wiese, who won at 160, shared the outstanding wrestler honor. The Homer Mariners won the team sportsmanship award, while Bartlett won the team academic award (team GPA not available).
Besides Musarra, the only other state champion from Southeast was Ketchikan's Jon Hamilton, who won his third straight state title at 275 pounds with a 4-3 decision over South Anchorage's Mike Petrovich. Hamilton was the only Southeast wrestler besides Musarra and Ritter to reach the championship finals, even though 11 Southeast wrestlers (five from Juneau) made it to Friday night's championship semifinals.
"Southeast had a tough night last night, and only got three out of the semis. But we came back pretty strong today," Mercer said.
The highlight for the Crimson Bears was Musarra winning the title, especially since Musarra forfeited his Southeast Conference-Class 4A title match to Carrillo last weekend because of the flu and he still was sick most of this week.
"We had a lot of sickness on the team, and Sungie was puking the last two days," Mercer said. "We had the crud and a case of the bleacher blues, where you sit all day in the bleachers and then have to wrestle cold."
"It's a relief, it's gratifying," said Musarra, the second seed behind Carrillo at 112. "I was about five times sicker yesterday than today."
Musarra, who said he doesn't plan to wrestle when he goes to college, opened his tournament with pins over South Anchorage's Blake Brown and Lathrop's Bobby Hicks before claiming a 7-6 decision over third-seeded Sam Miller of Wasilla in the semifinals on Friday night. Apodaca was the fourth seed, and he upset Carrillo with a 17-10 decision in Friday's semifinals.
"He'd wrestled Gerry-Boy a couple of times, so I knew his style," Musarra said of Apodaca. "He was working upper body and trying to throw me, so there were a few scrambles. ... I think I'm done with it. This is a good way to go out."
The last two times Ritter faced Dunbar, he lost by pin. This time, Ritter stayed off his back even though he lost by a major decision. Ritter was the only wrestler Dunbar faced in the state tournament who wasn't pinned before the end of the second period. Also, the third-seeded Ritter won a 9-2 decision over defending large schools state 215-pound champion and second-seeded Josiah Bush of North Pole.
"Jake did much better than last time," Mercer said. "Dunbar has an amazing shot, and he got Jake's leg up a couple of times but Jake was able to fight out of it. It was a much better match."
Results from the state tournament, including a list of how each of the 28 Southeast wrestlers did in their matches, will run later this week.