The Juneau Tornados Wrestling Club brought back plenty of medals from the Alaska/USA Greco Roman and Freestyle State Championships in Wasilla on May 4-5.
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The Tornados picked up 28 medals, including five championships, from Alaska's largest wrestling tournament. More than 600 grapplers traveled to the Wasilla Multi-Use Sports Complex for the state championships.
The state championships offer wrestlers from Alaska the chance to try their hand at international forms of the ancient sport.
"Freestyle and Greco Roman are the two styles that are wrestled worldwide," said Tornados coach and wrestler Lee Kadinger. "High school wrestling, or collegiate wrestling, is only wrestled in the U.S. High school wrestling is kind of unique. Freestyle and Greco Roman is a worldwide sport."
Greco Roman restricts a wrestler to the use of the upper body to execute throws and takedowns. Freestyle is more similar to high school wrestling where the entire body can be utilized.
Kadinger said the emphasis on throws in freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling adds a different element to the sport. Also, for high school and college wrestlers, learning these two styles gives the athlete another dangerous move in the arsenal.
"High school is more conservative and there's not a lot of throwing, whereas Greco is based on throwing."
In high school wrestling, the throw can be a game-changing move. A perfectly executed throw can result in five points - two for the takedown and three more for getting the opponents shoulders on the mat - and a massive switch in momentum.
"It adds a dangerous element," Kadinger said. "That danger is there where if the other guy is winning by three points, you can throw him to his back and get five points. A lot of kids use that to get ready for throwing."
The Tornados feature wrestlers as young as 5 and as old as 34.
It's also been a key to helping the Juneau-Douglas High School team reach new heights.
"We've always had quite a few numbers but they started young," Kadinger said. "Now the younger kids are moving on into high school. The club program that started with grade school kids became middle school and into high school, and you saw the first wave of high school wrestlers two years ago that started in fourth and fifth grade."
Andy Cox was the only Juneau wrestler to win in both Greco Roman and freestyle in Wasilla. Cox, wrestling in the 225-pound schoolboy division for grapplers ages 12-13, captured first place in both disciplines.
Yo Yo Willard won the 120-pound midget title for wrestlers ages 9-10, Kadinger captured the open 185-pound weight class and Mike Boyer won the open 163-point weight class for Greco Roman.
Here's a list of all the medalists for the Juneau Tornados:
1st place: Yo Yo Willard, Midget, 120 pounds; Andy Cox, Schoolboy, 225 pounds; Lee Kadinger, Open, 185 pounds, Mike Boyer, Open, 163 pounds.
2nd place: Linda Palmer, Midget, 60 pounds; Riley Moser, Midget, 75 pounds; Cole Bossio, Cadet (14-15 years old), 215 pounds; Ramiro Lamas, Junior (high school), 215 pounds.
3rd place: Billy Palmer, Schoolboy, 125 pounds; Randy Segelhorst, Cadet, 135 pounds; Jufer Librando, Cadet, 119 pounds; Gerry Carrillo, Junior, 140 pounds.
1st place: Andy Cox, Schoolboy, 225 pounds.
2nd place: Bobby Cox, Bantam (7-8 years old), 75 pounds; Yo Yo Willard, Midget, 120 pounds; Cole Bassio, Cadet, 215 pounds; Steve Dyer, Junior, 152 pounds; Lee Kadinger, Open, 211 pounds.
3rd place: Kyle Barry, Schoolboy, 110 pounds; Ramiro Lamas, Junior, 215 pounds.
4th place: Tyler West, Novice (11-12 years old), 112 pounds; Jufer Librando, Cadet, 119 pounds; Ian Otness, Junior, 125 pounds, Gerry Carrillo, Junior, 140 pounds, Mike Boyer, Open, 163 pounds.
5th place: Riley Moser, Midget, 75 pounds; Kyle Gould, Schoolboy, 90 pounds
6th place: Stetson Ercanbrack, Midget, 70 pounds.