Crimson Bears freshman Thomas Riley upset the state's third-ranked wrestler for his second tournament title of the season to lead the Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team to another successful weekend at the Ketchikan Invitational.
Riley, who won last weekend's opening tournament at Mount Edgecumbe, stayed perfect in tourney action with a surprisingly lopsided win over Petersburg's Tom Schwartz for the weekend's top spot at 112 pounds. Schwartz was ranked third in the state at 112 on AKmat.com, an online forum used by the state's coaches, prior to the match.
"He ended up winning (the championship match) by either 10-2 or 9-2 - I mean it was not close," head coach Bob Cox said. "He was by far our standout. He's been strong, aggressive, and he's not afraid to take his shots."
One of Riley's most impressive characteristics early in his high school career has been a relentless offensive attack, according to Cox. Whether facing another unknown freshman or the state's best, Riley has begun to make a name for himself by putting up points in bunches.
"He's aggressive with his takedowns, and he continuously moves from one move to another for six minutes. It's hard on the kids he faces," Cox said. "Next, we're heading to Petersburg, and it'll really show us where he is in the mix of the top-ranked kids up north."
Bryce Saviers, who joined Riley atop the Mount Edgecumbe tournament, had another strong weekend but fell short in his first matchup of the year against Ketchikan's own third-ranked wrestler, Nick Martin, in the 125 championship.
"That was a match where Bryce did his best and hung in there for quite awhile, but then Martin started scoring points and he ended up losing by a fairly good margin," Cox said. "He's been working hard along with everyone else, and he'll just need to get ready physically, mentally and technically for our next matches."
Another JDHS freshman, Wilson Suzuki, also continued his impressive start to the season by placing third in the 103-pound division. Suzuki nearly sprung an upset of his own, when he got Sitka's second-ranked Cameron O'Neill on his back and nearly scored a fall in the second round of their early pairing. O'Neill eventually escaped and out-pointed Suzuki. The freshman also narrowly dropped the pair's first matchup in Mount Edgecumbe just a week before.
"(Suzuki) is coming along and improving," Cox said. "I can see him getting better and better every time he's on the mat."
Ben Roemling, at 140, and Dufer Libraneo, at 119, matched Suzuki with third-place finishes of their own on Saturday night.
"They wrestled hard, but got they eventually got knocked down by some opponents who eventually made it to the finals," Cox said. "Those guys are at weights where they have quite a few real tough kids to face every weekend."
The Crimson Bears will resume their schedule this weekend at the Petersburg Invitational. They end their regular season with their home tournament Nov. 21-22.