Thunder Mountain sent a group of 11 grapplers to Sitka last weekend for what proved to be the Falcons' most competitive tournament this season.
TMHS started each dual meet down 30 points because of forfeiting five weight classes, so the Falcons weren't able to win any duels against the depth of squads from Sitka, Mt. Edgecumbe, Ketchikan and Craig, but coach Chad Requa said the team was able to get some valuable mat time in the process. "There is no substitute for experience, and they are getting some of that," he said. "We were 21-35 on the weekend. We lost quite a few matches by fall right near the end of the match, even when we were ahead. I don't think it was a conditioning issue because we seem to be in as good a shape as most out there, but inexperience definitely plays a role."
Requa listed 171-pounder Cameron Fronimos, who was 5-2, as team co-MVP along with 112-pounder Thomas Riley, who was 3-1.
"(Cameron) avenged the only loss he had in his weight class in a re-match," Requa said. "He lost a 6-2 decision in our first match on Saturday. Saturday night had Cameron wrestling him again, where he completely dominated his Mt. Edgecumbe opponent in a nearly flawless match to win 11-2. His only other loss was to Craig's 189-pound monster, where he gave up about 20 pounds and still managed to keep it close with a 6-2 decision. Cameron's other four matches weren't even close."
Requa said Riley looked strong, too.
"His only loss was to a tough competitor from Sitka, where he lost due to a last-second effort by the Sitka wrestler," he said. "He was up by two and just made a miscalculation and gave up a takedown to his back, costing him a total of four points and the match.
"It's better to have those types of things happen now so that we can learn from them going into the postseason, though."
Wilson Suzuki, 119 pounds, Luke Swiger, 160, Brian Koenig, 160, Nick Ettinger, 171, and Jorge Vasquez, 171, all picked up at least two wins.
Jackson Pavitt, 140, James Gilchrist, 145, James Minchew, 152, and Stephen Patz, 171, scored one victory each.
Requa said he and assistant coach Mike Theile were frustrated after seeing a consistent, bad trend in his wrestlers, but said the mistakes are correctable.
"Our biggest challenge was getting up from the bottom and getting away for escapes or reversals," he said. "We also were giving up two particular turns very easy. While this was frustrating, it is also a good thing.
"It means that we are getting beat with stuff we know about and can just continue to work it and get better at defending it instead of getting beat with stuff we've never seen before," hecontinued."
After the matches, Requa said he took the kids out for some Halloween fun.
"For those who think wrestling is all hard work, ... after the tournament was all said and done the wrestlers wanted to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, so I decided to take them," he said. "It was a little weird to see these kids dress up and go trick-or-treating in Sitka, but they are a great group of kids and really enjoy being a team and having fun.
"They are a great bunch to be around."