The spotlight was on a handful of Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers at Saturday's competition in Ketchikan - and the Crimson Bears held up to the pressure.
Four Juneau wrestlers won their "spotlight" matches, and two more put up valiant efforts in defeat as the Crimson Bears competed at their second meet of the season, the Bob Weiss Tournament at Ketchikan High School.
Juneau coach Kris Mercer said the competition deviated from its usual format of dual meets on Friday and Saturday. Instead, wrestlers from Juneau, Ketchikan and nine other schools competed in round-robin and pool matches both days. Later on Saturday, based on earlier results, coaches selected wrestlers for "spotlight" matches in each weight class to conclude the weekend.
"We had guys who hadn't wrestled yet" this season, Mercer said. "They had to shake the cobwebs loose ... but they're looking really good."
In the final matches, Juneau got wins from:
Dante Santos at 103 pounds, who was leading Jon Garrison of Wrangell 5-0 when Garrison pulled out with an injury.
Jordan Saceda at 130 pounds, who pinned Ernest Keith of Mount Edgecumbe.
Clinton Clark at 135 pounds, who beat Petersburg's Josh Dunham 3-1.
John Kuterbach at 171 pounds, who beat Ketchikan's Ryan Hendricks 4-3.
Two other Crimson Bear wrestlers fell short in their final matches, but drew praise from Mercer.
Senior Jake Ritter, who was competing for the first time this season, jumped from 215 up to heavyweight to get more competition and wound up facing Ketchikan's Jon Hamilton, the defending state heavyweight champ.
Hamilton - who outweighed Ritter by several dozen pounds - beat Ritter 5-0, but Mercer praised Ritter for avoiding the heavyweight's trademark throws and staying close despite his weight disadvantage.
Juneau's Matt Barry wrestled at 145, and stayed with Craig's Brent Cole before being pinned late in the second round of their final match. Mercer said Barry chose to wrestle up a weight class because he wanted stronger competition.
"He's been taking on all comers," Mercer said of Barry. "He's been getting better and better each time."
Additional results were not available.
The Crimson Bears will host the Brandon Pilot Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School. It will be Juneau's first home meet of the season.
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