The Ketchikan Kings stole the show from the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears during the Brandon Pilot Invitational wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School main gym.
The Crimson Bears were hoping to honor Pilot, a teammate who was killed in a November 2000 car wreck. But the Kings claimed the team title of the tournament held in Pilot's honor for the second straight year.
Ketchikan clinched the title when Adam Minshall claimed a 4-3 decision over Juneau's Robert Vicario in the 215-pound championship match Saturday night. Minshall's victory gave Ketchikan a 2 1/2-point victory in the team standings. Juneau led by 1 1/2 points entering the Minshall-Vicario match, which was one of only two Ketchikan-Juneau head-to-head matches in the championship finals even though both teams had six wrestlers each going for titles.
The Kings claimed the team title with 171 1/2 points, followed by Juneau with 169. Petersburg took third place with 128 points, followed by Sitka with 125 1/2 and Wrangell with 119 1/2. With the Class 1A-2A-3A season drawing to a close (its state meet is Dec. 12-14 in Homer), and the Class 4A season continuing into February, this tournament served as a de facto Southeast Championship meet.
"I'm stoked," said Minshall, who said he knew how close the team race was heading into his match with Vicario. "When we went to the scorer's table, I took a look."
Minshall's victory was a minor upset, since Vicario had been beating him earlier this season even though Vicario is smaller than Minshall. Minshall was ranked fourth in this week's Class 4A state rankings at 215 pounds (by AlaskaWrestling.com), while Vicario was ranked second in this week's Class 4A rankings at 189 pounds.
"I've been losing all year to him," Minshall said. "We've been pretty even, but I stepped up."
Vicario was upset after his match, but he said he was happy with how Juneau did as a team.
"We did OK," Vicario said. "We have to keep trying, and we'll see who wrestles better. We'll get them later. We just have to wrestle harder."
The Kings led the Crimson Bears by 1 1/2 points entering the championship finals, 157 1/2 to 156, with both teams having six wrestlers entered in the final round. The other teams were pretty much out of the running for the team title by the finals, leaving Ketchikan and Juneau to do battle.
Ketchikan got off to a quick start early in the finals, as Ketchikan's David Mann (ranked fifth in Class 4A) upset Sitka's Jim Jurczak (ranked first in Class 4A) in the 103-pound final. Not only did Mann beat the state's top-ranked wrestler, but he dominated his match, holding Jurczak scoreless before pinning him in the second period. The pin earned Ketchikan two bonus points in the team standings.
"That's exciting," Mann said. "I knew going in I was better than him. This is the first time this year we've wrestled. I hope I move up (in the rankings)."
At 112 pounds, Juneau's Sungie Musarra beat Craig's Bryan Westfall with a 12-3 major decision, earning Juneau one bonus team point for the larger margin of victory. Musarra was ranked fourth in the Class 4A rankings, while Westfall was sixth in the Class 1A-2A-3A rankings.
"I think I did well in front of the home crowd," Musarra said about Juneau's first home meet of the season. "I wanted to do better. But if a few of our guys pull off their matches we can win this thing. It's nice to show what you can do in front of your peers, your friends."
Juneau lost ground when its next two finalists lost their matches - with Sitka's George Howard claiming a 5-3 decision over Juneau's Dennis Hall at 119 pounds and Wrangell's Harry Churchill claiming a 6-2 decision over Juneau's David Liliedahl at 135 pounds.
Ketchikan pulled ahead even more as Jes Boyd claimed a 6-4 decision over Klawock's Chris Schnur in the 125-pound final. But Juneau got some help as Petersburg's Richie Deaver knocked off Ketchikan's Dan Cook at 130 pounds with a second-period pin.
The first head-to-head meeting between Juneau and Ketchikan came at 145 pounds, when Juneau's Isaac Cadiente (ranked third in Class 4A) claimed an 11-9 decision over Ketchikan's Matt Haseltine (ranked first in Class 4A). It was the third time Cadiente and Haseltine have met so far this season, and it was one of the most exciting matches of the finals with a couple of lead changes and lots of scoring.
"This was the first time I beat him," said Cadiente, who lost to Haseltine's older brother Steve in the state championship match last fall. "The first match he beat me in overtime, and the second match he got me pretty good. This is the type of match that can turn around the tournament. We want to win this for Brandon."
Juneau got some help at 171 pounds, when Klawock's Curtis Demmert claimed a 5-2 decision over Ketchikan's Zack Thompson, keeping the Kings from clinching the title.
At 189 pounds, Juneau's Jake Ritter put the Crimson Bears on top in the team standings as he claimed an 8-2 decision over Wrangell's Cody Roberts. Ritter's victory gave Juneau a 1 1/2-point lead heading into the Minshall-Vicario match, with neither team having a wrestler involved in the heavyweight final.
"I wanted to get the pin points to help the team," said Ritter, who had Roberts on his back for a three-point near-fall in the first period. "I gave it all I had. We really wanted to win this tournament, especially since the Pilots (Brandon's parents) were here. Whatever we do goes for the Pilots. We wrestled good and we had a number of people step up. We're looking forward to going against some of the larger schools, now. We're excited for that."
After a week off for Thanksgiving, the Crimson Bears will make a trip north to wrestle some of the Anchorage teams for the first time in two years. Juneau wrestles at Dimond on Dec. 5 and at a team tournament at Bartlett on Dec. 6-7.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
BRANDON PILOT INVITATIONAL
The results of the second annual Brandon Pilot Invitational wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School.
Teams - 1. Ketchikan, 171.5 points; 2. Juneau-Douglas, 169; 3. Petersburg, 128; 4. Sitka, 125.5; 5. Wrangell, 119.5; 6. Klawock, 98.5; 7. Mount Edgecumbe, 96; 8. Craig, 47; 9. Hydaburg, 35; 10. Hoonah, 19.5; 11. Pelican, 18; 12. Skagway, 12; 13. Kake, 11; 14. Metlakatla, 2.
103 pounds - David Mann (Ketchikan) pin Jim Jurczak (Sitka), 3 minutes, 45 seconds. 112 - Sungie Musarra (Juneau-Douglas) maj. dec. Bryan Westfall (Craig), 12-3. 119 - George Howard (Sitka) dec. Dennis Hall (Juneau-Douglas), 4-2. 125 - Jes Boyd (Ketchikan) dec. Chris Schnur (Klawock), 6-4. 130 - Richie Deaver (Petersburg) pin Dan Cook (Ketchikan), 4:20. 135 - Harry Churchill (Wrangell) dec. David Liliedahl (Juneau-Douglas), 6-2. 140 - Jake Oyler (Petersburg) tech. fall Sam Carney (Mount Edgecumbe), 16-0, 3:39. 145 - Isaac Cadiente (Juneau-Douglas) dec. Matt Haseltine (Ketchikan), 11-9. 152 - Jake Mork (Wrangell) dec. Nick Shellabarger (Mount Edgecumbe), 2-0. 160 - Jimmy Smith (Petersburg) maj. dec. Max Shellabarger (Mount Edgecumbe), 10-2. 171 - Curtis Demmert (Klawock) dec. Zack Thompson (Ketchikan), 5-2. 189 - Jake Ritter (Juneau-Douglas) dec. Cody Roberts (Wrangell), 8-2. 215 - Adam Minshall (Ketchikan) dec. Robert Vicario (Juneau-Douglas), 4-3. 275 (Heavyweight) - Mike Loucks (Sitka) dec. Geoff Hall (Petersburg), 6-5.
103 pounds - Gerry Carrillo (Juneau-Douglas) maj. dec. Lucas Chambers (Sitka), 8-0. 112 - August Mayo (Sitka) dec. Marshall Peterman (Wrangell), 6-5. 119 - Mark Peterman (Wrangell) dec. Logan Harvey (Juneau-Douglas), 4-0. 125 - Josh Garrison (Wrangell) pin Ty Wagner (Sitka), third period (time not available). 130 - Justin Benston (Klawock) pin Brent Cole (Craig), third period (time not available). 135 - Justin Carlson (Sitka) dec. Adam Gregg (Ketchikan), 8-4. 140 - Brandon Benston (Klawock) maj. dec. Wilbur Skeek (Hoonah), 11-1. 145 - Jack Carney (Mount Edgecumbe) dec. Neal Jenny (Petersburg), 8-2. 152 - Jason Koelling (Sitka) tech. fall John Kuterbach (Juneau-Douglas), 25-10, third period (time not available). 160 - Bart Agner (Petersburg) dec. George Beans (Mount Edgecumbe), 5-3. 171 - Cliff Shellabarger (Mount Edgecumbe) dec. Austin Clair (Juneau-Douglas), 7-2. 189 - Cliff Sheehan (Mount Edgecumbe) dec. Mike McMahon (Petersburg), 6-4. 215 - Dan Frank (Hydaburg) pin Tyler Hoppe (Klawock), second period (time not available). 275 (Heavyweight) - Jon Hamilton (Ketchikan) pin Jordan Phillips (Pelican), second period (time not available).