The Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team got in a warm-up for today's Juneau-Douglas Pilot Wrestling Invitational, defeating Valdez 27-3 on Thursday at Marie Drake Middle School gymnasium.
Valdez arrived a day early for the invitational and took the opportunity to schedule a last-minute dual meet with the Crimson Bears. But a long day of travel took its toll on the Buccaneers, who for the most part, looked insipid.
"The traveling was hard on us," Valdez head wrestling coach Paul Childs said. "I don't know how to explain it, we just looked flat out there on mat."
The best matchup of the day came at 103 pounds where Juneau's Jon "Sungie" Musarra defeated Valdez's Jeremy Banner 8-3. Although the match did not officially count due to Banner not making weight, it pitted the two highest-ranked wrestlers of the day against each other. Banner is ranked No. 3 and Musarra No. 6 at 103 pounds in the most recent state rankings by alaskawrestling.com.
Musarra fought off Banner's early attack and countered with two quick takedowns to take a 4-1 lead after the first period, but Banner earned an escape in the second period to close the score to 4-2.
Musarra started in the down position in the third period and reversed Banner early to take a 6-2 lead. Banner escaped again, but Musarra scored another takedown late in the third to win the match 8-3.
Banner looked visibly drained and close to collapse when the two wrestlers shook hands after the match. However, Banner proved he was fine by wrestling Juneau's Logan Harvey in a later exhibition match, winning by a pin in the third period.
"I don't think he was very strong because he was cutting weight," Musarra said after the match. "He was running a lot before he wrestled me. The match didn't count because he didn't make weight, but I hope to wrestle him again this weekend."
Crimson Bear head wrestling coach Bob Mahon was pleased with Musarra's performance and said Musarra could legitimately be one of the state's top 103 pounders.
"Once he gets over that freshman mentality, he'll be real good," Mahon said. "I've told him he's seen everyone in the state -- he's seen the best and wrestled the best and has done real good."
"He (Mahon) just told me I've seen everyone in the state and to relax," Musarra said. "But I was scared. I won't be again."
Valdez's only victory of the day came at 125 pounds where Jared Major easily handled Juneau's Vernon Perry 7-0. Perry, ranked No. 8 at 119 pounds, moved up a weight class and nearly got pinned by Major, who is ranked No. 9 at 125 pounds.
The Crimson Bears earned pins by Buck Svinicki at 135 pounds over Valdez's Ian Cabitac and Atlin Daugherty over Valdez's Brad Christensen at 140 pounds.
In other action: Juneau's female phenom Amanda Krafft earned a 4-1 victory over Ryan Buen at 112 pounds; Juneau 130-pounder David Liliedahl defeated Gage Graika 7-0; Juneau's Reid Dihle edged David Johnson 4-3 at 152 pounds; Juneau's Tanner Clark outlasted Dennis Dawson 15-10 at 160 pounds and Juneau's Robert Vicario got by Zack Doyel 2-1 at 189 pounds.
In other exhibition matches, Juneau's Jonathan Moore scored a major decision over Doyel 11-1 at 189 pounds and Juneau's Ryan Nicholas pinned Buen at 112 pounds.
One of the benefits to wrestling a dual meet the day before a tournament is that the wrestlers are given one extra pound weight allowance in addition to the one pound growth weight given to each wrestler for November. This gives a total of two extra pounds for today's weigh-ins and four pounds for Saturday's weigh-ins for wrestling three consecutive days plus December's growth allowance.
"The four pounds given to the wrestlers on Saturday is good," Mahon said. "It means some of these guys will be able to eat without worrying about making weight."
Today's weigh-ins for the Juneau-Douglas Pilot Wrestling Invitational begin at 1 p.m. with first-round matches starting at 3 p.m. Saturday's action starts at 10 a.m. with the finals beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at email@example.com.
Crimson Bears 27,
Results from the dual wrestling meet Thursday at Marie Drake Middle School.
103 pounds -- no match. 112 -- Amanda Krafft (JD) dec. Ryan Buen (V), 4-1. 119 -- no match. 125 -- Jared Major (V) dec. Vernon Perry (JD), 7-0. 130 -- David Liliedahl (JD) dec. Gage Graika (V), 7-0. 135 -- Buck Svinicki (JD) pinned Gage Graika (V), 3:53. 140 -- Atlin Daugherty (JD) pinned Brad Christensen (V), 1:32. 145 -- no match. 152 -- Reid Dihle (JD) dec. David Johnson (V), 4-3. 160 -- Tanner Clark (JD) dec. Dennis Dawson (V), 15-10. 171 -- no match. 189 -- Robert Vicario (JD) dec. Zack Doyle (V), 2-1; 215 -- no match. 275 -- no match.
103 -- Jon Musarra (JD) dec. Jeremy Banner (V), 8-3. 103 -- Jeremy Banner (V) pinned Logan Harvey (JD), 4:21. 112 -- Ryan Nicholas (JD) pinned Ryan Buen (V), 3:29.