It's been nearly three years since Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers last faced opponents from the Class 4A Anchorage schools.
The Crimson Bears will renew those rivalries starting today, as the team begins a long weekend of competition with a four-team meet at Dimond High School, which will also include Skyview and Service.
On Friday and Saturday, Juneau will take part in a dual-meet tourney - featuring eight to 10 teams - at Bartlett High School.
An acrimonious split season that started after the February 2000 state meet resulted in Southeast and Kenai Peninsula schools wrestling in the fall and the large Anchorage, Fairbanks and Mat-Su schools wrestling in the spring. That format was eliminated earlier this year, reuniting rivals.
Juneau coach Bob Mahon said this weekend's trip will allow the Crimson Bears to get a sense of how they measure up across the state.
"This is a good feeling-out period for us," he said. "We're looking at all the kids who are ranked. ...
"It's going to be good for us to see what we can do, especially since we haven't seen these guys in a couple of years."
Mahon said he expects very tough competition in the lower weight classes, from 103 pounds through 135. In the higher weight classes, Mahon said he hopes the Crimson Bears can make some inroads against their northern opponents.
In the most recent state wrestling poll compiled by the Palmer-based Web site alaskawrestling.com, released on Tuesday, Juneau's Isaac Cadiente was ranked first in the state at 145 pounds. Robert Vicario was second in the poll at 189 pounds, and Sungie Musarra was second at 112.
"We're looking forward to seeing if we can mess up the rankings a little bit," Mahon said.
Musarra said he hopes to face Skyview's Eli Hutchison, who is the only wrestler ranked ahead of him in the most recent state poll.
"I want to go up there and prove we can compete against them," he said.
Cadiente said the team will benefit from the tough competition and extended mat time in this weekend's meets.
"A lot of the kids up north are really good," he said. "You get up there and you get in a lot of matches against a lot of quality kids."
After returning from Anchorage, the Crimson Bears will get set for a home meet with Sitka and Ketchikan on Dec. 13-14.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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