Petersburg wrestlers return to competition, win Southeast crowns

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Petersburg wrestlers Levi Newman and Neil Jenny competed in their first matches of the season last weekend, and made up for lost time by claiming region crowns in their respective weight classes.

Newman won the 130-pound title and Jenny won the 152-pound title on Saturday at the Southeast Class 2A/3A wrestling tournament at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka.

Petersburg fell just short in its quest for a third straight region team title. Host Mount Edgecumbe won the title with 197 points to Petersburg's 190 as both teams separated themselves from the rest of the field. Hoonah was the top Class 2A team, finishing fifth overall with 75 points.

The top three finishers in each weight class qualified for the state Class 1A/2A/3A wrestling tournament, to be held Friday and Saturday in Seward.

Newman and Jenny returned to competition last weekend after serving suspensions for the duration of the regular season. Jenny won the state title at 145 pounds last season.

Before the meet, Petersburg coach Tom Cox told the Petersburg Pilot that he was pleased with how the two wrestlers stayed focused through the layoff from competition.

"I'm really proud of the journey it has taken them to get here," Cox said. "They've kept their grades up (and) they've been exemplary in the classroom, and it will be great to have them on the mat."

Newman and Jenny were Petersburg's only title-winners at last weekend's meet. Mount Edgecumbe benefited from four region champions - Ernest Keith at 119, Earl Alstrom at 125, Nick Shellabarger at 171 and Max Shellabarger at 189.

Among other accomplishments at last weekend's Southeast meet:

• Klawock senior Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz won all three of his matches - with two pins - en route to claiming the 140-pound title. In doing so, Ramirez-Ruiz set the state record for victories in a season with 54 and added to his state record for pins in a season with 42.

Ramirez-Ruiz - with a season record of 54-2 - broke the season wins record of 53, set last season by Skyview's Eli Hutchison. The old state record for pins in a season was 34, set by a pair of West Valley wrestlers in 1990.

• Wrangell sophomore Jon Garrison, who claimed the 103-pound region title, won one of his two matches by technical fall - his 13th technical fall of the season. That ties a state record reached two times previously, in 1994 and 1998. Garrison is 31-2 overall this season.

• Four female wrestlers - Petersburg's Alenna Nilsen, Skagway's Crystal Ketterman, Hydaburg's Marita Tolson and Mount Edgecumbe's Jasmin Simeon - all finished third in their respective weight classes to earn state tourney berths. Ketterman and Tolson will be their teams' sole state representative.

• Kake won the first Rick and David Mills Team Sportsmanship Award. Rick Mills was a longtime Kake wrestling coach who died in a boating accident, along with his son David, near Kake late last December. Kake's Matthew Ashenfelter won the region title at 275 pounds.

Team standings, along with results from championship and consolation finals, can be found below on the Scoreboard.

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