SITKA -- The Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team won the Region V tournament in Sitka on Friday and Saturday in Sitka, ending a four-year title drought. The last time the Crimson Bears claimed the region title was in 1997.
The Crimson Bears won with a team score of 251 points, followed by second-place Ketchikan with 228.5 points and third-place Petersburg with 220 points. Sitka placed fourth with 182 points, Wrangell was fifth with 76 and Mt. Edgecumbe finished sixth with 73.5 points.
The Crimson Bears benefited by having their entire team intact for the first time this season. In all, Juneau sent 19 wrestlers to Sitka with 17 of those wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament next weekend in Kenai.
Eight Crimson Bears wrestled into Saturday's championship round with three earning individual region titles.
Anthony Manacio IV cruised to his third-straight Region V title at 112 pounds by defeating Hoonah's Brandon Wright 21-7 in the championship.
Manacio's weight class fielded just seven wrestlers for the tournament, giving Manacio a bye through the quarterfinal round. He defeated Sitka's Matt Way early Saturday to advance to the championship round.
"Three times feels good," Manacio said after winning the title. "I tried to pin him and almost got him in the first period, but my arm got tired and I had to let him go. He (Wright) fought well and got me tired."
Justin Rasmussen won the championship by injury default at 215 pounds over Ketchikan's Adam Minshall. Minshall injured his back in his semifinal match when Wrangell's Matt Nore slammed Minshall to the mat. Minshall was unable to continue and Nore was disqualified.
Jerrod Harvey, the state's No. 2-ranked heavyweight, edged Sitka's Mike Loucks 7-6 in a wild championship match that had the home Sitka fans going wild. Loucks scored first on an escape, but Harvey put him in a headlock in the second period and nearly pinned Loucks, earning three back points. Loucks came back and made it very interesting at the end with a takedown in the final seconds, but Harvey was able to hold on for the win.
Last week at Juneau's Brandon Pilot Invitational, Harvey pinned Loucks in the semifinals.
"I was just trying to wrestle smart," Harvey said. "He was a lot more jacked up for the home crowd. I was thinking about it last night that he was going to be like that."
But Harvey said he was more happy with the team title than winning his first individual title.
"We did awesome," he said. "We got a good team going up to state. We just wrestled out hearts out and came together as a team."
Crimson Bear head coach Bob Mahon confirmed that his team's unity was the key to winning the team title.
"They did a great job," Mahon said. "I'm happy for the kids. They came together on the weekend they needed to do it. I told them they could do it and they did it. When it counted, they did it."
In other championship matches involving Juneau wrestlers: Sungie Musarra was defeated by Ketchikan's Matt Jones, the state's top-ranked 103 pounder, 7-0; Vernon Perry was shutout by Ketchikan's Jes Boyd 9-0 at 119 pounds; Isaac Cadiente got caught off-guard and was pinned by Ketchikan's Stephan Haseltine at 140 pounds; Reid Dihle lost by technical fall to Ketchikan's Matt Haseltine at 145 pounds; and Robert Vicario was defeated by Sitka's Darren LaDuke, the state's top-ranked 189-pounder, 12-5.
Although only three of the eight Juneau wrestlers won their championship matches, Mahon was not the least bit disappointed with the results.
"You don't have to win championships all the way through to win," Mahon said. "I've seen state and national championships won without a single individual title."
Juneau sent four wrestlers into the third-place consolation round with two of them winning. David Liliedahl won a 9-1 decision over Justin Carlson of Sitka at 135 pounds and Jake Ritter came all the way back to beat Klawock's Curtis Demmert 3-1. It was redemption for Ritter who lost to Demmert 3-2 in Friday's second round.
Willy Dodd and Stephen Perry placed fourth at 125 pounds and 152 pounds, respectively.
Amanda Krafft became the first female wrestler from Southeast to qualify for the state meet with a fifth-place finish. With only seven wrestlers in the 112-pound weight class, Krafft was given an automatic bid by bracket placement.
Krafft lost her initial match 6-4 to Sitka's Matt Way and her consolation semifinal match 6-3 to Craig's Bryan Westfall. But redeemed herself in the fifth-place match by pinning Ketchikan's Paul Bengaard in the second period.
"I'm kind of disappointed because I didn't think I earned it," Krafft said. "But I guess I did earn it because of wrestling the last four years."
For more photos of the Region V Wrestling Championships in Sitka, visit the website of Digital Advantage Photography.
The Crimson Bears had four other wrestlers in the fifth-place consolation with three winning. Logan Harvey placed fifth at 103 pounds, Buckley Svinicki at 130 pounds, and Jonathan Moore at 189 pounds all won their fifth place consolation matches. Jon Zuniga rounded out the Crimson Bears squad heading to state with a sixth-place finish at 215-pounds.
"I feel pretty good. I knew I had a chance when I saw how the brackets were made up," Logan Harvey said. "Now I get to go to state with my brother."
"I felt really bad the whole tournament because I didn't wrestle as good as I could,"Svinicki said "But it feels good because I finally beat (Kethcikan's) Dan Cook for fifth. He beat me twice this year. We wrestled awesome...all of us did."
The Crimson Bears' next action is the state tournament at Kenai Central High School beginning on Thursday and running through Saturday.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at email@example.com.
REGION V WRESTLING
The results of the Region V Wrestling Championships, held Friday and Saturday at Sitka High School.
Team scores -- 1. Juneau-Douglas (JD), 251; 2. Ketchikan (KTN), 228.5; 3. Petersburg (PSG), 220; 4. Sitka (SIT), 182; 5. Wrangell (WRG), 182; 6. Mt. Edgecumbe (MTE), 73.5; 7. Klawock (KLA), 58.50; 8. Hydaburg (HYD), 36; 9. Hoonah (HNH), 27; 9. Craig (CRG), 27; 11. Kake (KAK), 23; 12. Pelican (PEL), 16; 13. Skagway (SKG), 5; 14. Angoon (ANG), 3; Prince of Wales/Naukati Connection (POW), 0.
103 pounds -- Matt Jones (KTN) dec. Sungie Musarra (JD) 7-0; 112 -- Anthony Manacio IV (JD) dec. Brandon Wright (HNH), 21-7; 119 -- Jes Boyd (KTN) dec. Vernon Perry (JD), 9-0; 125 -- Richie Deaver (PSG) dec. Conner Mahoskey (SIT), 12-11; 130 -- Kevin Thynes (PSG) dec. Harry Churchill (WRG), 9-1; 135 -- David Gauthier (SIT) dec. Jake Oyler (PSG), 8-6; 140 -- Stephen Haseltine (KTN) pinned Isaac Cadiente (JD), 2:16; 145 -- Matt Haseltine (KTN) tech. fall Reid Dihle (JD), 23-8; 152 -- Craig Wallace (KLA) dec. Jim Smith (PSG), 10-3; 160 -- Joey Boggs (PSG) pinned Zach Thompson (KTN), 2:26; 171 -- Drew Ware (PSG) dec. Bret Evens (PSG), 8-7; 189 -- Darren LaDuke (SIT) dec. Robert Vicario (JD), 12-5; 215 -- Justin Rasmussen (JD) inj. default Adam Minshall (KTN); 275 -- Jerrod Harvey (JD) dec. Mike Loucks (SIT), 7-6.
Consolation third place
103 pounds -- David Mann (KTN) dec. Drake Lyons (PSG), 13-5; 112 -- Bryan Westfall (CRG) dec. Matt Way (SIT), 7-0; 119 -- George Howard (SIT), dec. Sam Carney (MTE), 5-1; 125 -- Jeff Jones (KTN) dec. Willy Dodd (JD), 9-6; 130 -- Jamie McCrehin (SIT) dec. Ronald Harrelson (MTE), 8-2; 135 -- David Liliedahl (JD) dec. Justin Carlson (SIT), 9-1; 140 -- Dalton Bergman (SIT) dec. Delbert Peratrovich (HYD), 13-1; 145 -- Eric Lee (PSG) pinned Jack Carney (MTE), 3:40; 152 -- Jack Marsh (PSG)) dec. Stephen Perry (JD), 8-0; 160 -- Cody Roberts (WRG) dec. Jamal Travis (HYD), 7-6; 171 -- Jake Ritter (JD) dec. Curtis Demmert (KLA), 3-1; 189 -- Gavin Piercy (KTN) pinned Kyle Hardin (PSG), 1:46; 215 -- Matt Nore (WRG) pinned Nathan Hardin (PSG), 1:39; 275 -- Jon Hamilton (KTN) pinned Jordan Phillips (PEL), 1:25.
Consolation fifth place
103 pounds -- Logan Harvey (JD) dec. Jim Jurczak (SIT), 4-3; 112 -- Amanda Krafft (JD) pinned Paul Bengaard (KTN), 2:59; 119 -- Mark Peterman (WRG) inj. default Josh Garrison (WRG); 125 --Joel Andrew (MTE) pinned Brian Newman (PSG), 2:09; 130 -- Buckley Svinicki (JD) dec. Dan Cook (KTN), 5-2; 135 -- Robert Medina (KLA) pinned Brad Kato (KLA), 4:45; 140 -- Kyle Anderson (KAK) dec. Kris Edfelt (PET), 19-13; 145 -- Nyle Thomas (PSG) pinned Chris Shockley (SKG), 2:07; 152 -- Houston Laws (KTN) dec. Anthony Haskins (SIt), 5-3; 160 -- Joe Jurczak (SIT) dec. Victor Jenny (PSG), 12-11; 171 -- Logan Hooker (KTN) dec. Clifford Shellabarger (MTE). 7-4; 189 -- Jonathan Moore (JD) pinned Clifford Sheehan, 1:44; 215 -- Ryan Savage (CRG) pinned Jon Zuniga (JD), 1:48; 275 -- Jim Pike (KTN) pinned Geoff Hall (PSG), 1:34.