Despite finishing third at the Southeast Conference Wrestling Championships on Saturday in Sitka, there were plenty of positives for Juneau-Douglas High School.
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Nine of the Crimson Bears' 14 wrestlers qualified for next weekend's Alaska State Wrestling Championships with top-two finishes. Of those nine, four JDHS wrestlers captured individual state championships.
The host Wolves captured the overall team championships.
Juneau-Douglas High School senior Steven Dyer, the state's top ranked Class 4A 152-pound wrestler according to www.akmat.org, won his first regional title after downing Sitka's Kamden Johnson 10-2 in the finals. Dyer pinned teammate Sam Cordero in 17 seconds to reach the finals.
At 130 pounds, Juneau's Bryce Saviers nipped Ketchikan's Ian Fultz 6-4 in the finals to win the region title. In the semifinals, Saviers pinned Sitka's David Erickson in 1:00.
"It was a nice close match," JDHS coach Kris Mercer said of Saviers' championship bout. "It was tied up in the first round and Bryce came back to win the thing."
First-year high school wrestler and senior Colton Baker punched his ticket for Chugiak by winning the 171-pound weight class in impressive fashion.
Baker pinned his way to the title, downing Ketchikan's Ryan Varela in 1:30 in the semifinals and the Kings' John Smith in 29 seconds for first place.
"He was hesitant to shoot," Mercer said of Baker's proclivity to counterattack instead of initiate. "This time he shot in, stuck it in and pinned him in the first round. Just like he's supposed to."
Ramiro Lamas won the 215 pound title in an all-Juneau final as he defeated freshman teammate Cole Bossio 9-2.
Though Kurt Barry fell in the 160-pound final to Sitka's Ryder Torgeson 6-3 in the final, Mercer said it was his wrestler's best match of the year. Barry qualified for the state tournament with the second place finish.
"He wrestled tough," Mercer said. "He put his heart and soul into it."
JDHS freshman Cameron Fronimos reached the 145-pound finals but was pinned by Sitka's Torin Lehmann with 27 seconds left in the match.
At 112 pounds, Juneau's Jufer Librando beat Ketchikan's Ross Sanford 5-4 in the semifinals to qualify for the state tournament. Sitka's Michael Abt downed Librando 9-1 for the title.
Juneau's rapidly improving Sabrina Storey reached the regional finals on Saturday. She pinned Sitka's Melvin Villanueva 3:36 in the semifinals before losing to the Wolves' Cameron O'Neil 10-5 in the final.
"She's coming on strong and is probably the most improved on the team," Mercer said. "She was tough. She's a lot better with her hips and isn't getting thrown around. She's weaker than other guys, but has better positioning and technique."
JDHS leaves for Chugiak on Thursday for the state tournament.
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