Seven Petersburg Vikings won their weight class titles, leading Petersburg to the championship of the Region V small schools wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday in Wrangell.
The Vikings scored 217.5 points to beat runner-up Wrangell's 157. Mount Edgecumbe took third place with 101 points, followed by Craig with 87.5 and Hydaburg with 58 to round out the top five teams.
Kake took sixth place with 44 points, followed by Hoonah with 38, Metlakatla with 30.5, Yakutat with 19, Klawock with 16, Pelican with 11 and Skagway with nine points.
This is Petersburg's sixth region title in a row, not counting the two seasons the state split into unclassified fall and winter seasons (2000-02 school years). In the Vikings' first meet of the year, Petersburg only won two titles, while Wrangell and Mount Edgecumbe won three each. That led to speculation Petersburg might be vulnerable.
"This was the year a lot of people thought Wrangell or Edgecumbe might get us," Petersburg coach Tom Cox said. "But we kept getting better. We had nine in the finals and seven won. All six seniors won and we had lots and lots of energy. The kids seemed to peak at the right time. I was very proud of this group."
Jim Smith, the defending state champion at 160 pounds, led the way for Petersburg, as he claimed a 5-4 decision over Wrangell's Jake Mork in the 160-pound championship match. Earlier this season, Mork had been the top-ranked wrestler at 160 in the rankings posted on the Web site, AlaskaWrestling.com. Smith earned the meet's outstanding wrestler award for his victory.
"It was an outstanding match," Cox said. "One of best quotes comes from Don Hather of Skagway - he's been in the Alaska and Nebraska wrestling hall of fames as a coach - and he said that was one of the best matches he'd ever seen.
"What happened is Jim was down by two, but Mork hadn't been down to his back to a quality opponent all season. With Jim down two (3-1 Mork), we figured Jim had to get Mork on his back and he found a way to do it. That put Jim up two (5-3 Smith), but Mork got an escape and it was a scramble at the end."
Also winning titles for Petersburg were (all seniors unless noted) Drake Lyons at 119, sophomore Jesse Agner at 125, Dan McCay at 135, Victor Jenny at 171, Bart Agner at 215 and Collin Martens at 275.
Wrangell was led by defending state champion Harry Churchill at 140 pounds, who won his third region title (Churchill was 135 pounds last year). Josh Garrison also won for the Wolves, claiming the 130-pound crown.
Craig had two region champions - Spencer Beckman at 103 and Bryan Westfall at 112. Mount Edgecumbe also had two region champs - Sam Carney at 145 pounds and George Beans at 152. The other region champion was Hydaburg's Curtis Demmert at 189 pounds.
The top three wrestlers in each weight class from the region meet qualified for the Class 1A-2A-3A state tournament, Friday and Saturday at Anchorage Christian Schools.
Petersburg qualified 15 wrestlers for state, as many as Wrangell and Mount Edgecumbe combined. Wrangell had nine wrestlers, and Mount Edgecumbe had six make the state tournament. Craig had five wrestlers make state, Hydaburg had three, while Kake, Hoonah, Yakutat and Klawock had one each.
This weekend the Petersburg wrestlers will be looking to claim their first state team title since the Vikings won the Division I state tournament in the 1979-80 school year. No other Southeast team has won a state wrestling title.
"Honestly, I really think we're peaking at the right time," Cox said. "If we had one guy with a chance to make the finals, we'd be in great shape. We've got three potential finalists right now, but I feel we've still got a good chance at the top three. I wouldn't trade our chances with anybody. What I like about this team over last year's team is last year's team had about six guys who were scorers, while this year we've got more kids who can score. We've got a lot more depth. I'm really excited to see how we do."
Last year, Petersburg finished second to Bethel Region High School by just two points, losing 122.5-120.5, with ACS third at 118.5 and Valdez fourth at 107.5 in one of the closest state tournaments in history. The tournament was decided in the last match of the night, when Kotzebue's Dan Dalle-Molle claimed a 7-3 decision over Petersburg's Geoff Hall in the heavyweight final, preventing the Vikings from moving past the Warriors in the team standings.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGION V-CLASS 2A-3A
Results from the Region V-Class 2A-3A wrestling tournament held Friday and Saturday at Wrangell High School. The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to the Class 1A-2A-3A state tournament this weekend at Anchorage Christian Schools.
Team scores - 1. Petersburg, 217.5 points; 2. Wrangell, 157; 3. Mount Edgecumbe, 101; 4. Craig, 87.5; 5. Hydaburg, 58; 6. Kake, 44; 7. Hoonah, 38; 8. Metlakatla, 30.5; 9. Yakutat, 19; 10. Klawock, 16; 11. Pelican, 11; 12. Skagway, 9.
Outstanding wrestler - Jim Smith, Petersburg, 160 pounds.
Team sportsmanship award - Pelican Bucks.
103 pounds - Spencer Beckman, Craig, dec. Jon Garrison, Wrangell, 10-8, OT. 112 - Bryan Westfall, Craig, pin. Alena Neilson, Petersburg, 5:31. 119 - Drake Lyons, Petersburg, pin. Marshall Peterman, Wrangell, 3:52. 125 - Jesse Anger, Petersburg, dec. Nick Ashton, Wrangell, 10-7. 130 - Josh Garrison, Wrangell, pin. Brent Cole, Craig, 3:39. 135 - Dan McCay, Petersburg, tech. fall Drew Eyon, Wrangell, 20-4. 140 - Harry Churchill, Wrangell, pin. David Lindstrom, Hoonah, 0:41. 145 - Sam Carney, Mount Edgecumbe, dec. Neil Jenny, Petersburg, 3-0. 152 - George Beans, Mount Edgecumbe, dec. J.J. Tipton, Craig, 11-10. 160 - Jim Smith, Petersburg, dec. Jake Mork, Wrangell, 5-4. 171 - Victor Jenny, Petersburg, pin. Max Shellabarger, Mount Edgecumbe, 2:52. 189 - Curtis Demmert, Hydaburg, dec. Cliff Shellabarger, Mount Edgecumbe, 6-4. 215 - Bart Agner, Petersburg, dec. Russell Shilts, Wrangell, 10-4. 275 - Collin Martens, Petersburg, dec. Matt Ashenfelter, Kake, 5-3.
103 pounds - Vanya Jouko, Petersburg (no match). 112 - Roberta Eastwood, Petersburg, win by forfeit over Crystal Ketterman, Skagway. 119 - Jay Sin, Yakutat, pin. Kevin Wang, Skagway, 3:19. 125 - Levi Newman, Petersburg, maj. dec. Aaron Brendible, Metlakatla, 11-0. 130 - Josh Dunham, Petersburg, pin. Earl Johnson, Mount Edgecumbe, 1:05. 135 - Eric Dock, Mount Edgecumbe, pin. Evan Hunt, Mount Edgecumbe, 1:07. 140 - Thomas Andrede, Hydaburg, dec. Martin Pate, Kake, 12-5. 145 - Ben Young, Hydaburg, dec. Pete Stephanoff, Mount Edgecumbe, 4-3. 152 - Kris Edfelt, Petersburg, pin. Aaron Bitz, Hoonah, 4:55. 160 - Nick Shellabarger, Mount Edgecumbe, pin. David Natkong, Hydaburg, 1:03. 171 - Scott Phillips, Wrangell, dec. Chris Nathan, Metlakatla, 11-5. 189 - Troy Sharp, Craig, pin. Jesse Birchell, Petersburg, 5:14. 215 - Scott O'Neil, Petersburg, pin. Benjamin James, Kake, 3:17. 275 - James Roberts, Klawock, pin. Joe Pavlik, Yakutat, 1:46.