The Thunder Mountain wrestling program continued to make strides this weekend as the Falcons placed two grapplers out of a possible four in Wasilla at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 2010 4A State Wrestling Championships.
The Falcons' Thomas Riley finished in fourth place overall at 130 pounds while heavyweight teammate Cole Bossio placed sixth.
Juneau-Douglas 189-pounder Henry Dalton lost his first two matches and 145-pound Kyle Barry lost two in a row after winning his first match.
Thunder Mountain coach Chad Requa said Riley's effort over the weekend was impressive, beating the No. 3 and No. 4 seed convincingly before falling in the consolation finals after losing to the No. 1 seed in the first round.
"(Riley) absolutely pounded the No. 4 seed, and he had the No. 3 seed 8-0 at one point," Requa said. "To lose your first one and come back to win four in a row - he wrestled great."
Bossio won his opening-round match with a quick pin before losing in the second round to the No. 3 seed. But Requa said Bossio was leading the match before his opponent was able to catch the Falcons' heavyweight off guard with a pin. He won the next three matches before being eliminated 4-2 in overtime of his sixth match.
Requa said his other wrestlers, 171-pound Jackson Pavitt and 160-pound David Steininger, had a difficult time with the level of competition they faced for the first time at state. But the Falcons' coach also said it was a valuable learning experience.
"David and Jackson were both outmatched, but they definitely benefited from the experience," Requa said. "I expect them to return next year with a whole different appreciation for what they're doing and what they're trying to accomplish.
"And it's awesome that their buddies broke the ice here," he continued. "It's a big deal for them to be able to watch their teammates knock off the seeded guys and realize they can compete."
Crimson Bears coach John Smith was unavailable for comment by press time on Saturday.