Juneau-Douglas High School senior Steven Dyer etched his name into the record books Saturday at the Alaska State Athletic Association/Alaska State Class 4A Wrestling Championships in Chugiak.
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From now until forever, Dyer will always be known as a state champion.
The senior captured the 152-pound championship Saturday with a 10-4 victory over West Anchorage High School's Carson Roberts.
"If feels absolutely amazing to accomplish it now," Dyer said. "Truly, man, it's been on the top of my mind for five years."
Dyer became the 11th Juneau-Douglas wrestler to win a state title since the advent of the state championships in 1972. He also won the 13th individual state championship for JDHS in 35 years.
He's the third Crimson Bears grappler to win a state title during coach Kris Mercer's five-year tenure.
"Steve's been wanting this for a long time," Mercer said. "Ever since ninth grade that's been his goal and he achieved it. He wrestled tough with lots of smarts out there. He wrestled with his wits."
After winning his first three matches, Dyer found himself in the finals for the first time in his career.
Prior to his bout, Dyer said he came up with a game plan in the midst of the cacophony surrounding the finals.
"There's so many people yelling and so many whistles going on," he said. "Then you see the winning wrestlers get off the mat and are happy. The losers throw their headgear against the wall and were crying. I didn't want to be that guy."
Dyer said he wanted to attack Roberts high because his West Anchorage counterpart was a shorter, but stronger, wrestler.
He scored an opening takedown and built a six-point advantage in the third period.
"I went out there and was just attacking his head the whole time to get him tired," Dyer said. "(I was) Just getting really aggressive and not letting him have anything."
This is where Dyer used his wrestling savvy to win the title.
Holding the lead, Dyer knew his opponent needed to do something drastic to win the title. Roberts' lone option was to grab Dyer, throw him on his back and secure a pin.
The JDHS senior parried Roberts' takedown attempt and held on for the first JDHS title since Sungie Mussara in the 2004-2005 season.
JDHS state champs
Mark Johnson (1972, 1973)
K.C. Wilson (1972, 1973)
Loren Cummings (1977)
Shannon Garety (1981)
Peter Eagle (1982)
Phil Isaak (1986)
Gary Reid (2000)
Garrett Schoenberger (2000)
Gerry Carillo (2004)
Sungie Mussara (2005)
Steven Dyer (2007)
"He tried to throw, but (Dyer's) got such great hips and balance," Mercer said. "He caught the Hail Mary throw and he squashed it."
In preparation for the tourney, Dyer worked with one Matt Barry, one of Juneau's best 152-pounders. Barry finished second in the state last season.
"Matt is a great technician and fined tuned my moves," Dyer said. "He knows a lot of moves and taught me little tips and tricks. What makes the difference is the little stuff."
In order to reach the finals, Dyer survived a bloody 17-14 victory over Homer's Tris Brymer.
With a profusely bloody nose wrapped with tape, Dyer nearly was forced to forfeit the match due to using his allotted blood time. When bleeding, wrestlers are given five minutes during a match to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. Mercer said Dyer used all but a minute of his blood time.
"We had to hide it because we couldn't stop it," Mercer said.
Dyer also said he trailed 7-0 in the first period and was nearly pinned when he was slammed on his face.
"I was freaking out," Dyer said.
Dyer, however, persevered to victory.
"I had to stay calm and I went one point at a time," he said. "I did get a bunch of back-points and take downs. He was pretty strong but got worn out. He got tired and I had more gas than he did."
Three other Crimson Bears won matches at the state championships but none placed in the top six.
Freshman Cameron Fronimos won a consolation match at 145 pounds, as did 112-pounder Jufer Librando and 215-pound senior Ramiro Lamas.
As a team, JDHS finished 16th overall as Colony took the overall team title.
A longtime Southeast Alaska coach was honored as well: Petersburg's Rob Schwartz was elected to the Alaska Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Juneau's coach, Mercer, meanwhile decided to step down as the Crimson Bears coach on Saturday. He's been involved in local wrestling for 15 years, the last five with JDHS. In that time, he's coached three state champions.
"I threw in my towel and I'm going to spend time with my granddaughters," he said. "My granddaughters live next door and I haven't seen them in two months, and that's wrong."
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or email@example.com.
DYER'S ROAD TO THE TITLE
1st round - Dyer pins Wasilla's Mack Gagnon, 3:06.
Quarterfinals - Dyer major decision victory over Eagle River's Trevin Stevens, 16-5.
Semifinals - Dyer defeats Homer's Tris Brymer, 17-14.
Finals - Dyer defeats West Anchorage's Carson Roberts, 10-4.
JUNEAU WRESTLERS AT STATE
Sabrina Storey - 103 pounds
1st round - lost to North Pole's Adam Wood, 1:51.
Consolation round - lost to Sitka's Cameron O'Neil, technical fall.
Jufer Librando - 112 pounds
1st round - lost to Chugiak's Nick Wharton, 9-1.
Consolation round - defeated Kodiak's David Castonguoy, 13-4
Consolation quarterfinals - lost to South Anchorage's Nick Aadland, 3:15.
Bryce Saviers - 130 pounds
1st round - lost to Ketchikan's Ian Fultz, 4-2.
Consolation round - lost to Chugiak's Stephen Kichura, 2:07.
Cameron Fronimos - 145 pounds
1st round - lost to Palmer's Nick Stahler, 12-1
Consolation round - defeated South Anchorage's Josh Neill, 4:21.
Consolation quarterfinals - lost to Soldotna's Ryan Hanley 5-2.
Steven Dyer - 152 pounds
1st round - defeats Wasilla's Mack Gagnon, 3:06.
Quarterfinals - defeats Eagle River's Trevin Stevens, 16-5.
Semifinals - defeats Homer's Tris Brymer, 17-14.
Finals - defeats West Anchorage's Carson Roberts, 10-4.
Kurt Barry - 160 pounds
1st round - lost to East Anchorage's Chris Munford, 3:37.
Consolation round - lost to Soldotna's Jese Carlson, 9-5.
Colton Baker - 171 pounds
1st round - lost to North Pole's Taylor Lewis, 3:00.
Consolation round - lost to South Anchorage's Lige Williamson, 3:40.
Ramiro Lamas - 215 pounds
1st round - lost to Soldotna's Matthew Strieby, 1:19.
Consolation round - defeats Houston's Justin Crowley, 8-2.
Consolation quarterfinals - lost to North Pole's Jackson Collins, 3-1.
Cole Bossio - 215 pounds
1st round - lost to Colony's Renn Wright, 12-7.
Consolation round - lost to South Anchorage's Paul Lorec, 3-1.
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