Alaskans regularly distinguish themselves at home and away. Some start earlier than others. Here's to the Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers who competed throughout the season, who earned a trip to last weekend's state tournament in Kenai, and who contributed to the best-ever finish for a Crimson Bears squad.
Juneau's Jestin Hulegaard, Anthony Manacio IV and Patrick Carrillo all reached the championship finals in their respective weight classes. Hulegaard, only a sophomore, won the state title at 130 pounds with a 4-3 decision over Ryan Childers of Skyview, which claimed the team title.
Hulegaard also was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. That honor is more difficult to earn than even the championship in a weight class. It is the equivalent of the best among all champions of all weight classes.
Hulegaard said wrestling competitively last summer in a program that saw him reach the schoolboy nationals boosted his confidence going into the state finals. His efforts have been rewarded. His hard work and accomplishments should serve as models for his teammates and his classmates.