Tom Sims tournament crowns three wolves champions
Sophomore Devon Miller makes his escape from Petersburg’s Cody Seaman. After leading 10-3 over Seaman in the second round, Miller pinned Seaman for the win.
The 2011 Tom Sims Invitational wrestling tournament returned to Wrangell High School last week as teams from 10 high schools across Southeast Alaska fought for glory and a spot on the podium as champions.
Aside from the Wolves squad, teams from Petersburg, Hydaburg, Haines, Kake, Sitka, Craig, Mt. Edgecumbe, Klawock, Metlakatla and Thorne Bay competed beginning on Thursday, Oct 13 for a seeding in the championship rounds on Saturday, Oct. 15.
“We started earlier than we expected, on Thursday, because we had a bunch of teams were here already and we decided to get an extra day of wrestling in,” said Wrangell head wrestling coach Jeff Rooney. “It was good to that extra day in because it gets us warmed up and ready for the tournament finale on Saturday.”
After battling tough over the course of Thursday and Friday, Wrangell wrestlers Kurt Dingwall, Devon Miller, Tanner Thomassen and Lorenzo Silva found themselves in the tournament’s championship bracket.
Starting out the evening for Wrangell, Dingwall faced off against Kenny Thomsen of Haines in the 138-pound class, beginning as a slow exchange of grips before moving on to faster action.
After going 0-0 in the first round, Dingwall was able to score in the second on an escape before Thomsen returned the favor for a 1-1 tie.
The third period is where it all came together for Dingwall, though, as he put together a 3-point near fall against his opponent from Haines for a 4-1 victory.
“Dingwall did very well,” Rooney said. “He went out there and did everything he has been working on. It was a wonderful match. I’m proud of him.”
For his part, Dingwall said his trademark takedown is improving – and will continue to be a threat across Southeast Alaska.
“My takedown is pretty strong right now, and I have been taking all my opponents down pretty much off the bat,” Dingwall said. “I’m going to keep working hard at it and keep trying to run right through them. I wanted this win under my belt for state and I got it.”
In what was probably the most exciting match of the night, Thomassen faced up against Hydaburg’s Anthony Edenshaw in the 145-pounder group.
Edenshaw took an early lead in the first round with his takedown of Thomassen to lead 2-1 over Wrangell, and continued the pace with a pair of reverses over the Wolves’ wrestler before Thomassen pulled a reverse and escape out of his hat for 6-5 Hydaburg lead.
In the third round, Thomassen evened up the score at 8-8 with another escape and reverse to send the match into overtime.
“When we’re tied up like that, we go into a sudden death round,” Rooney added. “Whoever scores first gets it.”
With a grab of Thomassen’s leg and a quick takedown only 30 seconds into the fourth round, Edenshaw pulled 2 point for a 10-8 decision win.
“Those two guys have been going after each other for the past couple of years,” Rooney said after the match. “We finally got to see them together again and it was head-to-head until the very end. They got the jump on us in overtime and took the win.”
After the unfortunate loss for Thomassen, the Wolves met up with Petersburg for a revival of the rivalry between Wrangell and the Vikings.
Petersburg’s Cody Seaman, who battled his way to the finals in a round-robin format against Miller and Mt. Edgecumbe’s Michael Matthew, found himself facing Miller for a battle royale in the 170-pound class.
Leading 10-3 over Seaman in the second round, Miller proved his strength and concentration by pinning the wiry and unruly Seaman for the win.
“Those guys put out some good competition all night between the three of them,” Rooney said. “Unfortunately, the Edgecumbe wrestler injured himself in one of the matches, so it came down to us and Petersburg.”
With the crowd roaring as the backdrop to Miller’s emphatic win, he said could hear them but was focused on his competition.
“Everything slowed down during the match but the crowd was really loud,” Miller said. “It just flowed at some point and I had a lot of fun out there. Hopefully I’ll be able to come out on top again during our next tournament.”
Petersburg Viking head coach Marty Massin said he was proud of the way Seaman wrestled against Miller.
“Seaman volunteered to wrestle Devon because there was no one else in the weight class, which says a lot about his heart,” Massin said. “He wrestled hard and it was good for us to be here. We’re a young team and we are learning all the time.”
In the final match of the night, the big guns came out for the headline event as Wrangell’s Silva, a 220-pounder, stepped up to the plate to take on Metlakatla’s Marty Vera in an exhibition match for the heavyweight class.
Wrangell junior Tanner Thomassen locks in against Hydaburg’s Anthony Edenshaw in the 145-pounder group on Saturday night. Edenshaw defeated Thomassen by a final of 10-8 in overtime.
As with most heavyweight matches, the going was slow in the first round as neither wrestler scored any points. In the second round, however, Silva made his move for Vera – and collected 3 points on a near fall, nearly pinning Vera in the process.
Vera managed a takedown of Silva in the third round, but it was too little, too late as Wrangell took the 4-2 decision win.
“Silva wrestled like a champ after stepping up to face a heavyweight,” Rooney said. “Vera was the only kid in his weight class and when that happens we try to get someone to wrestle them. It says a lot for Silva to go out there and give up all that weight to give Metlakatla a chance to wrestle.”
The tournament, which is held annually in Wrangell, is named for former Wolves head wrestling coach Tom Sims.
Wrangell will travel to Haines for their next meet Oct. 21-22.