Wolves place 15th at ACS in Anchorage
The Wolves might be expected to feel a bit of a comedown.
After placing third at their home meet, and seeing three of the team’s nine wrestlers virtually walk away with first place, the wrestling team faced a larger field of competition Nov. 1 and 2 at the Lime Solar Anchorage Christian Schools Tournament. The Anchorage meet, which head coach Jeffrey Rooney held up early in the season as a potentially eye-opening experience, ended with injuries for two Wolves, and a tie for fifteenth with Sitka.
“We brought nine up there, and they competed very hard,” he said. “Wrestling is a rough sport. We ended up bringing two of ‘em home on crutches, a pretty rough deal.”
Two of the injuries came to wrestlers who had won their weight brackets the previous weekend. Devon Miller, wrestling in the 182-lb weight bracket, was injured at the 5:23 mark against Glennallen High wrestler Joseph White. Brother Roger Miller was injured at the 2:26 mark against Voznesenka High’s Gavril Kalugin.
The elder Miller had a first and second round bye and a 26-second pin prior to his injury. The younger Miller, wrestling in the 132-lb weight class, also had byes for the first and second round, and had won a third-round match on a 13-7 decision. The promising early results make it inevitable to ponder what could have been.
“It really put a burden on our team scoring,” Rooney said. “I think we would have done considerably better if those woulda been able to finish the tournament.”
The injuries were the low spot in an eye-opening weekend, according to Coach Rooney. The high point was junior Jeffrey Rooney, Jr., who wrestled back to third and was the sole placer for the Wolves, pinning Hoonah City wrestler Torsten Skalfestad twice over the course of the competition, once after 2:43, and a second time in only 26 seconds to secure third place. The younger Rooney also had the fastest pin overall for the Wolves, taking his first round victory from Delta High School’s Patrick Newman after only 14 seconds.
Third place doesn’t represent the younger Rooney’s ceiling, the elder Rooney said.
“The competition level (at the ACS tournament) is very high, and he got caught,” the elder Rooney said. “He was doing very well up until that match. He got whomped on a little bit out there.”
Results for other wrestlers were more mixed, though no less beneficial, the elder Rooney said.
“It’s a great tournament, it’s a huge tournament, it gets us up to see the northern schools, and yes, it’s an eye-opener,” he said. “You see the people that you don’t get to see every weekend, like in our region.”
The experience gained isn’t limited to simply the depth of the Alaskan wrestling talent pool, the elder Rooney said.
“You get a little taste of some of the northern school attitude toward Southeast,” he said. “I guess my personal feelings are that they don’t really respect Southeast like they should. They really show it.”
In the 98-lb weight class, the Wolves faced a situation akin to the tagline from “Alien vs. Predator” when freshmen wrestlers Sig Decker and Alissa Heller faced off in the consolation bracket. Decker pinned Heller at 1:48, only to fall a round later.
Senior Alex Cano lost his 126-lb first-round matchup at the 4:56 mark, then tallied three straight pins before falling in the consolation bracket.
Senior Luke Gunderson lost his first-round match against eventual 138-lb champion Emery Booshu of Nome High School. He pinned Kenisha Geerhart of Manokotak in 1:56, but fell in the second round to Andrew Pennison of Nikiski.
Sophomore Chet Armstrong lost to Mount Edgecumbe’s Jason Young in his opening match, then pinned Seward’s Richie Mack and King Cove’s Ethan Mack (for a complete Mack-down) before losing to Colbin Hansen of Valdez.