Wolves make strong showing at Juneau wrestling meet

Out of 10 high school wrestlers on the Wrangell team, eight made it to the finals and four won their brackets at the Pilot Invitational in Juneau last weekend.

Liana Carney, Ethan Blatchley, Ryan Rooney and Jake Eastaugh all placed first in their weight class, with Carney going head-to-head with teammate Mia Wiederspohn in the final bracket.

"They had bumped up to wrestle the 160-pounders for the competition and ended up at the top of their bracket together," said Jack Carney, assistant coach. "Finals matches against teammates aren't fun, but it's what happens when you have tough kids."

Though Wiederspohn nearly pinned her, in the end, senior Liana Carney bested the sophomore to take first place.

Wiederspohn placed second along with Jamie Early, Randy Churchill and Della Churchill. Daniel Harrison placed fourth and Lucas Schneider placed sixth.

"Over the weekend, we had 61 wins and 15 losses," Jack Carney said. "I was asked more than once, 'What are you feeding those kids?' I responded with, '7:45 strength training and lots of hard work.'"

Some of the notable matches included Early wrestling against state champion Hailey Gilson of Ketchikan; Rooney pinning Jason Young of Sitka; and freshman Della Churchill going against junior Deirdre Toyomura, of Petersburg, who is ranked third in the state.

Jack Carney also said Randy Churchill went up against Jarrell Williams, of Juneau.

"The guys were everywhere on the mat. There was lots of action, including an early throw that ended with Williams on top," he said. Randy Churchill eventually lost by points, though he gave it his all. "By the end, a tired Williams started backing up to avoid getting taken down, eventually giving up points for stalling."

Wrestlers Rowen Wiederspohn and Steven Bales were unable to compete in Juneau, but will return to competition, starting with this weekend's regionals tournament scheduled for Wrangell on Friday and Saturday.


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