Wolfpack Wrestling ends season with kids showing what they learned

The Wrangell community gym was the site for tumbling, grappling and pinning last Saturday.

Forty-two members of Wolfpack Wrestling gathered as their families watched from the stands to put their training to the test. Ages 5 to 11 faced off with their fellow squad members to show their skills.

Head coach Jef Rooney, a wrestler himself, moved between matches, providing direction, conferring with referees and giving solace to the junior wrestlers who fell to their opponents.

Five of the grapplers are moving on to sixth grade next year and will have the opportunity to join the middle school wrestling program. Rooney said there are lots of students to keep an eye on as they move up through the ranks.

"Of the five, the standouts are Everett Edens, Clara Carney and Jenna Meissner," Rooney said. "Both Angus and Brogan (Booker) ... this is their first year wrestling. (They) are carrying a high level of competitive attitude. I won't be surprised to see them excel."

Kevin and Moira Fish were two of the many parents who came out to support their kids. Their son Kaden, 8, began wrestling this year and comes from a family tradition of wrestling.

"He's doing really good, but I might be biased," said Kevin Fish. "My dad and uncles are state champions (in Idaho) and it kind of skipped a generation with me. I want to give him every opportunity to at least try."

Six of the members moving up to fifth grade next year are ones to watch for in their final year of Wolfpack Wrestling, Rooney said. Thomas Wickman, Quinton Davies, Saylor Welch, Seth McMaster, Michael Barnes and Jayden Daughtery "all wrestled well and will be turning heads in the near future."

Of those not in attendance at the beginning of Saturday's matches was high school senior Jake Eastaugh, who was coaching the Wolfpack for his senior project. He hadn't been feeling well but eventually bounced back and later made it to the event.

Rooney said the exuberant young coach couldn't stay away.

"He did get to see what his dedication unfolded for the youth, and he was beaming with excitement for them all," Rooney said. "Jake was ushering from mat to mat to get in all he could, coaching, mentoring and teaching every step of the way."

The tournament was the final event of the year until Wolfpack Wrestling begins again next January or February. Rooney said they will try to plan some summer events, if time allows.


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