Dillingham had a strong showing at Saturday's regionals; the team will be sending 12 boys and three girls to the Wrestling State Championships. New Stuyahok and King Cove each qualified four athletes for state; Bristol Bay Borough qualified two; Manokotak, Newhalen and Sand Point are each sending one athlete.
Sportsmanship was the name of the game at the Sockeye Conference, as teams wrestled for regional championships and spots at the state tournament.
Dillingham was the biggest team, and it dominated the roster; 10 athletes won championships, and 12 boys and three girls will be going to state. In total, the team earned 260.5 points, followed by New Stuyahok with 82 points.
Dillon Chaney won the 152-pound bracket in a 19-4 decision over Bristol Bay's Dawson Swain.
"Pretty much all our captains won it, which is kind of how you want things to go. Most of our seniors took it – the only match one senior didn’t win is because we had two of our own kids in the finals, so that’s how it had to go," Chaney said. "Pretty much every team that came in had at least one or two good kids out of a couple weight classes, so we’ll probably see them again going into state."
Another senior, Jesse Noden, won at 140 pounds in a 21-4 decision over New Stuyahok's Damian Gust. He said that the weekend was particularly memorable because it was his final home tournament.
"Being a senior, it's kind of weird to think about four years of wrestling in Dillingham, and never being able to wrestle here again. It's - it's mind-blowing, really."
The tournament was a chance for athletes to come together as a region and compete with their peers. All four King Cove wrestlers at the tournament qualified for state as well. Newcomer Brian Aichele of King Cove won the 160 weight class regional championship, beating Dillingham's Reece Bennis in a 2-0 decision. He said that he is excited to test his abilities in a larger arena.
“Given that it’s my first year wrestling, I don’t know what the odds could be, but I’m hoping that I at least place,” Aichele said.
Logan Phelps is the 145 weight class champion. One of two Bristol Bay Borough wrestlers that qualified for state, he wrestled Newhalen’s Jared Paine and won in an 11-7 decision.
“Strong kid, you know. I wasn’t able to get my shots, but I was able to move around. I was able to create some points, get what I wanted. But that kid was strong, he has really good defense. Put up a great match,” he said.
Bristol Bay Angels Coach Rile Anderson said that this week, he is focused on getting his athletes ready for the next match.
“We definitely don’t want to lay off and just be happy that we’re there," he said. "We’re really going to be pushing hard, doing a lot more wrestling drills, getting these guys conditioned – that needs to be up. Conditioning helps control the mindset, and the mindset helps to be prepared for the rigors of a tournament.”
Anderson said that heading to Anchorage this weekend, the region’s teams feel united.
“We look forward to seeing our other – I call them teammates – our other teammates from the regionthere as well," he said. "They’ve got their work to do there as well, and I think they’re going to do a really good job and represent this region really well.”
New Stuyahok is sending four athletes to state. Manokotak and Sand Point are each sending one.
The state tournament begins December 14 at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
1. Jean Krause - Junior - Dillingham
2. Thresa Savo - Freshman - Dillingham
1. Cate Gomez - Senior - Dillingham
1. Gusty Blunka Jr. - Freshman - New Stuyahok
2. Craig Wonhola - Freshman - New Stuyahok
3. Wyatt Williams - Freshman - Dillingham
1. Darius Tilden - Sophomore - Dillingham
2. Demetry Hoseth - Freshman - Dillingham
3. Ivan Blunka - Sophomore - New Stuyahok
4. Mickia Walcott IV - Freshman - New Stuyahok
5. Tristan Burgraff - Freshman - Bristol Bay
1. Zach Kolbe - Freshman - Dillingham
2. Jacob Andrew - Junior - New Stuyahok
3. Senen Torino - Freshman - Bristol Bay
1. Vassillie Andrew - Freshman - Dillingham
2. Noah Sage - Freshman - Dillingham
3. Elijah Christopher - Freshman - New Stuyahok
4. Thomas Gorege - Sophomore - Newhalen
1. Braden Sifsof - Sophomore - Dillingham
2. Braydyn Brandell - Sophomore - King Cove
3. Evon Tretikoff - Newhalen
1. Chris Williams - Senior - Dillingham
2. Grant Williams - Senior - Dillingham
3. Jaden Tretikoff - Sophomore - Newhalen
4. Caleb Kapotak - Sophomore - Dillingham
1. Jesse Noden - Senior - Dillingham
2. Damian Gust - Senior - New Stuyahok
1. Logan Phelps - Senior - Bristol Bay
2. Jared Paine - Junior - Newhalen
3. Alex Casteel - Senior - Dillingham
1. Dillon Chaney - Senior - Dillingham
2. Dawson Swain - Junior - Bristol Bay
1. Brian Aichele - Sophomore - King Cove
2. Reece Bennis - Freshman - Dillingham
3. Micheal Tretikoff - Newhalen
4. Justin Mobeck - Junior - Sand Point
1. Zachary Kuzakin - Junior - King Cove
1. Terry Ayojiak - Junior - Manokotak
1. Matthew Krause - Senior - Dillingham
2. Elia Lind - Junior - King Cove
3. Devin Roehl - Junior - Sand Point
1. Ashton Gundersen - Freshman - Sand Point
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