Chugiak sees wrestling team grow

‘Stangs fifth at Bob Bailey


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Chugiak’s Dustin Holta wrestles against East’s Cody Gilroy during the Mustangs’ Bob Bailey Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Mike Nesper

Since starting his second stint as Chugiak’s head wrestling coach in 2010, Tom Huffer Jr. has been working to rebuild the program.

His efforts are paying off.

This year, the Mustangs have seen an increased interest in the sport and have 46 on the roster.

“We’re above where we’re usually at,” Huffer said.

More wrestlers translates to more success on the mat, Huffer said.

“The more bodies you have in your room, the better you’re going to be,” he said. “Everyone has something to contribute.”

Chugiak has five returners (Alex Medeiros, Chase Jury, Karson Forbush, Richard Burroughs and Colten Jury) that placed at state last season.

“We got a good core group,” Huffer said.

Chugiak’s key returners look sharp early in the 2012-13 campaign, Huffer said.

“They’re looking good,” he said. “They’re doing well for us.”

Five Mustangs finished fourth or better to help host Chugiak place fifth as a team at the Bob Bailey Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 10. Wasilla won the team title with 155.5 points.

Colten Jury (145 pounds), Forbush (160) and Medeiros (182) had third-place finishes while Chase Jury (132) and Wyatt Allen (285) were fourth in their weight classes.

Colten Jury pinned Eagle River’s Cory Florence in 1 minute, 54 seconds in the third-place match.

Forbush earned a narrow 1-0 decision over South’s Nathan Hakala, and Medeiros defeated Anchorage Christian Schools’ Bobby Wilson by a 5-2 decision.

Chugiak has benefited from new blood, Huffer said, some incoming freshmen and others that are returning to the sport after a hiatus.

The immediate focus is getting the team in shape, Huffer said.

“Wrestling is not like riding a bike,” he said. “You have to do it to get better.”

Huffer said wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world.

“You have to do a lot of self motivation,” he said. “It’s not like any other team sport. You’re out here by yourself.”

And his team is up for that challenge.

“There’s a lot of excitement right now,” Huffer said.

One of his main goals is ensuring his wrestlers progress throughout the season, Huffer said.

“If you lose, the next time you wrestle, make it close,” he said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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