Ten local grapplers place at state
Seventy percent of Chugiak’s grapplers who earned a state berth placed at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 4A State Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Bartlett High.
Ten local wrestlers finished sixth or better — seven from Chugiak and three from Eagle River.
Tyler Wintersteen (126 pounds), Robert Huffer (152), Alex Medeiros (182) and Richard Burroughs (220) each placed fourth to lead 10th-place Chugiak.
Also placing for the Mustangs were Colt Jury (sixth at 145), Karson Forbush (fifth at 160) and Chase Jury (fifth at 132).
Chase Jury met Eagle River rival Gavin Arnold in the fifth-place match. Trailing 6-2 in the second period, Chase Jury flipped Arnold into a cradle and pinned him in 2:21.
Chase Jury, a senior, said he had no intention of losing.
“I wanted to win ’cause it is my last match,” he said.
Arnold and Zack Luff (120) both finished sixth for the 15-place Wolves, who were led by Marcus Amico’s fifth-place finish at 106 pounds. Luff won his first two matches before losing in the semifinals. He forfeited his consolation round matches due to unsportsmanlike conduct following Friday’s loss.
Also booted from the proceedings was CHS head coach Tom Huffer, who got the heave-ho Saturday for arguing a referee’s decision.
Amico earned a 7-1 decision over Kenai Central’s Hope Steffensen. He said he entered the fifth-place match mentally prepared.
“I came out with the right attitude,” Amico said. “I wanted to recover from my losses from earlier.”
Just being able to compete at state was an accomplishment for Amico. A fractured shoulder sidelined the Wolves’ 106-pounder for nearly the entire season.
Amico sustained his injury in practice following the Bob Bailey Invitational on Nov. 10, 2012. He didn’t compete again until the season’s final dual against Chugiak on Jan. 16.
Wrestling at state was more than a physical battle, he said.
“It was just all mental for me,” Amico said. “A mental challenge.”
In the 126-pound third-place match, Wintersteen met Alexander Nanez of Service. Nanez won by pinfall in 2:23.
Conservative wrestling on Huffer’s part allowed West Valley’s Vince Fricilone to squeak out a 4-3 win, Huffer said.
“I should have just taken more shots,” he said.
“It was his match,” Huffer said. “He wrestled better.”
Palmer’s Caleb Nielsen edged Medeiros 4-2. Nielsen’s teammate Ben Button was able to come from behind to beat Burroughs 5-4 in the waning seconds of the match.
West Valley’s Zach Goeden pinned Colt Jury in 1:30 while Forbush downed South’s Gabe McSharry 6-1.
Having seven place-winners was a good accomplishment for Chugiak, Huffer said.
“As a team, we wrestled really tough,” he said.
South won the team title with 226 points, just three and a half more than second-place Wasilla.
Arnold and Amico — both freshmen — gained valuable experience over the weekend, Wolves’ head coach Daren Williams said.
“You learn after your first big tournament,” he said. “They both wrestled real well.”
Eagle River is losing just two seniors, Luff and Cory Florence, and should return a strong group, Williams said.
“We’ve got a pretty good core,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a good year next season.”
So is Chugiak, who’s losing four seniors — Medeiros, Wintersteen, Chase Jury and Wyatt Allen.
“We just keep building our team,” Huffer said. “We’ve got a good young group coming up.”
For full results, visit www.trackwrestling.com.