Kotzebue, Barrow wrestlers shine at tournament
Aaron Phillips and Bryden Sampson both walked away from the Alaska USA State Wrestling Championships with gold medals this past weekend and helped the north and northwestern Arctic teams stage strong showings.
Despite fielding small teams, Kotzebue and Barrow both finished in the top 25 in the state tournament, which was held April 27-29 at the Menard Sports Complex in Wasilla.
Phillips was among three Kotzebue wrestlers who netted medals in all three formats. During the weekend, participants competed in the state Freestyle, Folkstyle and Roman-Greco formats.
Wrestling in the Open 213.9-pound classification, Phillips claimed the state title in the Roman-Greco division. He posted a 10-4 victory over Mat-Su's Benjamin Button in the finals of the weight division.
Phillips was second in the Freestyle tournament, and third in the Folkstyle.
Sampson netted two golds in the meet, winning the Schoolboy 190-pound weight classification in both the Freestyle and Folkstyle meets.
Ethan Roetman and Brinton Hoke joined Phillips as three-time medalists. Roetman collected a trio of medals in the Cadet 170-pound ranks, including third in the Freestyle standings. He notched four wins en route to a third-place finish in the Folkstyle event, and captured third in the Roman-Greco format. Hoke was second in the Schoolboy 160 standings in all three tournaments.
Trevor Hickerson narrowly missed three medals. The Kotzebue High School star finished second in the Junior 160-pound weight class in the Folkstyle, and third in the Freestyle. He finished fifth in the Roman-Greco standings.
Jack Hyatt and Kainin McConnell also did well. Hyatt finished fourth in the Junior 182 ranks in Roman-Greco. McConnell was sixth in the Junior 195-pound division in the Folkstyle.
Barrow garnered three third-place medals during the weekend, including a pair by Benjamin Heather.
Heather took third in the Junior 285-pound division in both the Freestyle and Roman-Greco tournaments.
Calvin Miller also claimed a third-place metal, taking the bronze in the Roman-Greco Junior 145-pound classification. He was fifth in the Freestyle ranks.
Barrow also collected a solid performance from Aldrin Bankston in the Schoolboy 98-pound class. Bankston wrestled his way to a 2-2 mark in the Freestyle tournament.