Huskies take 2nd at King of the Mountain
SEWARD - Jessica McCall and Mark Angelo Salta might not have collected as many wins as they had wanted at the King of the Mountain wrestling tournament this past weekend in Seward, but they both agreed the experience they gained from a trip to the Kenai Peninsula would only make them — and their Kotzebue teammates — only better as the 2017 season wears on.
"I think it was good for us to come here," said McCall, a freshman who garnered a win in her final bout of the two-day tournament. "It gave us a chance to see other wrestlers. I'm not used to wrestling anyone outside of our region, so it was good to get that experience."
As a team, Kotzebue turned its experience into a second-place finish in the Pool A bracket of the tournament. In all there were more than 20 teams at the tournament divided into three different pools.
Houston finished atop the Pool A standings with a 5-0 record. Kotzebue edged out Soldotna and Barrow for second. Grace Christian and Anchorage Christian rounded out the pool.
Seniors Michael Hatch and Jack Hyatt provided the Huskies plenty of momentum. Hatch won all five of his bouts in the 113-pound weight classification. Hyatt also posted a perfect 5-0 mark in the 195-pound bracket.
Sophomore Matthew de la Cruz and junior Trevor Miller-Hickerson added to the Huskies' domination on the mat. De la Cruz turned in a sensational outing, going 5-0 in the 138-pound division. Miller-Hickerson went 4-0 in the 160-pound ranks.
Salta, Andrew Bergan, Billy Nelson and Ryan Troyer also wrestled their way to solid performances. A senior, Salta hammered out a 5-2 record, including an unscheduled exhibition loss to Seward's James Helberg prior to the start of the championship round.
"Our coach told me like five minutes before this that I was going to wrestle," he said. "It was good for me. I need to work on my speed so I was okay with it. I feel strong, but I need to work on my technique and speed."
Bergan won his first four matches in the 220-pound weight classification. His only setback came in his final bout in a 7-5 loss to Barrow's Ben Heather.
A freshman, Troyer was 4-1 in the 120-pound division. Nelson posted a 4-1 record in the 182 ranks.
Judah Atkinson and Asaqpan Hensley both finished 3-2 in their matches, while Tina Conwell and Carmella McCall both went 2-3.
McCall closed out her outing by pinning her final opponent at the 1:37 mark of the first period.
Led by Heather's 5-0 record in the 220-pound division, Barrow rolled to a fourth-place finish in Pool A.
Calvin Miller and sophomore Vakameilalo Tuifua also starred for the Whalers. Miller turned in a 5-0 record in the 145-pound division. Tuifia was 4-1 in the heavyweight class. His only loss came to Houston's Dylan Jackson.
Jay Rick Nobleza went 4-1 in the 132-pound ranks. He won his first three matches before dropping a decision to Houston's Vinny Mahoney. He bounced back to claim an 11-9 win over Atkinson in his final bout.
Barrow also collected solid outings from Anthony Librado, Krystian Gandia, Matthew Brower, Bradley and Jalen Tracey. All five finished the tournament with 3-2 records.