It is the most qualifiers in coach Pat Costello’s 22 years in Kodiak.
“We have never been the top dog with the most entrants,” said Costello, whose previous high was 18 entrants.
Costello is not disappointed, but said the number should have been higher.
“We felt we could have had 23,” he said. “We lost one we thought we would get. Otherwise, everybody got through that we expected to get through.”
That includes two seniors — Chris Parsons and Reuben Ivanoff — who did not wrestle a match before the Northern Lights Conference Championships.
Parsons finished second at 170 pounds, behind only freshman teammate Kerry Powers. It was Parsons’ first match since his freshman season.
“I didn’t really have any expectations,” Parsons said Monday. “I just went out and wrestled.”
Parsons joined the team after the Robin Hervey Tournament in November and did not travel to any tournaments leading up to the NLC Championships.
He still practiced every day with the team to prepare himself for the possibility of competing.
“We just weren’t sure what he would do,” Costello said, “because he has not wrestled any matches in quite a while. He has good tools and is quick and strong. He is not afraid to wrestle.”
Parsons won three matches by pin to land in the championship match, where he lost to Powers by technical fall in the second round.
Now, he is competing in his first state wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.
“I will see how I do when I get there,” he said.
Ivanoff didn’t even expect to wrestle this season after dislocating his right shoulder in a non-wrestling accident before the season.
“It was pretty severe,” he said. “I almost needed surgery. It really flipped my plans.”
Ivanoff barely missed placing at state last season and was training hard during the offseason.
Hurting his shoulder derailed his goal of winning a state title.
He thought his season was lost — then a 30-day trip to Southeast Asia changed his mind.
“I was diving and rock climbing and my shoulder felt great,” Ivanoff said. “I got back just in time, got enough practices to wrestle, served some detentions and I was eligible. It worked out perfectly.”
Ivanoff forfeited his first match against Soldotna’s Auston Tennis, a defending state champion.
He then reeled off three straight victories in the consolation bracket to earn his third trip to state with a fourth-place finish at 145 pounds.
“I was looking to win enough matches to make it to state,” Ivanoff said, “but at the same time protect my arm for matches that really count.”
Costello said wrestlers don’t have to wrestle a certain number of matches to qualify for regions, so he didn’t think twice about letting Ivanoff wrestle.
“In his case, it is not about the team points he will get us, it is about giving him the opportunity to feel comfortable with his last year,” Costello said.
Ivanoff hopes to still be able to join his older brother Clifton, a four-time state placer, and his sister Chloe, a two-time female Alaska state champion, on Kodiak’s wall of placers in the mat room.
“Many kids get two months to peak out and I’m getting about two weeks,” he said. “I’m going to give it my best and see if I can’t make it on the walls. That is what really drives me.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kodiak 22, South Anchorage 20, Wasilla 20, Lathrop 16, Palmer 16, Colony 15, Service 15, East Anchorage 14, Chugiak 13, North Pole 12, West Valley 13, Ketchikan 10, West Anchorage 9, Eagle River 7, Kenai 7, Dimond 5, Soldotna 4, Thunder Mountain 3, Juneau 2, Bartlett 1.
Kodiak state qualifiers
106 — Andrew Caballa, Leo Cruz. 113 — Levi Fried, Jay-Ar Small. 120 — Francis Llorente, Eddy Burris. 126 — Gabe Burns. 132 — Cameron White. 138 — Justin Goff. 145 — Reuben Ivanoff. 152 — Kevin Lepola, Branden Canete. 160 — Josh Yavorsky, Derrek Deal. 170 — Kerry Powers, Chris Parsons. 182 — Charlie Johnson. 195 — Logan Owens. 220 — Matthew Olsen, Tucker Bigley. 285 — Mua Sega, Leo Sega.