Kodiak wrestlers Jay-Ar Small and Levi Fried stood atop the podium at the conclusion of the Northern Lights Conference Championships Saturday in Soldotna.
Small, a senior, won his first conference title by outlasting Colony’s Caleb Hopkins, 6-1, in the 126-pound championship match.
“It was a closer match than that,” Kodiak coach Pat Costello said. “He did a good job in staying in the match and never lossing focus.”
It capped a tournament where Small took out Wasilla’s Isaiah Elvsaas, 5-1, and Colony’s Chase Booth, 8-7. Booth and Hopkins are ranked second and third in the state, respectively.
Fried claimed his second NLC title — first since 2012 — by edging Soldotna’s Ryan Winter, 7-6, in the 132-pound final. The senior pinned Colony’s Frank Urbano and defeated Wasilla’s Hayden Steiner, 13-2, en route to the title.
“He is wrestling a lot better with a lot more confidence,” Costello said.
The Bears’ Jacob Alwert and Nolan Wandersee both lost in their title bouts.
Alwert fell to Soldotna’s Austin Craig, 13-1, in the 113-pound final, while Palmer’s Ben Button dropped Wandersee, 5-1, in the 220-pound match. Both Wandersee and Alwert finished 2-1 in the two-day tournament.
“He (Alwert) had the tournament of his life,” Costello said. “He wrestled well last week at home and kept it up this weekend.”
Along with those four wrestlers, Bryan Gonzales (98), Walter Brewer (113), Joel Valdez, Russell Dela Cruz (120), Shaun Walton (126) Hayden Foster (152), Jacob Ouellette (182) and Scott Larionoff (132) all qualified for state by placing in the top 6 of their respective weight classes. The state tournament begins Friday in Chugiak.
Valdez, last year’s 113-pound state champion, dislocated his elbow in a Friday semifinal match and forfeited his final two matches. Costello said he is uncertain if Valdez will wrestle at state.
Kodiak finished fourth with 155 points. Colony claimed the title with 387 points.
“The kids wrestled well and they are very excited they are going to state,” Costello said.
1. Colony, 387; 2. Wasilla, 371.5; 3. Soldotna, 196.5; 4. Kodiak, 155; 5. Palmer, 142.5; 6. Kenai, 140.5.
113 — Austin Craig, Sol, m.d. Jacob Alwert, Kod, 13-1. 126 — Jay Ar-Small, Kod, dec. Caleb Hopkins, Col, 6-1. 132 — Levi Fried, Kod, dec. Ryan Winter, Sol, 7-6. 220 — Ben Button, Pal, dec. Nolan Wandersee, Kod, 5-1.
Gabe Whishman, Col, p. Bryan Gonzalez, Kod, 2:18. 120 — Christion Alexander, Was, dec. Russell Dela Cruz, Kod, 4-3. 152 — Hayden Foster, Kod, dec. Eli Daman, Sol, 5-1. 182 — Chayse Eby, Col, p. Jacob Ouellette, Kod, 4:59.
113 — Matthew Lacy, Col, p. Walter Brewer, Kod, 0:45. 120 — Anthony Miley, Col, inj. def. Joel Valdez, Kod. 126 — Logan Albrecht, Was, dec. Shaun Walton, Kod, 8-6. 132 — Scott Larionoff, Kod, p. Jason Watkins, Pal, 2:31.
Other Kodiak wrestlers
106 — Yuri Ahn, 0-2; Leonor Cortez, 0-2. 138 — Gabriel Nummer, 1-2. 152 — Riley Lechner, 0-2. 285 — Jonathan Bates, 1-2.