The tournament, which begins today at South Anchorage High School, features 16 of the top 4A wrestling schools in the state.
Coach Pat Costello believes his team, following a 40-37 win over a powerful Palmer squad, is one of the top five teams in the state.
A good showing at the Alaska Duals would validate Costello’s assessment.
“If we wrestle like we can, and we expect to wrestle that way, we are going to be very competitive at every weight but a couple,” Costello said. “If we win the majority of weight classes that we think we are better in, we are going to be just fine.”
The Bears open the tournament at 6 p.m. today against Cook Inlet Conference school Eagle River.
The winner of that match advances to a 7:30 p.m. match against the winner of the Service/West Valley match.
Kodiak placed third in the Alaska Duals last season after not going for several seasons.
“We didn’t go to it for a number of years because so many schools were giving up lots of forfeits,” Costello said. “Now that the teams have all gotten better, it is a fun tournament.
“If you don’t have a full lineup, it is not that much fun. We should have a full lineup, but we don’t have what we expected our varsity to be,” he added.
Dakota Wibbe (160) and Josh Yavorsky (170) are injured but should return sometime this season, while Logan Owens (195) is rehabilitating from a football injury.
Kodiak’s lightweights make the Bears a challenging team to face. Eight of the Bears’ 10 state-ranked wrestlers are below 145 pounds. Andrew Caballa (113) and Levi Fried (120) are both undefeated and ranked No. 1 in their weight class.
“We got to pile up points early, survive and give our heavyweights a chance to win it for us,” Costello said.
In the upper weights, Kerry Powers (182) is ranked third, while Leo Sega (285) is fifth. With the emergence of Nolan Wandersee at 220, Costello is moving returning state qualifier Tucker Bigley to 195 to help the varsity lineup.
Wasilla, Kenai, Lathrop and East Anchorage are on Kodiak’s side of the bracket, while Colony, Chugiak, North Pole, West Anchorage, Soldotna, Bartlett/Dimond and Palmer are on the other side of the bracket.
“It’s going to be tough. It is loaded,” Costello said. “We are in a tough bracket.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kodiak state-ranked wrestlers
98 pounds — 6. Jenny Valdez. 113 — 1. Andrew Caballa; 4. Leo Cruz. 120 — 1. Levi Fried; 4. Jay-Ar Small. 126 — 5. Eddy Burris. 138 — 6. Kevin Gonzalez. 145 — 4. Cameron White.