Area wreslters qualify for State Tournament

By Tony Gorman

The Valdez High School wrestling team may have placed second at the Denali/Kachemak Conference Tournament in Seward over the weekend.  But, it definitely showed why it will be a force to reckon with in this weekend’s 1A/2A/3A State Tournament.

The Bucs scored 195.5 points to finish second behind Nikiski in the team standings.  Individually, 11 wrestlers qualified for the State Tournament.  “Eleven wrestlers is amazing,“ Valdez coach Kyle Siddoway said.  “It’s over double than what we took last year.  We really stepped up.  We expect to do well at State.”    

Among the top performers was 170-pounder Justin Allen.  The senior capped off an undefeated regular season by pinning Cordova’s Matt Adams.  He was named the Denali/Kachemak Conference Outstanding Wrestler of the Year.   “He’s got what it takes,” said Siddoway, who was named Denali/Kachemak Conference Coach of the Year.  “He’s got the desire and heart.  We’re expecting great things from him next weekend.”

In other notable performances, Kiefer Groeneveld won a 3-1 decision over Dakoda Neely of Nikiski to grab the 113-lb. title.  Austin Rake pinned Skyview’s Sam Janorschke to win the 132-lb. class.  In the 138-lb. class, Isaac Deaton beat Houston’s Drew Drake for the title with a 13-7 decision.  Michael Ace dropped a 10-4 decision to Nikiski’s Josh Brown to finished second in the 145-lb. class. 

David Towne (120), Caj Rohrer (126), Keefe McIntosh (132), Brian Allen (145), and Brandon Hursh (152) qualified with third place finishes.  Kalen McIntosh (145) finished fourth in his class to qualify for the State Tournament.  “As a team we stepped up and stuck together because we needed everybody’s performance,” Siddoway said.  “Every match counted.”

Chris Mansfield received the Sportsmanship Award.  The 1A-2A-3A State Tournament is this Friday and Saturday at Nikiski High School in Nikiski.

Other qualifiers in the area:

Mason Kimber, Cordova (160)
Luke Rietveld, Glennallen (182)
Solomon Finau, Glennallen (220)

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