Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
Mt. Edgecumbe's Jaylin Prince won the 10th state individual wrestling title in school history Saturday and became just the sixth 3A wrestler to win three state titles.
Prince, a senior from Kotlik, pinned Bethel’s Timothy Robb early in the third period of the champion match of the 285-pound bracket. Prince finished the season 27-0 and is approximately 77-1 since bumping up to heavyweight late in the 2009 season. Prince will leave MEHS as the most accomplished wrestler, and one of the most of the accomplished athletes, in the history of the state-run boarding school. Not bad for a kid who “didn’t know what wrestling really was” when he showed up on Japonski Island. Last season, when Prince left the mat at the state tournament after winning his second straight title, he told coach Mike Kimber he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted a third trophy and he secured it Saturday.
“That’s what I was looking for,” Prince said. “I felt really happy. I felt satisfied with my career.”
The Bethel Warriors won the team title Saturday, racking up 188 points for their second straight 3A crown. Dillingham (151.5), Nikiski (150.5), Valdez (143) and Kotzebue (123) rounded out the top five. Mt. Edgecumbe was sixth with 116 points, while Sitka took seventh with 77. Kimber was a bit disappointed that the Braves didn’t crack the top five, but acknowledged the Braves had an outstanding season.
Shyler Johnson (182) and Paul Johanson (220) both lost in the finals Saturday. Johnson, a junior, was pinned by Nikiski’s Lincoln Johnson in the second period, while Johanson lost 4-2 in overtime to Houston’s Luke Wagner. Kimber said Johanson, a freshman, was hurt by a controversial stalling call. Michael Matthew, a senior, ended up third for Edgecumbe at 170 pounds. He lost in the semifinals to the eventual champion and came back through the consolation bracket to win the bronze with a major decision over Houston’s Jake Davis.
For Prince, and MEHS coach Kimber, Saturday’s win was the culmination of a three-year journey that began late in the 2009 season. Kimber was trying to win a Region V team title and decided to bump Prince, then a sophomore, from 215 to 285 pounds. The plan worked. Prince and the Braves both won region titles and the newly minted heavyweight took the state crown. In the last two years, Prince was 67-1. Throw in another 10 or so wins at the end of 2009, and Prince was basically unbeatable for the better part of three seasons. He became just the second Southeast wrestler to win three state titles, joining fellow heavyweight Jon Hamilton of Ketchikan on that exclusive list. Prince may have surprised himself a bit in 2009, but said he set the bar high after winning that first state title.
“After the first time I didn’t really think it was surprising,” Prince said. “I set a high standard.”
He came to Edgecumbe as a raw athlete who had never wrestled before and developed into a fearsome grappler largely because of his hard work and desire to master the sport, Kimber said. “He’s the most intelligent wrestler I’ve coached, in terms of learning about the sport,” he said, adding: “He did what he set out to do. He focused really hard.”
1) Bethel 188, 2) Dillingham 151.5, 3) Nikiski 150.5, 4) Valdez 143, 5) Kotzebue 123, 6) Mt. Edgecumbe 116, 7) Sitka 77.5, 8) Skyview 74, 9) Nome 73, 10) Houston 66.5, 11) Craig 61, 12) Seward 55.5, 13) Cordova 42, 14) Homer 42, 15) Wrangell 41, 16) Anchorage Christian 38.5, 17) Unalaska 31, 18) Hutchison 29, 19) Newhalen 29, 20) Eielson 28.5, 21) New Stuyahok 28, 22) tie, Glennallen and Grace Christian 26, 24) Thorne Bay 19.5, 25) Metlakatla 19, 26) Aniak 16, 27) tie, Barrow and Yakutat 14, 29) tie, Galena and King Cove 12, 31) Pelican 11, 32) Haines 8, 33) tie, Petersburg, Stebbins and Unalakleet 6, 36) tie, Chevak, Kake and Napaskiak 4; 39) Gambell 3, 40) Hoonah 2.
106 -- Darin Davis (Sitka) d. Brettlyn Reich (Kotzebue), 6-5. 113 -- Tanner Thain (Craig) d. Kiefer Groeneveld (Valdez), 3-2. 120 -- Emery Booshu (Nome) d. Gabe Cabrera (Nome), 6-5. 126 -- Jared Miller (Dillingham) d. Dion Williams (Nome), 8-3. 132 -- Will Patrick (Sitka) d. Scott Hansen (Kotzebue), 4-3. 138 -- Isaac Deaton (Valdez), d. Cade Schlagel (Dillingham), 4-1. 145 -- Marjus Kuqo (Bethel) d. Tyler Anelon (Newhalen), 5-3. 152 -- Kaden Spurgeon (Nikiski) d. Brayton Lieb (Bethel), 7-3. 160 -- Trevour Chavez (Bethel) d. Corey Green (Nikiski), 8-2. 170 -- Justin Allen (Valdez) d. Matt Adams (Cordova), 9-4. 182 -- Lincoln Johnson (Nikiski) p. Shyler Johnson (Mt. Edgecumbe), 2:35). 195 -- Travis Tungiung (New Stuyahok) d. Tom Hoseth (Dillingham), 11-8). 220 -- Luke Wagner (Houston) d. Paul Johanson (Mt. Edgecumbe), 4-2 OT. 285 -- Jaylin Prince (Mt. Edgecumbe) p. Timothy Robb (Bethel), 4:53.