By Craig Giammona
Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
The Mt. Edgecumbe Braves showed off their depth in Juneau Nov. 20, edging Ketchikan for the team title at a regional wrestling tournament at Thunder Mountain High School.
Matt Rogers (152), Jesse Rogers (125), Zach Ivanoff (145) and Jaylin Prince (215) won for the Braves, who tallied 169.5 points. MEHS had 17 wrestlers place in the top four, coach Mike Kimber said.
The Kayhi Kings scored 168.5 points for second place, while Thunder Mountain (114), Wrangell (104.5) and Juneau-Doulgas (72.5) rounded out the top five.
Outside of the Region V tournament, Kimber tries to travel to a tournament in the region by ferry once each year, which allows him to take a large contingent of MEHS wrestlers. Edgecumbe had 41 wrestlers in Juneau. Kimber said today he’ll have close to 50 grapplers at the Southeast tournament, set for Dec. 3-4 in Craig.
At 152 pounds Saturday, Edgecumbe took the top four places. Rogers continued his strong season with a win, beating Michael Matthew in the finals. Luki Akelkok beat teammate Isaiah Mike in the third-place match.
Other Mt. Edgecumbe placers: Adam Iyapana (4th, 215), George Brown (2nd, 130), Daniel Villasenor (2nd, 119). Carl Crockett (4th, 160), Nelson Kanuk (3rd at 119), Kory Joe (4th, 119), David Olin (3rd, 125), Shawn Andrews (4th, 140), Gusty Akelkok (3rd, 171), Dominique Hall (fourth, 171).
Kimber said it was the first time in his tenure that the Braves have won a tournaments besides the Region V championships.
“It’s not too often we get to show all of our cards before the end of the season,” he said.
Kimber credited assistant coach Joe Serio with developing some of Edgecumbe’s younger wrestlers, who he said are “getting strong.”
Earlier this year, Kimber split his squad into two groups. He and assistant coach Jason Christener worked with the more experienced wrestlers, while Serio taught the basics to the younger members of the team. Kimber said today that Serio’s group has come along to the point that the team now practices as one large group.“It bodes well for the future,” Kimber said.