By CRAIG GIAMMONA
Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
Mt. Edgecumbe’s Jaylin Prince won the 285-pound championship at the annual Anchorage Christian School wrestling tournament Oct. 29
Prince was up 7-0 on Nikisi’s Henry Eide when he scored a pin in the second round. A senior from Kotlik, Prince is a two-time state champion at 285 and has his eyes on a three-peat. In state history, 26 wrestlers have won three state titles, though only one, Ketchikan’s Jon Hamilton, was from Southeast.
Two other Mt. Edgecumbe wrestlers made the final at ACS, and a total of five placed at an event that featured 375 small-school grapplers from around Alaska and is considered a preview of the state tournament.
Mt. Edgecumbe scored 117 points to take seventh as a team and Sitka tallied 101 points for eighth. Craig, another Southeast team, ended up ninth with 92.5 points. The team title went to Nikiski. The Bulldogs, coming off a small-school football state title, had three individual champions and scored 207 points. Dillingham (167.5), Valdez (157), Bethel (149), Kotzebue (122.5) and Skyview (120) rounded out the top six. MEHS coach Mike Kimber had two reactions to the team scores. First, he said the region battle could be closer than some think. The Braves, with a handful of top wrestlers and solid depth throughout the lineup, appear to be the favorites for the Region V title at this point. But Kimber said both Sitka High and Craig are tough teams that could push MEHS. Secondly, Kimber noted that the Braves were 50.5 points out of second place and did that with seven point scorers. Nikiski won by a solid margin, but Kimber said the Braves can compete with the top small-school teams in Alaska.
“I think we can close that gap,” Kimber said. “It will be interesting.
Besides Prince, Mt. Edgecumbe had two other wrestlers in the finals Saturday. Shyler Johnson (Unalakleet) lost in the 182-pound final to Nikiski’s Lincoln Johnson on a second-period pin in re-match of a 2010 state semifinal bout.
Paul Johanson (Hoonah) made the 220-pound final for MEHS Saturday and fell 6-4 to Houstin’s Luke Wagner.
“There’s some things we can fix,” Kimber said of Johanson, a freshman from Hoonah. “That kid is beatable. Paul by no means wrestled up to his potential.”
The loss was Johnason's first to wrestler other than Prince this season. Edgecumbe had two other placers: Carl Crockett was fifth at 170 and Gusty Akelkok was fifth at 195. Melissa Fisher (113), Deirdre Creed (106) and Trevor Creed (106) also wrestled for the Braves.