By Craig Giammona
Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
The Mt. Edgecumbe wrestling team took second at the Region V 3A tournament Dec. 3-4 in Craig, scoring 163.5 points behind individual champions Jesse Rogers, Matt Rogers and Jaylin Price.
Mt. Edgecumbe put four wrestlers in the Southeast finals, with Daniel Villansenor losing to Sitka High's Chris Clement in the 119-pound championship match.
Jesse Rogers beat Sitka's Will Patrick 4-3 in the 125-pound final as the senior from Dillingham continued his state title defense. Rogers is likely to be the top seed at the state tournament. A three-time state placer, he won the state crown at 119 pounds in 2009.
Matt Rogers was not pushed as he won the title at 152 pounds Saturday on Prince of Wales Island. Rogers too will be a top seed at state, with the 3A tournament scheduled Dec. 10-11 in Nikiski.
Prince won his heavyweight championship match 3-0 over Petersburg's Tony Craig. Prince, a junior from Kotlik, won the 285-pound state title in 2009 for the Braves. Sitka High won the 2010 Region V title as a team, racking up 224.5 points. The Craig Panthers were third with 160 points Kimber said Prince's win in the finals sealed the silver for the Braves.
"He knew he had to win," Kimber said. "He's a smart wrestler."
Kimber also gave credit for the team's second-place finish to unsung wrestlers like Trevor and Deirdre Creed, Shawn Andrews, Aaliq Rowland, Nikki Andrew and Teddy Payenna.
"That's really what made us finish second," Kimber said.
In total, eight Braves qualified for the state tournament by finishing in the top four of their weight classes. In addition to the four finalists, Carl Crockett (4th, 160), Jared Menadelook (3rd, 140), David Olin (4th, 125) and Adam Iyanpana (3rd, 215) will travel north with Kimber.Kimber said he was disappointed to only qualify eight wrestlers for state. The season began with Kimber hoping to score a repeat of his 2009 Region V title, but the Braves were hurt by injuries and attrition. Still, Kimber said the MEHS team that will compete at the state tournament has a chance to finish among the top 10 3A teams in the state.