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Strong individual efforts highlight Peninsula Duals at Nikiski

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No central Kenai Peninsula wrestling team finished in the top three at the Peninsula Duals at Nikiski on Friday and Saturday, but a handful of local individuals delivered stellar performances.

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While Colony, Dillingham and Kodiak took the podium in that order for the team title, area schools produced six of the 14 athletes who earned Outstanding Wrestler awards.

Kenai Central, Soldotna, Skyview, Nikiski, Homer and Voznesenka were among the 15-team field.

Siblings Hope and Ellery Steffensen of Kenai Central earned the top individual mark in the 106- and 132-pound weight classes, respectively, while SoHi’s Auston Tennis was named the top grappler at 145.

Nikiski, meanwhile, finished with a tournament-best three outstanding wrestlers — Kaden Spurgeon (152), Lincoln Johnson (182) and Henry Eide (heavyweight).

That gave the Bulldogs a fourth-place finish, though they left wondering if they could have done better. The team competed without the injured Josh Brown, who is ranked No. 2 in the state for small schools at 145.

“It’s a little disappointing because we had some injuries and sickness,” Spurgeon said. “But the guys that did wrestle hung in there and we came together as a team.”

Spurgeon, a defending state champion at 145, finished 7-0 for the tournament at 152. And in one of the more interesting matches of the weekend, he beat Tennis, also a state champ at 145, 12-5 in an exhibition match.

Johnson and Eide dominated their respective weight classes, while teammate Corey Green went undefeated at 160.

Bulldogs coach Adam Anders said he was proud of the team’s effort, but thought the team fell shy of its potential.

“We probably had some wrestlers who didn’t reach their expectations of themselves,” Anders said. “We also wrestled some really quality competition today. We’re going to work on being mentally prepared for all our matches.”

Since the event was a dual format, there were no individual champions. Nikiski advanced the furthest of the

Peninsula schools, losing 40-21 in the semifinals to Dillingham. Kodiak then beat Nikiski 38-36 in the dual for third.

Skyview, led by Cody Williams (152) and John Alexander (heavyweight) placed fifth overall. Williams and Alexander were both undefeated, but the Panthers’ title hopes were dashed in a 49-27 loss to Kodiak in the quarterfinals.

Skyview came back to defeat West Anchorage in the contest for fifth. Coach Neldon Gardner said it was a strong performance from top to bottom.

“No regrets. The kids competed hard and it was a good weekend,” Gardner said. “It was a solid team effort.”

Williams and Alexander, both of whom hope to medal at state, said they would have liked to see the Panthers place a little higher.

“We can do a lot better,” said Alexander, ranked third in the state for small schools at heavyweight. “We’re trying to get back that tradition of Skyview wrestling.”

Kenai Central, which had eight eligible athletes and forfeited six weight classes in each dual, received dominant efforts from the Steffensen siblings.

Hope, a defending state champion in the large-schools classification, went 7-0 at 106. She opened the tournament Friday with an overtime win over Brett Reich of Kotzebue, who is the small-schools No. 1 at 106.

Ellery, a freshman, also went 7-0. His most difficult task came Friday, when he pinned Kotzebue’s Scott Hansen, who is ranked No. 2 in the state.

Those performances helped the short-handed Kardinals remain competitive.

“They wrestled really well — very enthusiastic, very impressive,” coach Stan Steffensen said. “It was great that they enjoyed each other and that friendships were solidified and rekindled. The team spirit was marvelous.”

Meanwhile, SoHi finished outside the top eight. Tennis was the shining star, losing only the exhibition match to Spurgeon.

The Stars opened the action Saturday with a 47-24 win over Kotzebue, but dropped to the consolation bracket with a 58-13 loss to champion Colony.

Peninsula Duals at Nikiski

Saturday

Championship

Colony 33, Dillingham 28

152 — Root, Col, p. Savo, Dil, 1:20; 160 — Flensburg, Dil, p. Burton, Col, 2:13; 171 — Root, Col, major dec. Vandeventer, Dil, 14-3; 182 — Meno, Col, p. Alvarado, Dil, 4:56; 195 — MacKenzie, Col, dec. Heath, Dil, 9-8; 220 — Braswell, Dil, p. Knighten, Col, 0:49; 285 — Booth, Col, won by forfeit; 106 — Bracker, Col, dec. Savo, Dil, 11-9; 113 Booth, Col, major dec. Gardiner, Dil, 16-2; 120 — Schlagle, Dil, p. Vandemartin, Col, 5:13; 126 — Miler, Dil, won by injury. Lucas, Col; 132 — Bobbitt, Dil, dec. Adams, Col, 8-1; 138 — Schlagle, Dil, p. Mulkins, Col, 2:37; 145 — Warewick, Col, p. Olson, Dil, 3:30.

Third place

Kodiak 38, Nikiski 36

152 — Spurgeon, Nik, major dec. Lepola, Kod, 20-8; 160 — Green, Nik, dec. Deal, Kod, 7-3; 171 — Berry, Nik, p. Yarorski, Kod, 1:59; 182 — Johnson, Nik, p. Johnson, Kod, 0:53; 195 — Hyatt, Nik, won by forfeit; 220 — Bigley, Nik, won by forfeit; 285 — Eide, Nik, p. Sego, Kod, 1:46; 106 — Caballa, Kod, p. Burdick, Nik, 5:03; 113 — Fried, Kod, major dec. Neely, Nik, 15-1; 120 — Burris, Kod, dec. Zimmerman, Nik, 6-1; 126 — Fields, Kod, p. Moore, Nik, 1:31; 132 — White, Kod, won by forfeit; 138 — Stangel, Nik, p. Bondurant, Kod, 0:52; 145 — Beltran, Kod, p. Sterling, Nik, 1:36.

Fifth place

Skyview 66, West 189

152 — Williams, Sky, p. Fitzgerald, West, 1:16; 160 — Pena, Wes, p. Navarro, Sky, 1:00; 171 — Elliot, Wes, p. Findler, Sky, 1:04; 182 — Rodriguez, Sky, won by forfeit; 195 — Gallagher, Sky, won by forfeit; 220 — Crews, Wes, p. Lawson, Sky, 3:03; 285 — Alexander, Sky, won by forfeit; 106 — Craig, Sky, p. Brionnes, Wes, 4:30; 113 — Hutchison, Sky, p. Tandy, Wes, 3:31; 120 — Valiquett, Sky, p. Treder, Wes, 1:07; 126 — Musgrave, Sky, p. Treder, Wes, 1:25; 132 — Janorschke, Sky, won by injury. Huck, Wes; 138 — Musgrave, Sky, p. Limbo, Wes, 1:16; 145 — Zimmerman, Sky, p. Torres, Wes, 3:09.

Seventh place

Homer 42, Kenai 30

152 — Peterson, Hom, won by forfeit; 160 — McGregor, Hom, won by forfeit; 171 — Wolfe, Hom, won by forfeit; 182 — Wells, Hom, p. Brown, Ken, 1:17; 195 — Resetaritis, Hom, p. Ismael, Ken, 1:19; 220 — double forfeit; 285 — Raymond, Hom, p. Dragseth, Ken, 1:57; 106 — Steffensen, Ken, p. Johnson, Hom, 0:44; 113 — Woo, Hom, p. Everitt, Ken, 1:13; 120 — Jette, Hom, won by forfeit; 126 — Troxe, Ken, won by forfeit; 132 — double forfeit; 138 — Steffensen, Ken, p. Ochoa, Hom, 3:16; 145 — Ochoa, Hom, p. Carter, Ken, 2:28.

First round — Nikiski 53, Kenai 20; Homer 52, Unalaska 24; West 64, Voznesenka 6; Dillingham 73, Colony (3) 12; Kodiak 66, Nikiski (2) 4; Skyview 72, Colony (2) 6; Soldotna 47, Kotzebue 29; Colony (bye).

Quarterifnals — Nikiski 49, Homer 28; Dillingham 54, West 24; Kodiak 49, Skyview 27; Colony 58, Soldotna 13.

Semifinals — Dillingham 42, Nikiski 21; Colony 34, Kodiak 32.

Outstanding wrestlers

106 — H. Steffensen, Ken; 113 — Booth, Col; 120 — Burris, Kod; 126 — Miller, Dil; 132 — E. Steffensen, Ken; 138 — Schlagle, Dil; 145 — Tennis, Sol; 152 — Spurgeon, Nik; 160 — Perez, Wes; 171 — Root, Col; 182 — Johnson, Nik; 195 — MacKenzie, Col; 220 — Crews, Wes; heavyweight, Eide, Nik.

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