Fasulo, Wells lead M's to fourth at Lancer Smith
WASILLA - Luciano Fasulo and Kyle Wells both recorded memorable victories on Saturday en route to helping guided the Homer Mariners to fourth-place in the Lancer Smith Memorial Wrestling Tournament standings. The three-day tournament featured more than 40 teams and 840 wrestlers from across the state.
With its finish, Homer was the highest-finishing Class 3A program in the field. The Mariners, who had just nine wrestlers compete in the varsity division, rolled up 160.5 points. Colony, the top-rated Class 4A program, earned the team crown, edging out Lathrop and South Anchorage.
Fasulo and Wells made sure the Mariners weren't overlooked on the medal stand.
A junior, Fasulo ran his season record to 34-0 with a dominating performance in the 132-pound weight classification. He went 5-0 in the meet, including a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Wasilla's Christion Alexander in the championship match.
After trailing 2-1 at the start of the third period, Alexander snagged the lead. He managed to throw Fasulo onto his back for a takedown and score two points for a near-fall. Fasulo rallied back late in the final frame, scoring a point on an escape and sending the match into OT. In the extra frame, Fasulo returned the near-fall favor. After both wrestlers had nearly scored takedowns, Fasulo put the finishing touches on his weekend by sneaking in with a low, wrapping Alexander's legs and lifting him into the air before slamming him to the mat for a takedown.
Prior to facing Alexander, Fasulo had breezed through the early rounds of the tournament, winning his first three bouts by falls. He then bested Lathrop's Kobe Ames by a 7-4 mark in the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals against Alexander — a wrestler he had beaten less than two weeks earlier in the finals at the Monster Bash Tournament.
Like Fasulo, Wells dominated his division, going 4-0 en route to claiming the 220-pound title.
Now 28-1 for the season, Wells finished off his weekend with a commanding performance against Service's Kaden Caldarera in the championship match. The HHS senior dispatched Caldarera - the state's top-rated Division I wrestler - by an 11-7 margin.
"(He) continues to wrestle well and is one of the top two wrestlers in the state," said HHS assistant coach Chris Perk.
The son of Homer wrestling coach Bubba Wells, Kyle easily worked his way into the finals with a solid showing in the opening rounds. After pinning Unalaska's Johnny Khongsuk at the 3:15 mark of his opening match, he reeled off back-to-back wins over East's Jacquez Mason and Jason Edwards of Lathrop to reach the championship match.
Levi King almost handed the Mariners their third first-place finish of the meet. The senior finished second in the 195-pound standings with a 3-1 record.
Now 25-2 overall and the top-rated wrestler in Division II, King kicked off his outing with an impressive win over Colony's Simon Ganchenko, who had entered the season with 20 wins. King outwrestled Ganchenko by a 6-3 margin in their opener.
He claimed easy wins over Palmer's Christian Purka and Barrow's Sione Tuifua in the next two rounds, and earned a spot in the finals against North Pole's Bradley Antesberger. His win over Tuifua was the second time in as many weeks he had beaten the former top-rated Division II grappler.
Antesberger, a state champion a year ago, ended King's bid for a gold with a win in the finals.
Tristen Cook added to the Mariners' medal count, as well. He rallied back from a semifinal loss to Colony's Caleb Hopkins to finish third in the 182-pound division. Now 25-5 overall, he finished off his outing weekend with a 4-2 victory over Dimond's Auston Vreeland in the championship match.
Cook finished the tournament with a 4-1 record.
Chris Cudaback, Mose Hayes and Wayne Newman also turned in strong performances for the Mariners. Cudaback, now 20-7 for the season, went 4-2 and finished fourth in the 170-pound classification. Hayes wrestled his way to a 5-2 record in the 138-pound class and finished fifth. Newman posted a 3-3 mark and took sixth in the 126-pound ranks.
With their outings, Hayes improved to 28-8 for the season, and Newman heads into the Thanksgiving break at 25-7.
Although neither managed to place, Seth Inama and Joshua Bradshaw also turned in sensational performances for Homer. Inama improved to 24-9 for the year by wrestling his way to a 4-2 mark in the 120-pound class. Bradshaw went 4-2 in the 145-pound division.
The Mariners had two wrestlers do well in the tournament's junior varsity division. Junior Alex Miller wrestled his way to a sixth-place finish in the 195-pound ranks. David Weisser went 2-2 in the 152-pound division.
Homer will make its final home dual appearance of the 2017 season on Nov. 30 when they face off with top-ranked Colony, beginning at 3 p.m. The outing will serve as Senior Night for the HHS athletes.