Mariners cruise to Kachemak Conference wrestling title
SEWARD - The Homer Mariners' winning wrestling streak lives on. Their conference wrestling title streak, that is.
Homer had almost a dozen wrestlers finish in the top three of their respective weight classifications this past weekend and easily cruised to their third conference wrestling title in as many years. The Mariners rolled up 304. 5 points in front of a large crowd in the Seward High School gymnasium and easily beat out Houston for the top spot. Houston finished a distant second in the final standings with 179.5. Grace Christian placed third at 159.5.
In addition to extending its dominance over the conference, Homer had 11 wrestlers qualify for the upcoming state wrestling tournament, which will be held on Dec. 15-16 at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
Luciano Fasulo headlined Homer's run to the Kachemak Conference crown with an impressive outing. He extended his current winning streak to 93 consecutive matches by wrestling his way to a 3-0 record and en route to earning the Most Outstanding Wrestler award. The third HHS wrestler to earn the award in as many years, Fasulo was without equal in the 132-pound ranks.
A junior, he pinned all three of his opponents in the tournament, including two within the first 2 minutes of action. After drawing a bye in the first round, Fasulo turned plenty of heads by pinning his first opponent, teammate Ian Stovall, at the 1:38 mark of the first period. He followed that up with an even faster pin in the semifinals, defeating Nikiski's Mason Payne at the 37-second mark.
In the finals, Fasulo improved to 43-0 for the season with a win over Redington's Eli Benson.
Stovall didn't do too badly, either. Following his loss to Fasulo, the Mariner standout reeled off four straight wins en route to earning a berth in the third-place contest. In that match, he punched his ticket to the state tournament with a thrilling 5-4 victory over Payne.
The top three finishers in each weight classification earned berths in the DI/DII State Wrestling Championships.
Fasulo's win was one of seven first-place finishers posted by the Mariners.
Seth Inama and Wayne Newman both collected gold with 3-0 efforts in their divisions. Inama, who outscored his three foes by a 54-8 margin, defeated Redington's Jonathan Kirby in the finals of the 120-pound division.
Prior to downing Kirby, he had rolled to easy wins of 20-4 over Grace Christian's Jackson Reger and 18-3 over Jordan Fleming of Nikiski.
Newman, who heads into the state tournament with a 35-7 record, had an equally easy time winning the 126-pound title. After pinning his first-round opponent, he wrestled his way to a decisive 15-0 win over Grace Christian's Dylan Harris before finishing off the outing with a pin of Colton Dow in the finals.
Bruce Graham, who was honored with the tournament's sportsmanship award, and Dakota Moonin also wrestled in the 126-pound classification.
Mose Hayes, Chris Cudaback, Levi King and Kyle Wells added to Homer's gold-medal count. Hayes improved to 40-8 for the season en route to winning the 138-pound championship. After opening with wins of 18-1 over Redington's Colton Jones and 10-2 over Houston's Damien Jessup, Hayes notched one of his bigger wins of the season in the championship round. He avenged an earlier loss to rival Dia Martishev with a 6-2 decision in the finals.
Cudaback, a third-place finisher in the 152-pound ranks at last year's state tournament, won the Kachemak Conference's 170-pound title. Now 26-4 overall, he wrestled his way to a tough 4-3 victory in the finals of the weight class.
King capped a 4-0 run over the weekend by edging out Voznesenka's Nikit Anufriev in the finals of the 195-pound division. A third-place finisher in the 182-pound class a year ago, King pinned all four of his opponents in the tournament and improved to 34-2 for the season.
Wells took the 220-pound title with a victory over Redington's Kyler Rumfelt.
Tristen Cook, Joshua Bradshaw and Richard Brock added their names to the state-qualifier list with solid outings. The state's 170-pound champion a year ago, Cook took second in the 182-pound bracket. His only loss in the tournament came to Grace Christian's Evan Brockman, who improved to 31-0 with a tough 9-2 win in the championship match.
Hunter Harrington also notched a win for the Mariners in the 182-pound division.
Bradshaw posted a 5-1 mark in the tournament and finished third overall in the 145-pound ranks. He nailed down the conference's third-place berth to state with a 3-2 win over Voznesenka's David Anufriev.
Brock finished third in the 285-pound classification. He defeated Nikiski's Ethan Hank in the third-place matchup and finished the tournament at 2-1.
Alex Mills and David Weisser also wrestled in the tournament for HHS.