Led by a sixth-place finish by squad leader Jimmy Thomsen, the Haines wrestling team finished about middle of the pack of 50 mostly larger squads participating in a statewide competition last weekend at Anchorage Christian School.
Thomsen’s finish was the best by a Haines wrestler ever in the giant-sized tournament, but also a learning experience, said coach Dennis Durr.
Thomsen was seeded second of 48 competitors in the 152-pound division when the tournament started and he won three straight matches before a Kotzebue wrestler beat him with a surprise move worth five points with just 10 seconds left in the semi-final match.
Thomsen had dominated the match and could have won by wrestling more defensively, Durr said. "Sometimes you have to hold back a little bit. Jimmy was thoroughly beating the kid. It’s a lesson learned."
In the next match against an opponent he’d already beaten, a bad call by a referee set back Thomsen, who lost and also injured his knee, Durr said.
Senior Blake Ward also finished in the tournament’s top 10 wrestlers in the 160-pound division with a 4-2 record.
Junior Caullen Taylor wrestled to a 2-2 record in the 138-pound division, a strong showing considering there were more than 50 competitors, coach Durr said. Junior rookie Zach Rossman scored two pins among 126-pounders. "That’s a big improvement for a guy who’s only a month into it. It’s impressive."
Senior Kenny Thomsen also wrestled in the 138-pound division finishing 1-2.
Durr said the competition was a good one for letting his best wrestlers know where they stand against statewide competition at mid-season.
The team travels to Craig for a tournament this weekend.