A few Haines High School wrestlers established themselves as state tournament contenders at a season-opening Petersburg competition last weekend.
“We had a pretty strong showing from the seniors and upperclassmen,” said co-coach Andrew Cardella.
Senior Walker Blair placed second at 152 pounds, tallying a 4-2 record. Classmate Dalton Tuohy (138 pounds) was third in his bracket, posting a 3-2 mark.
Co-coach Dennis Durr said Blair is “at the top” of his weight class among Southeast small schools, and Tuohy “looks like he’s up there, top four, for state. He’s within range.”
The Petersburg event drew competitors from Craig, Hoonah, Mount Edgecumbe, Pelican, Petersburg, Sitka, Skagway, Thorne Bay and Wrangell.
Junior Casey St. Clair steamrolled opponents, pinning two of them on his way to a 3-0 mark. St. Clair – who, like Blair, was in the 152-pound class – competed in a second, “B” bracket, taking first place.
Sophomore Kai Hays went 2-2 at 160 pounds, for third place. Sophomore Zane Durr (145 pounds), a returning state qualifier, placed fourth with a 2-3 record and is “right there, in the mix for state,” coach Durr said.
Freshman Mori Hays was 1-3 in the 138-pound “B” bracket.
Freshmen Charlie Bower (106 pounds) and Ketch Jacobson (113) and sophomore Tyler Murphy (182) also wrestled for the Glacier Bears. They didn’t pick up a win, but Durr said the group showed “big improvement from the first match to the last match.”
Jacobson had an extra challenge, as his weight class was combined with the 120-pounders.
Durr said the meet was “a marathon,” with more than 12 hours of competition on Saturday.
“There was a lot of competition and a lot of guys in the hunt,” he said. “It’s still early to tell what is going on. We’re hoping these guys keep improving.”
Coach Cardella said the team “had some ups and downs, for sure,” with only two weeks of practice leading into the Petersburg trip, but said the Glacier Bears will build on that experience when they head to Hoonah for another event this weekend.