Haines wrestlers notch dozens of pins
Haines High School wrestlers scored dozens of pins at their home tournament last weekend, the team’s final competition before the regional championship Dec. 5-6.
Glacier Bear senior Casey St. Clair notched the final pin of the competition, ending his match in the first period Saturday night.
“It was really nice getting a pin in front of everyone I knew at school and in Haines,” St. Clair said.
Eight Haines wrestlers competed in the two-day event that included about 160 matches, often with two mats in play. The evening sessions featured “spotlight” matches on a single mat at the center of Karl Ward Gymnasium.
Heavy fog depleted the tournament field, as Craig, Ketchikan, Mount Edgecumbe, Petersburg, Sitka and Wrangell squads didn’t make the trip. Haines battled schools including Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau-Douglas, Skagway, Thunder Mountain and Yakutat. Team scores and individual wrestler rankings were not kept, coach Dennis Durr said.
Freshman Cameron Merklin-Bauer, sophomore Charlie Bower and junior Zane Durr tallied five pins apiece, while sophomores Ketch Jacobson and Mori Hays and junior Kai Hays had four each. Bower, Durr, Merklin-Bauer, Mori Hays and Kai Hays earned 5-2 records. Jacobson and freshman Carl Tupou were 4-3.
Durr’s two losses were in overtime to the same opponent at 145 pounds. Kai Hays suffered another tough loss after a controversial stalling call with one second remaining sent his match into overtime.
Several Haines grapplers faced heavier opponents, due to combined weight classes, and didn’t shy away from large-school opponents.
“Guys are hanging in there with the big schools,” coach Durr said. “We’ve proven that we can hang with those teams.”
He said the freshman Tupou (182 pounds) won a “high-scoring, exciting match” on Saturday night, when “the crowd was real fired up.”
“Being a freshman, we want to test him,” Durr said.
The Saturday night, “spotlight” dual meet showcased Glacier Bear wrestlers. The concluding match was reserved for the senior St. Clair, who had moved up to the 182-pound class from 170.
“He got to go last,” Durr said. “We saved it for the drama. We put him on the spot there, and he got a pin.”
St. Clair, a four-year member of the team, said he used a half nelson to earn the fall. Although St. Clair said he was disappointed that some teams couldn’t attend due to poor weather, he was “really proud of the people who ran the meet.”
Coach Durr credited much of the tournament’s success to “the most involved parents of about any team I’ve ever seen.”
After eight matches, including a few with opponents who outweighed him by more than 10 pounds, St. Clair said he “slept all day on Sunday.”
“It’s definitely a challenge lifting up guys who are a lot heavier,” he said.
The Glacier Bears will break for the Thanksgiving holiday before heading into the Region V tournament the first weekend of December in Wrangell.