Bears wrestlers hit the mats at home meet

 

October 31, 2019

Kyle Clayton

Junior Wesley Verhamme went 5-2 during the home meet last weekend. He lost by one point to a Juneau wrestler and was pinned in another match. He took first in his division earlier this month at a meet in Wrangell.

Just two weeks into their season, the new Glacier Bears wrestling squad-comprised of two freshmen and a junior-have done "pretty darn well," said coach Ben Bard.

A fourth team member, freshman Gaelen Allen, cut his season short after one meet due to nerve inflammation in his shoulder.

The boys competed in Wrangell on Oct 18-19 and in Haines for their only home meet of the season last weekend. In Wrangell, junior Wesley Verhamme went undefeated in his bracket and took first place; freshman Luke Davis took third in his weight class with 4 wins and 3 losses; freshman Uriel Bravo didn't win a match but wrestled hard and did well, Bard said.

Bravo got his first takedown of the season on Saturday-- "which is always kind of a big deal," Bard said. "I was proud of myself because I lasted longer than I usually do," Bravo said. "In middle school I didn't really understand and I didn't really ask a lot of questions, but now I know that I have to ask questions to really understand things more."


Davis, who practiced with the varsity team as an eighth grader, said high school competitions are more frequent and more challenging. "It was a pretty good start," Davis said. "I did good. I'm hoping to do better."

Verhamme won five and lost two matches over the weekend. He lost by one point to a wrestler from Juneau, and other in a pin.

"I think as a team we're doing really well. We're pushing each other. We all want to be here," he said. "We may be small but we have a good energy in the room."

Allen, who sat out the first meet with a shoulder injury, dominated in his bracket last Friday, but ended up 2-2 the second day of the tournament. On Monday, Allen bowed out for the season. Bard said Allen is a promising wrestler, but he'd "rather him sit out now and heal than be injured and unable to move his arm for his whole life."

Moving forward, Bard said the team will focus on adding speed and power to their moves. "Confidence is what we're going for," he said. "All that being said, it's a young team and for the age of these guys, they're committed to working hard."

The team will head to Ketchikan next weekend. Craig will hold regionals on Dec. 13-14, and State's at Anchorage Dec. 20-21.

Glacier Bears varsity volleyball

The Glacier Bears varsity volleyball team fell to competitors in five of six games in the north seeding tournament in Skagway last weekend, but players considered their performance a win.

The girls competed in best three-of-five match sets against Skagway, Craig, Petersburg, Wrangell, Klawock and Metlakatla. "We beat Skagway in three sets, and had close sets with Petersburg and Metlakatla," coach Katie Dickerson said.

Becca Wheeler, senior, led the team in aces. Senior Megan Whitermore, setter, was "the glue that made the offense run smoothly," Dickerson said.

Whitermore said that, despite the losses, close matches were a sign of growth for the team. "Overall, we accomplished something really great over the weekend," she said. "We had some really close sets that we feel proud about. In the past, we've struggled with keeping up with teams. But this year, we're seeing where the hitters are pointed towards, we're anticipating where our servers are going to come from, how far they're going to be and if they're going to float or not."


Dickerson said she saw marked improvement in her team's defense from their last competition in Juneau two weeks ago. "We saw at that tournament that we were really lacking on our defense," she said. This past weekend, sophomore Kiersten Long anchored defense, and JV players Alison Benda (freshman) and Natalie Jobbins (sophomore) stepped up to fill in for two varsity players that were unable to play.

Long said the girls came together last weekend as a team to fix issues from previous competition. "There's still some things we need to work on, but overall, we did pretty good," she said. "Communication is one of the biggest things that we have trouble with. Volleyball is a very mental sport, and once one of us gets down, the whole team gets down, and we need to overcome that. We're working on it."


On Nov. 8 and 9, the Glacier Bears will head to Klawock to compete in the south seeding tournament. That performance, taken together with last weekend's results, will determine the Glacier Bears' bracket for the Nov. 18 and 19 regional competition in Wrangell.

Junior Varsity players have completed their season, but will continue to practice into November to prepare for next year.

 
 

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