Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Verhamme takes second in Juneau


December 12, 2019

Glacier Bears junior Wes Verhamme and number one ranked wrestler for small schools took second at a wrestling tournament in Juneau last weekend, losing only to Juneau-Douglas High School’s Camden Erickson, the top ranked wrestler in the state for large schools.

Verhamme defeated Sitka’s Maximus Johnson during the first match of the tournament, his main competition in the small school’s division. “He’s wrestled (Johnson) a lot this year,” coach Ben Bard said. “It’s his main competition at 215 pounds. Wes has beat him every time this year by a decent margin.”

Verhamme, who lost at home to Thunder Mountain’s Jake Ferster, defeated him during his second match of the tournament. Verhamme, started on the bottom, but escaped Ferster’s hold using a Gatsby Roll.

“It’s kind of like a forehead cartwheel. It’s a real flashy move. It gets the crowd on their feet,” Verhamme said. “I ended up pinning him in the second round. It felt really good. It was one of my better matches of the year by far.”

His wins put him in the final match against Erickson, putting the top ranked and undefeated wrestler on his back for the first time this season. “Wes came out and he really took it to him and had Erickson on his back in the first period,” Bard said.

Verhamme was on the verge of pinning Erickson until the ref called an illegal move. Verhamme was winning 5-0, but Erickson took back the initiative and pinned Verhamme.

“He got up and I was still going into him hard,” Verhamme said. “I just messed up and he got me in a chin whip and I was done. I went straight to my back. It was the best I fought against him. I feel like if I have one more match with him, I can take him.”

That won’t happen in an official capacity until next season. This weekend Verhamme will compete in the regional tournament in Craig for a spot in the state championship.


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