Bethel dominates wrestling regionals; Dozens of athletes earn trip to state

In a long day of wrestling that went almost till midnight last Friday, dozens of Western Alaska wrestlers earned a chance to go to the state tournament in Anchorage.

The Bethel Warriors were again dominant at regionals, collecting a total of 335 team points. The Dillingham Wolverines placed second with 278 team points, followed by New Stuyahok, Unalaska, and the Kuskokwim Learning Academy rounding out the top five teams.

Blunka Blunka Jr., of New Stuyahok, topped the tough 106 weight class and emerged as the tournament's outstanding wrestler in the boy's bracket. Pictured here against Avery Hoffman from Bethel. CREDIT KEVIN TENNYSON, shared via KDLG.org.
Blunka Blunka Jr., of New Stuyahok, topped the tough 106 weight class and emerged as the tournament’s outstanding wrestler in the boy’s bracket. Pictured here against Avery Hoffman from Bethel.
CREDIT KEVIN TENNYSON, shared via KDLG.org.

That the day went longer than expected likely had to do with the number of wrestlers participating in the girl’s bracket, which Dillingham coach Willie Savo said grows each year.

“I think there were about 40 girls matches, and when we were planning the tournament, we didn’t factor in all that extra wrestling,” he said. “So it kind of made for a long day of wrestling for everybody.”

The tournament’s outstanding boy and girl wrestlers were Blunka Blunka Jr. of New Stuyahok, who wrestles at 106, and Bethel’s Haley O’Brien, who wrestles at 154.

Dillingham's Cate Gomez with an upper hand on Johanna Bell from Scammon Bay. Gomez placed second at regionals, but found out Sunday night she'll get to go to state next weekend too. CREDIT KEVIN TENNYSON. Shared via KDLG.org.
Dillingham’s Cate Gomez with an upper hand on Johanna Bell from Scammon Bay. Gomez placed second at regionals, but found out Sunday night she’ll get to go to state next weekend too.
CREDIT KEVIN TENNYSON. Shared via KDLG.org.

The Great Alaska Conference fields probably five of the top six wrestlers in the 106 weight class in the state, according to several coaches. Asked by KDLG Monday morning about his goals for the state tournament, Blunka Jr. said simply, “I want to take it.” Should he come up short of a first place finish this year, the sophomore said, “then I’ll work harder next season.”

Dillingham qualified 16 boys and 1 girl for the state tournament.

Motivation. CREDIT KEVIN TENNYSON. Shared via KDLG.org.
Motivation.
CREDIT KEVIN TENNYSON. Shared via KDLG.org.

The Wolverines also had 3 region champs who each went undefeated through the tournament. KDLG News asked Coach Savo for his thoughts on each, beginning with senior Gabe Gomez who wrestles at 145.

“He wrestled one of the best tournaments I’ve seen him wrestle throughout high school,” said Savo. “I think he’s finally wrestling at his potential, and hopefully he carries some of that momentum into next weekend.”

Senior Ben Dunaway went undefeated at 152, beating Justin Wiard of Aniak by decision in the final match.

“You know Ben’s tough. I like the way he wrestles: never backing up, always moving forward. I like his chances of getting on the podium next weekend.”

Junior Braden Timurphy took regions at 195. Coach Savo said Timurphy was a little out of shape following an injury that took six weeks to heal, which became obvious by the final match against Bethel’s Ryan Smith.

“He was a little rusty, and he didn’t have much of a gas tank. He kind of gassed in that match, and he ended up winning it, which was a good sign. He gutted it out, and that showed a lot of heart to win that match, but he’s going to have to get a little more air in his lungs to wrestle this weekend.”

The 1-2-3A state tournament at Bartlett High in Anchorage gets underway Friday morning and will continue through Saturday. Bethel, Kotzebue, and Homer are emerging as teams favored to take first place.

Results, as compiled by www.trackwrestling.com:

Girls Varsity – 106 Girls
1st Place – Temyka Ayuluk of Chefornak
2nd Place – Cate Gomez of Dillingham
3rd Place – Johanna Bell of Scammon Bay High School
4th Place – Esther Rivers of Scammon Bay High School
5th Place – Christine Strongheart of Alakanuk
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Temyka Ayuluk (Chefornak) won by decision over Cate Gomez (Dillingham) (Dec 7-1)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Johanna Bell (Scammon Bay High School) won by fall over Esther Rivers (Scammon Bay High School) (Fall 0:50)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Christine Strongheart (Alakanuk) received a bye () (Bye)

Girls Varsity – 113 Girls
1st Place – Roberta Christopher of New Stuyahok
2nd Place – Joanie Hunter-Moore of Emmonak
3rd Place – Thmosina Tall of Chevak
4th Place – Wynne Kaganak of Scammon Bay High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Roberta Christopher (New Stuyahok) won by fall over Joanie Hunter-Moore (Emmonak) (Fall 2:59)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Thmosina Tall (Chevak) won by fall over Wynne Kaganak (Scammon Bay High School) (Fall 1:31)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Girls Varsity – 120 Girls
1st Place – Casandra David of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Amber Wade of Bethel High School
3rd Place – Cheryl Nick of Pilot Station
4th Place – Kenni Ulak of Scammon Bay High School
5th Place – Chenelle Adams of Sheldon Point
6th Place – Myka Kernak of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Casandra David (Bethel High School) won in sudden victory – 1 over Amber Wade (Bethel High School) (SV-1 7-5)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Cheryl Nick (Pilot Station) won by decision over Kenni Ulak (Scammon Bay High School) (Dec 10-7)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Chenelle Adams (Sheldon Point) won by forfeit over Myka Kernak (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) (FF)

Girls Varsity – 132 Girls
1st Place – Kelly O`Brien of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Rachel Smith of Bristol Bay
3rd Place – Shondell Merculief of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
4th Place – Mary Yetcumeneff of King Cove
5th Place – Henrietta Nicholai of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
6th Place – Justina Wilson of Scammon Bay High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Kelly O`Brien (Bethel High School) won by fall over Rachel Smith (Bristol Bay) (Fall 0:24)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Shondell Merculief (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) won by decision over Mary Yetcumeneff (King Cove) (Dec 6-1)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Henrietta Nicholai (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) won by decision over Justina Wilson (Scammon Bay High School) (Dec 7-6)

Girls Varsity – 145 Girls
1st Place – Haley O`Brien of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Sabrina Rivers of Scammon Bay High School
3rd Place – Elishah Naneng of Bethel High School
4th Place – Caitlyn Kelly of Pilot Station
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Haley O`Brien (Bethel High School) won by fall over Sabrina Rivers (Scammon Bay High School) (Fall 0:59)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Elishah Naneng (Bethel High School) won by decision over Caitlyn Kelly (Pilot Station) (Dec 6-0)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Girls Varsity – 160 Girls
1st Place – Ana John of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Ana John (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) received a bye () (Bye)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Girls Varsity – 182 Girls
1st Place – Andrea Wuya of Bethel High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Andrea Wuya (Bethel High School) received a bye () (Bye)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Girls Varsity – 220 Girls
1st Place – Allison Pleasant of Bethel High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Allison Pleasant (Bethel High School) received a bye () (Bye)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Boys Varsity – 98
1st Place – Thomas Dyment of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Robert Stanislaus of Alakanuk
3rd Place – Jimmy Nicolai of Dillingham
4th Place – Logan Phelps of Bristol Bay
5th Place – Dale Pete of Sheldon Point
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Thomas Dyment (Bethel High School) won by fall over Robert Stanislaus (Alakanuk) (Fall 2:31)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Jimmy Nicolai (Dillingham) won by decision over Logan Phelps (Bristol Bay) (Dec 10-9)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Dale Pete (Sheldon Point) received a bye () (Bye)

Boys Varsity – 106
1st Place – Blunka Blunka Jr. of New Stuyahok
2nd Place – Jarius Allain of Bethel High School
3rd Place – Dustin Gust of New Stuyahok
4th Place – Mathew Hunter of Bethel High School
5th Place – Avery Hoffman of Bethel High School
6th Place – Justin Dye of Dillingham
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Blunka Blunka Jr. (New Stuyahok) won by fall over Jarius Allain (Bethel High School) (Fall 3:53)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Dustin Gust (New Stuyahok) won by fall over Mathew Hunter (Bethel High School) (Fall 2:03)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Avery Hoffman (Bethel High School) won by forfeit over Justin Dye (Dillingham) (FF)

Boys Varsity – 113
1st Place – Tristen Evan of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Tanner Savo of Dillingham
3rd Place – Matt DeBilt of Quinhagak
4th Place – Adrian Smith of Bethel High School
5th Place – Joachim Gumlickpuk of New Stuyahok
6th Place – Bobby Nicholson of Dillingham
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Tristen Evan (Bethel High School) won by major decision over Tanner Savo (Dillingham) (Maj 15-3)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Matt DeBilt (Quinhagak) won by decision over Adrian Smith (Bethel High School) (Dec 9-3)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Joachim Gumlickpuk (New Stuyahok) won by fall over Bobby Nicholson (Dillingham) (Fall 2:04)

Boys Varsity – 120
1st Place – Leon Evon of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Dillon Chaney of Dillingham
3rd Place – Jesse Noden of Dillingham
4th Place – Seth Smith of Bethel High School
5th Place – Rhett Jackson of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
6th Place – Davis Hootch of Emmonak
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Leon Evon (Bethel High School) won by decision over Dillon Chaney (Dillingham) (Dec 13-9)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Jesse Noden (Dillingham) won by decision over Seth Smith (Bethel High School) (Dec 9-6)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Rhett Jackson (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) won by decision over Davis Hootch (Emmonak) (Dec 6-4)

Boys Varsity – 126
1st Place – Gage Hoffman of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Neil Bucaneg of Unalaska
3rd Place – Chris Williams of Dillingham
4th Place – Kobe Rivers of Scammon Bay High School
5th Place – Nuq Alexie-Leonard of Bethel High School
6th Place – Jeremy Ulroan of Chevak
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Gage Hoffman (Bethel High School) won by decision over Neil Bucaneg (Unalaska) (Dec 9-4)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Chris Williams (Dillingham) won by decision over Kobe Rivers (Scammon Bay High School) (Dec 9-8)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Nuq Alexie-Leonard (Bethel High School) won by decision over Jeremy Ulroan (Chevak) (Dec 9-5)

Boys Varsity – 132
1st Place – Aaron Olsen of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Carl Charlie of Bethel High School
3rd Place – Simeon Askoak of New Stuyahok
4th Place – Triston Chaney of Dillingham
5th Place – Collin Brown of Quinhagak
6th Place – Michael Schlosser of Dillingham
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Aaron Olsen (Bethel High School) won by decision over Carl Charlie (Bethel High School) (Dec 9-5)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Simeon Askoak (New Stuyahok) won by fall over Triston Chaney (Dillingham) (Fall 3:35)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Collin Brown (Quinhagak) won by fall over Michael Schlosser (Dillingham) (Fall 3:45)

Boys Varsity – 138
1st Place – Mian Alexie-Leonard of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Martin Gardiner of Dillingham
3rd Place – Casey Konukpeok of New Stuyahok
4th Place – Theodor Luckhurst of Dillingham
5th Place – Tyler Rivers of Scammon Bay High School
6th Place – Walter Reynolds of Dillingham
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Mian Alexie-Leonard (Bethel High School) won in sudden victory – 1 over Martin Gardiner (Dillingham) (SV-1 5-3)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Casey Konukpeok (New Stuyahok) won by fall over Theodor Luckhurst (Dillingham) (Fall 0:44)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Tyler Rivers (Scammon Bay High School) won by major decision over Walter Reynolds (Dillingham) (Maj 17-5)

Boys Varsity – 145
1st Place – Gabe Gomez of Dillingham
2nd Place – Garner Unok of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
3rd Place – Joel Mike of Emmonak
4th Place – Mason Martins of Chevak
5th Place – Cody Gumlickpuk of New Stuyahok
6th Place – Edward Nick Jr of Manakotak
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Gabe Gomez (Dillingham) won by fall over Garner Unok (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) (Fall 1:35)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Joel Mike (Emmonak) won by fall over Mason Martins (Chevak) (Fall 2:26)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Cody Gumlickpuk (New Stuyahok) won by decision over Edward Nick Jr (Manakotak) (Dec 8-3)

Boys Varsity – 152
1st Place – Ben Dunaway of Dillingham
2nd Place – Justin Ward of Aniak
3rd Place – Mathew Ferguson of Bethel High School
4th Place – John Mincher of Dillingham
5th Place – Teddy Charlie of Scammon Bay High School
6th Place – Elijah Lindley of Bethel High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Ben Dunaway (Dillingham) won by decision over Justin Ward (Aniak) (Dec 7-1)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Mathew Ferguson (Bethel High School) won by decision over John Mincher (Dillingham) (Dec 11-5)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Teddy Charlie (Scammon Bay High School) won by major decision over Elijah Lindley (Bethel High School) (Maj 18-8)

Boys Varsity – 160
1st Place – Sven Williams of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Chasen Shade of Dillingham
3rd Place – Greg Zackar of Newhalen
4th Place – Alex Larson of Bethel High School
5th Place – Seth Henning of Unalaska
6th Place – Trevor Amukon of Scammon Bay High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Sven Williams (Bethel High School) won by injury default over Chasen Shade (Dillingham) (Inj. 2:31)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Greg Zackar (Newhalen) won by fall over Alex Larson (Bethel High School) (Fall 0:45)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Seth Henning (Unalaska) won by fall over Trevor Amukon (Scammon Bay High School) (Fall 4:53)

Boys Varsity – 170
1st Place – Trey Henning of Unalaska
2nd Place – Jayvin Williams of Bethel High School
3rd Place – Patrick Murphy of Dillingham
4th Place – Sam Jenkins of Dillingham
5th Place – Richie Greene of Pilot Station
6th Place – Eddie Green of Togiak
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Trey Henning (Unalaska) won by decision over Jayvin Williams (Bethel High School) (Dec 6-4)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Patrick Murphy (Dillingham) won by fall over Sam Jenkins (Dillingham) (Fall 0:49)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Richie Greene (Pilot Station) won by forfeit over Eddie Green (Togiak) (FF)

Boys Varsity – 182
1st Place – Drew Pekar of Bethel High School
2nd Place – Nathanial Seman of Unalaska
3rd Place – Mark Kolbus of Bethel High School
4th Place – Mike Stroud of Sand Point
5th Place – Caine Demert-Isidore of Alakanuk
6th Place – Kris Babcock of King Cove
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Drew Pekar (Bethel High School) won by decision over Nathanial Seman (Unalaska) (Dec 12-5)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Mark Kolbus (Bethel High School) won by fall over Mike Stroud (Sand Point) (Fall 2:14)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Caine Demert-Isidore (Alakanuk) won by fall over Kris Babcock (King Cove) (Fall 1:56)

Boys Varsity – 195
1st Place – Braden Timurphy of Dillingham
2nd Place – Ryan Smith of Bethel High School
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Braden Timurphy (Dillingham) won by decision over Ryan Smith (Bethel High School) (Dec 20-16)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Boys Varsity – 220
1st Place – Andrew Wilson of Aniak
2nd Place – John Khongsuk of Unalaska
3rd Place – Kevin Tennyson of Dillingham
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Andrew Wilson (Aniak) won by fall over John Khongsuk (Unalaska) (Fall 2:49)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Kevin Tennyson (Dillingham) received a bye () (Bye)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – () received a bye () (Bye)

Boys Varsity – 285
1st Place – Enakenty Sallison of Kuskokwim Learning Academy
2nd Place – Nathaniel Bagongon of Emmonak
3rd Place – Jeremy Chung of Bethel High School
4th Place – Bryan Malvich of Bethel High School
5th Place – Dylan Larsen of King Cove
6th Place – Kivaso Neketa of New Stuyahok
1st Place Match
1st Place Match – Enakenty Sallison (Kuskokwim Learning Academy) won by fall over Nathaniel Bagongon (Emmonak) (Fall 4:23)
3rd Place Match
3rd Place Match – Jeremy Chung (Bethel High School) won by decision over Bryan Malvich (Bethel High School) (Dec 7-5)
5th Place Match
5th Place Match – Dylan Larsen (King Cove) won by decision over Kivaso Neketa (New Stuyahok) (Dec 11-6)