The Petersburg Viking Wrestlers traveled to Nikiski for state competition.
DJ Toyomura wrestled in the 98 pound class; Bret Martinsen and John Brooks competed in the 132 pound weight class; Kris Thorsteinson wrestled in the 126 class and Kaleb Simbahon wrestled in the 195 weight class.
“It was a tough first day,” Head Coach Dan VanSwearingen said. “The competition up there is a lot tougher than it is here in the Southeast.”
According to VanSwearingen, two of the Viking wrestlers lost twice in their first two matches, so they were out right away.
“Thorsteinson won his first match but lost his second in a close match,” VanSwearingen stated. “He worked his way up the consolation bracket to take sixth place.”
Toyomura and Simbahon won a couple of their matches but missed placing by one round.
“This was a tough competition,” VanSwearingen said. “This was a good meet for most of the kids though.”
The competition was set up as a play six, 16 man bracket. If a competitor wins they stay on the front side, but as soon as they lose they are headed to the consolation bracket and one more loss will find the wrestler out of the tournament.
If a contender makes it all the way to the consolation semi-finals, the two losers of both of those matches face each other for fifth and sixth places.
“Thorsteinson had a super tough seed for the consolation semi-finals,” VanSwearingen explained. “He was up against the number one seed and he was a returning two-time state champion.”
According to VanSwearingen, the atmosphere is different up north than it is here in the Southeast.
“All of the coaches know each other and they are all pretty friendly with each other here,” he stated. “Up there, no one came and introduced themselves to me, everyone was all about winning up there.”
VanSwearingen also explained that the southeast is kind of a family.
“We all stick together and we all do our warm-ups together,” he stated. “It was a pretty cool experience, but it was very different.”
He also stated that taking that sixth place win was big for Thorsteinson.
“I don't really think he expected it. He wrestled well and that was definitely a highlight,” VanSwearingen stated. “Simbahon and Toyomura won some tough matches against some pretty good people and I think they even surprised themselves.”
According to VanSwearingen every match that was won was a really exciting one.
“We were a young team this year and we only had one senior,” he stated. “We will be back strong next year and hopefully we get some more numbers as well.”