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Middle school bring home 3A wrestling title


Jay Taylor / Submitted Photo

The Mitkof Middle School wrestling team took home the 3A title at last weekend's Region V Tournament. The team placed second overall, just four points behind 4A Ketchikan. The wrestling team is Merrick Nilsen, Brekin Davis, Israel Collison, Jolyn Toyomura, Ruby Massin, Noah File, Isaac Taylor, Adam Ware, Colby Spears, Zephrie Whitethorn, Heather Berkley, Matthew Espeseth, Kole Sperl, Caedmon Collison, Alex Worhatch, Thomas Durkin, Sawyer Bryner, Lance Kittams, Sebastian Davis, Franklin Niediffer, Korin Sperl, Katasha Hudson and Chase Lockhart.

The Mitkof Middle School wrestlers are the 3A champs and they placed second overall in the Region V Tournament held Feb. 20-21 in Ketchikan.

Five wrestlers earned champion titles: Brekin Davis in the 90-pound weight class, Israel Collison in the 95, Kole Sperl in the 85, Alex Worhatch in the 100 and Matthew Espeseth in the 210.

Head Coach Rob Schwartz said it was both those top placements and the overall performance of all of the 23 wrestlers on the team this year that contributed to the Viking's success at the tournament.

"Coming from a small school, we've got to not only get some champions and get people in the finals, in the top three or four, but a lot of those kids had to really battle in for third and fourth, fifth and six, and they had to pin to do it," Schwartz said.

In fact, "pin to win" was the Viking's strategy for the tournament and the extra points earned by pinning their opponents helped bolster the overall score.

The final team score for the Vikings was within four points of tournament champions Ketchikan, 280-276. By comparison, Wrangell placed third with 126 points.

Though Ketchikan is a larger school and has more experienced wrestlers, Schwartz said the Vikings battled hard and have come a long way over the course of the season.

"They've worked hard and pulled together as a team," he said. "A lot of our wrestlers just stepped on the mat two months ago."

Schwartz coaches the Vikings with Mike Corl and with help from Dan van Swearingen and Marty Massin.


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