Four Falcons Win Region Wrestling Titles, Nine Earn State Berths

    Region V champs (front, left to right) Carson Cummins, Kadin Messmer, Colton Cummins and Sage Richards and the Thunder Mountain Falcons at the Region V Tournament in Wrangell on Saturday. (Photo Courtesy TMHS)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Thunder Mountain senior Kadin Messmer, juniors Sage Richards and Carson Cummins and freshman Colton Cummins all won championships in their weight brackets at the Region V Championships in Wrangell on Saturday and qualified for the state tournament along with five other teammates.

      “Not too shabby,” Thunder Mountain head coach Adam Messmer said. “It is just us and Ketchikan vying for our spots to go up there and some of the weight classes only had a handful of guys in them. We were kind of fighting an uphill battle this year with a full team of seniors from Ketchikan and having freshmen go out there and give it everything, a David and Goliath kind of thing. They go out there thinking they will win every match no matter who it is.”

      This was Kadin Messmer’s first matches of the season. He was a high state placer last year and was recovering from a football injury this season. His first weigh-ins were for last weekend’s home meet but he forfeited matches to continue recovery.

      “The dad part of me was a little concerned with him not having much mat time,” coach Messer said. “But he got in there like he hasn’t skipped a beat. I don’t think he had a total of a minute and half of wrestling in his two matches. So he’s right back in it.”

      Kadin Messmer (2-3) won the 125-pound title by pinning Ketchikan sophomore Sampson Oliver (5-6) in the first period. Falcons freshman Gerald Blades (5-9) placed third in this bracket, pinning Ketchikan freshman Oscar Wutzke (0-8) in the first period but losing to Oliver.

      “The region tournament was really good,” Kadin Messmer said. “I felt like our team did pretty good considering the number of people we had compared to Ketchikan. Definitely feels good to start having more matches. I am really looking forward to the state tournament. There is some pretty good competition up there. I am going to work on some things this week. Work on staying in good position so I will have better chances of my moves working and just try to find any weaknesses I can and do my best. There are a few wrestlers that are pretty good in my bracket this year. I would really like, this being my senior year, to be in the finals and have a chance to take state this year.”

      Richards (14-2) won the 189-pound title by pinning Ketchikan senior Conner Ray (5-4) at the 2:57 mark of the first period.

      “Sage had beaten that kid multiple times before but that kid has been working hard to come get Sage,” coach Messmer said. “He caught Sage a little off guard. He had Sage on his back twice in quite a bit of danger but Sage fought off his back and came out with the win.”

      Richards described his region title match.

      “I felt like I didn’t do great in the first round,” Richards said. “Then I kind of came back and pinned him. It was just like a typical pin, the arm bar, my usual move.”

      Richards has competed at state before and is considered a danger by opposing coaches.

      “I expect I will have to go against a bunch of really talented wrestlers,” Richards said. “And have to utilize all my skills that I have been working on the whole season and put it all together at state. I think my plan is just to wrestle my match and do the stuff I am good at like my double leg.”

      Richards noted how well the Falcons showed at regions.

      “I was impressed by how many freshmen made the finals,” he said. “I was really proud of that.”

      Carson Cummins won the 112-pound title by pinning Ketchikan senior Kristian Kellogg (4-4) in the first period.

      “Carson has battled that kid the last six years, through middle school, and that kid is always gunning for him,” coach Messmer said. “It was physical and Carson took it.”

      Carson Cummins described his pin and what he awaits him at the state tournament.

      “I ended up trying some weird move with my arm and went out of bounds,” he said. “We meet right back at center and right off the whistle I end up going for a low single and I took him to his back. I put him in a head and arm. I held him there for a bit and then I ended up pinning him.”

      He described his state competition.

      “There are about three,” he said. “A kid from Colony, a kid from East and from Wasilla. I don’t think I’ll change that much. I’ve always been on the offensive side. The hardest one is also an offensive guy. That’s normally what I do most of the time. I think I am going to take my time and not be sloppy and be comfortable. The week of state is pretty easy in that you take it easy, get some conditioning but you don’t want anyone to get hurt and you don’t want them to be sore for the state tournament. So it’s more technique.”

      Colton Cummins (9-4) won the 103-pond title by pinning Ketchikan freshman Carson Dillard (0-6) in the second period.

      “Colton is one of the easiest kids to coach,” coach Messmer said. “He wants to try something new in each match but realizes that if it is not going to work don’t force it. He had a plan going into the match and it didn’t appear to be working that way so he reverted back to what we worked on in the room the whole year and pinned him.”

      Colton Cummins described his win and the upcoming state tournament.

      “I was trying to do this one move and it didn’t really work out so I stuck to my double arm bar, got him on his back and just pinned him,” he said. “I am looking forward to wrestling this one kid. We wrestle each other a lot. He’s beat me twice and I’ve beat him twice. My bracket is pretty tough. I do get a little nervous but my coaches kind of talk me out of that. I have a lot of competition but I am ready for it.”

      Falcons junior Jarrell Williams (6-3) placed second at 152 pounds, losing by pin to Ketchikan senior Kolin Houthoofd (13-4) in the first period.

      Falcons freshman Justus Darbonne (5-1) placed second at 140 pounds, losing by pin to Ketchikan senior Degan Linne (14-1) in the second period. Linne was second at state last season and second at the Lancer Smith Tournament this season.

      “It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t take first this year, and that first period it looked like it could have been anybody’s match,” coach Messmer said. “Justus had a great reversal on Degan and you could see Degan’s eyes kind of open up and it wasn’t the easy match that he thought it was going to be and Justus gave him a run for his money. Being a freshman that says a lot.”

      Falcons junior Chase Darbonne ((5-1) placed second at 135 pounds, losing by pin to Ketchikan senior Kai Biagi (12-2) in the second period. Darbonne defeated freshman teammate Carvin Hass (3-8) in this bracket.

      “His opponent was a senior stellar wrestler,” coach Messmer said. “Chase was getting beat pretty bad and then pulled a move and had Kai on his back for a minute. The ref thought he saw something that might have been potentially dangerous and stopped the match. I had talked to the ref afterward and it could have gone either way, but you have to agree with the refs but it would have been nice to see how that played out a couple more seconds.”

      Falcons freshman Justin Geary (2-6) placed second at 130 pounds, losing by pin to Ketchikan freshman Hunter Cowan (9-1) in the first period.

      Falcons freshman Owen Woodruff (2-3) placed second at 119 ponds, losing by pin to Ketchikan junior Luke Rauwolf (6-4) in the first period.

      At 145 pounds, Ketchikan senior Brock Thomas (7-4) won by 17-1 technical fall over freshman teammate Casy Styles (2-4).

      At 160 pounds, Ketchikan junior Romel Del Mundo (9-4) defeated classmate Ben Tabb (7-1) 13-11 in extra time.

      At 171 pounds, Ketchikan junior Seth Web (7-4) pinned senior teammate Morgan Davis (4-4) at 0:48 of the first period. TMHS senior Kaleb Paddock (0-6) placed third.

      At 215 pounds, Ketchikan freshman Paul Thompson (4-3) won by disqualification over junior teammate Tyler Manypenny (4-4).

      Top-rated TMHS senior 152-pounder Blaze Darbonne and 112-pound Brandon Day did not travel due to injury. Five other TMHS grapplers did not travel due to grades.

      KTN won the team title with 199.5 points to TMHS’ 138.5.

      Only the Region V champion and second place finisher travel to state.

      The state championships are Friday and Saturday at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

      “The week before state is keeping our conditioning up with a bit of running, a bit of fun,” coach Messmer said. “We’ve been playing some games and having some fun in the room this last week but there is a bit of technique we still need to go over. Ketchikan made some adjustments for us and we made some adjustments for them. Now we have to go back to what we have seen at Lancer, kind of go through the playbook on each kid and go through those moves with all those kids. And then when we are up there it is a real time adjustment, where every kid and coaches are watching kids in the bracket and see where they have made adjustments. And being at that caliber of a wrestler you can make those adjustments in real time.”

      Two wins put a wrestler into the semis, three and it is a final’s appearance. One loss at state takes a wrestler out of first- and second- place contention, but they can still place third through the consolation bracket.

      “That takes a lot of wrestling on the back side,” Coach Messmer said. “If you lose your first match you are wrestling a lot in two days just to get to that third place match.”

      Wrangell won the DII team championship with 134 points, with Mt. Edgecumbe second at 122, Craig 85, Petersburg 84, Sitka 83 and Haines 63.5

      DII Finals: 103 - HNS Fr. Hayden Jimenez, bye; 112 - WRG Fr. Lucas Schneider, bye; 119 - MEHS Fr. Evan Andrew pin MEHS So. Abraham Fisher; 125 - MEHS Jr. Tyson Olsen 12-4 SIT So. Evander Elixman; 130 - MEHS So. Tristan Goodell 8-2 PSG Fr. Markus Anderson; 135 - HNS Fr. Dalton Henry 6-0 PSG Fr. Aidan Cotta; 140 - CRG So. Keegan Hanson, bye; 145 - CRG Jr. Dalton Wysykowski pin SIT Jr. David Davis; 152 - WRG Jr. Randy Churchill pin CRG Jr. Rogan Hanson; 160 - WRG Sr. Ryan Rooney pin SIT Jr. Jason Young; 171 - WRG Jr. Ethan Blatchley pin SIT So. Aiden Ojala; 189 - WRG Sr. Rowen Wiederspohn pin MEHS Jr. Kael Osborne; 215 - WRG Sr. Jake Eastaugh pin PSG Jr. Kyle Biggers.

      MEHS won the girls team title with 98 points, KTN 91, WRG 66, PSG 27, SIT 14, Thorne Bay 10.

      Girls Finals: 103 - PSG Jr. DD Toyomura pin MEHS So. Sarah Nanouk-Jones; 112 - MEHS Fr. Laney Green pin WRG Fr. Della Churchill; 119 - KTN Fr. Trisha Capps pin KTN Abby Duckworth; 125 - KTN So. Julia Biagi pin MEHS So. MaKenna Beans; 130 - KTN Sr. Hayley Gilson pin WRG Sr. Jamie Early; 135 - WRG Sr. Liana Carney pin KTN Sr. Ruby McCue; 145 - WRG So. Mia Wiederspohn pin TB Fr. Chloe Vasquez; 160 - MEHS So. Trinity Pitka pin KTN Fr. Chayslyn Spencer; 189 - MEHS Isis Canoe pin MEHS Sr. Destiny Kulukhon; 235 - SIT Helen Sachsenmaier, bye.

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