Region IV wrestlers punch their ticket to the state tournament

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 11:26 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Wrestlers from around Anchorage competed at South Anchorage High School Saturday for a chance to qualify for the state tournament next week.

The top five boys in each weight class moved on to the state tournament, with the top two girls in each class making the trip as well. The tournament was held in one day, with matches taking place all day long in the South gym on two mats.

For some wrestlers, that meant having to go up against the same competitor with just hours between matches. Senior grappler Samson Moore of West Anchorage was one of those wrestler, as he had just taken on Hugh Hanson of South earlier in the day and lost.

However, in the rematch, the stakes were much higher. The winner of the fifth-place match punches a ticket to state, while the loser goes home.

In the end, Moore prevailed over Hanson for fifth place in the 145-pound bracket and booked his ride to state.

“If I would have lost that match against him, I would have been knocked out of state,” Moore said. “Me and my coach, we worked on a game plan, I stuck to it, I worked with it and I won the match.”

Wrestling in itself is a very emotional sport, with athletes putting their bodies on the line to get the job done. Whether they win or lose, the emotions often spill out, and they were everywhere to be seen in the South gym, from happiness, to sadness and surprise.

“It’s my first wrestling tournament, so I don’t know, I didn’t have high hopes coming in here because I lost my first match, but now I am going for third, and if I lose, I get fourth” Dimond freshman Anthony Toomey said.

For those that haven’t been to an Alaskan high school wrestling tournament in a while, one of the surprising aspects may be the girls tournament, which is gaining popularity each season. Just a few years ago, the girls tournament featured a small field, and outside of the region and state meets, girls constantly competed against boys.

Now, girls wrestling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country and Alaska, with girls enjoying their own division.

“Wrestling isn’t really the type of sport for girls, but girls that want to experience it and do it, it’s like, ‘Wow a girl wrestles’,” said South freshmen Jessailah Thammavongsa.

The top qualifiers in the Region IV tournament now head to the state meet, which is being held Dec. 17 and 18 at the Alaska Airlines Center.

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