Champions crowned at the State Championship wrestling meet

Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 3:43 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After two days of wrestling at the Alaska Airlines Center, the ink has now dried on all of the brackets in the ASAA/First National Bank Division 1 and Division 2 state wrestling championships.

There were quite a few wrestlers trying to cap off undefeated seasons with state championship titles. In just the second round of the finals it would be a sophomore from South who spoiled an undefeated season. Aaron Concepcion of South had only lost twice all season and one of his loses was against the undefeated senior Carter Silva from Colony. Their finals match would go to four overtimes tied at one point apiece before Concepcion sneaked out with an escape and made the crowd go crazy.

“This is probably like one of the greatest feelings of my life. I have been wanting this since like seventh grade and I finally got it, I had to work really hard, harder than anyone probably out here,” Concepcion said.

State wrestling is one of the only events in Alaska where D1 boys, D2 boys and the girls bracket are all competing in the same gym and the same time. Three mats were rolled out for the finals and the talent being displayed on all three was a sight to behold, particularly in the D2 119 pound finals match where Landon Smith of Bethel was looking to make it four straight state titles.

“It is my senior year, another undefeated year for me, really tough because of COVID precautions. We couldn’t travel as much and do as much,” Smith said.

Smith would lock in his third undefeated high school season in with a pin and also helped propel Bethel into first place in the team scores for Division 2.

Last year the state wrestling tournament was split in two, where the D1 tournament was held at Bartlett high school and the D2 and girls tournaments were held at Chugiak High school. Wrestlers who got to experience the tournament at the AAC on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus before the COVID precautions forced the split last year really enjoyed being back in the big arena. Soldotna’s Trinity Donovan finished her season 36-0 with a pin to win the 145 pound title.

“A lot less nerve racking. I mean, first year it was really crazy like I was like, whoa, this place is huge what am I going to do. Second year it was just like small gym — like oh this is just like a regular tournament. Now I am back and I know the layout and everything and it’s like alright. It is great to have all the teams together and be able to see my friends from like small villages,” Donovan said.

While all of the undefeated seasons and back to back to back to back state championships are surely impressive, the really impressive number is 42. That is how many schools had girls representing them in the tournament, going to show that girls wrestling is growing like wild fire in the state.

TOP 5 D1 TEAMSTOTAL SCORES
COLONY248.5
SOUTH236
LATHROP223.5
SOLDOTNA208
PALMER147
TOP 5 D2 TEAMSTOTAL SCORES
BETHEL158
REDINGTON152
GLENNALLEN133.5
DELTA121
DILLINGHAM116.5
TOP 5 GIRLS TEAMSTOTAL SCORES
LATHROP164
COLONY98
NORTH POLE88
BETHEL79.5
PALMER71

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