by Tommy Wells
Nathan Andrew and Anthony Sallison headlined a list of five Nunapitchuk wrestlers to finish in the top five in their respective weight classes and helped spur the Wolves to the team title at the Napaskiak Invitational Wrestling Tournament.
Backed by medal-winning efforts from Andrew, Sallison, Chantel Tobeluk and Cody Benn, Nunapitchuk rolled up 73 points in the 14-team meet. Napaskiak won five weight classes and finished two points behind Nunapitchuk in the standings. Bethel Regional High School was third with 59 points.
Andrew gave Nunapitchuk a gold in the 120-pound bracket. He went 2-0 in the division, including a win over Kuskokwim Learning Academy’s Tiana Ashepak in the finals.
Sallison won the 132-pound division with a 3-0 record. After posting wins over KLA’s Sophie Nicholai and Michael Uttereyuk in the first two rounds, he managed to claim a thrilling 22-19 decision over Benn in the finals.
Benn, who went 2-1 overall, finished second in the 132-pound standings.
Nunapitchuk also picked up solid outings from Tobeluk and Nicole Twitchell. Tobeluk was third in the 145-pound class, while Twitchell was fourth in the 120-pound ranks.
Although Napaskiak narrowly missed the team title, the Hawks did managed to collect their share of gold medals. Stephen Maxie edged out Quinhagak’s Ella Guest for the 106-pound crown, while Aaron Williams completed his run to a title with a win over Akiachak’s Justin Jackson in the finals of the 126-pound division.
Alex Larson, Curtis Napoka and Isaac Joekay also notched wins. Larson defeated Quinhagak’s Austin Hunter by a 19-4 clip in the finals of the 160-pound class, while Napoka netted a win over KLA’s Hazel Pitka in the 170-pound finals. Joekay win the 220-pound class with a win over KLA’s Frank Bayer.
Dezmin Johnson also gave Napaskiak a third-place finish in the 132-pound division. Kelly Paul was fourth in the 126-pound standings.
Bradley Oulton highlighted Bethel Regional High School’s efforts in the meet. He went 3-0 in the 113-pound division.
Terrel Jimmy, Sinka Williams and Kieran Samuelson also picked up medals. Jimmy was second in the 145-pound ranks, while Williams and Samuelson took third in their weight classifications.
Mathew Kapsner also collected a third-place finish. He edged out Twitchell in the third-place match in the 120-pound ranks.
In the junior high/elementary division, Nunapitchuk had seven wrestlers earn medals, including Devonte Sallison and Caden Sallison. Devonte won the 85-pound division with an exciting 11-10 victory over Napaskiak’s Seth Jacob. Caden won the 90-pound bracket with an 8-2 decision over teammate Jarrett Nicholai.
Eva Andrew was second in the 75-pound division. His only loss came to Behel’s Ryan Chaney in the championship match. James Serradel, Jesse Jacobs and Garrett Nicholai all finished third in their weight divisions.
Napaskiak’s middle school efforts were led by Jaden Steven. He notched a win over Bethel’s Peter Crow in the finals of the 130-pound class.
Napaskiak also garnered second-place finishes from Nelson Egoak, Seth Jacobs and Antone Jacob. Hillary Larson and Marshal Nicholai were fourth in their brackets.
2017 Napaskiak Invitational Final team standings
1. Nunapitchuk 73; 2. Napaskiak 71; 3. Bethel 59; 4. Akiachak 55.5; 5. KLA 44; 6. Kwethluk 20; 7. Akiak 6; 8. Quinhagak 6; 9. Aniak 0; 10. Atmautlak 0; 11. Bethel Junior High 0; 12. Gladys Jung 0; 13. Kalskag 0; 14. Napakiak 0.