by Tommy Wells
Aniak’s Andrew Wilson and Justin Ward and Bethel Regional High School’s Daniel Chakuchin and Kyle Valadez all turned more than a few heads this past weekend while starring at the 2017 Grace Grizzly Grappler tournament in Anchorage. Overall, six Y-K wrestlers finished in the top five in their respective weight classifications at the 14-team meet.
Wilson highlighted the list of area stars in the tournament. The Aniak standout wrestled his way to a perfect 2-0 record en route to taking first in the 220-pound division.
After defeating East Anchorage’s Dwayne Nichols in the first round, Wilson advanced to the finals to face off against East’s Jacquez Mason.
Wilson pinned Mason at the 57-second mark of their match.
Ward added to the Halfbreeds’ success on the mat. He finished second in the 170-pound division with a 3-1 mark. His only setback came in the finals when he dropped a 10-3 decision to Service’s Tayler Farless.
Aniak, which finished 12th in the final team standings, also picked up strong efforts from two other wrestlers, including Curtis Dooley and Tia Wilson.
Chakuchin and Valadez helped Bethel roll to 10th in the team standings by grinding out second-place marks in their weight brackets. Overall, the two combined to score 38 of the Warriors’ 57.5 points.
Chakuchin starred in the 132-pound class, going 3-1. He won his first two matches via pins and then earned his way into the championship round with a 14-6 rout of South Anchorage’s Hayden Scalis in the semifinals. In the title round, he suffered a loss to Palmer’s Jacob Dyer.
Valadez, who went 2-1 in the 195-pound division, finished second to Voznesenka’s Nikit Anufriev.
Adrian Smith narrowly missed becoming the third BRHS wrestler to medal. He finished fourth in the 126-pound ranks with a 2-2 mark. He advanced to the third-place match before suffering a tough 4-2 loss to Kodiak’s Riley Birbilis in overtime.
Kieran Samuelson and Terrel Jimmy also recorded wins for Bethel in the tournament.
Other Warrior wrestlers participating in the tournament included Travis Chaney, Sinka Williams, Kyle Chung and Shawn Peter.
Chevak’s Ajey Moses also nearly medaled. He finished fourth in the 113-pound standings with a 2-2 mark.
Edward Atcherian led all Comets in wins during the tournament. He reeled off three wins and finished at 3-2 in the 120-pound classification.
Charity Boyscout and Jon Tuluk also wrestled for the Comets. Boyscout went 0-2 in the 120-pound division, while Tuluk went 0-2 in the 126-pound ranks.
Grace Grappler Final standings
1. South Anchorage 175.5
2. Kodiak 121.0
3. East Anchorage 87.0
4. Voznesenka 83.0
5. Dimond 81.0
6. Grace Christian 79.5
7. Bartlett 74.5
8. Anchorage Christian 68.0
9. Palmer 58.5
10. Bethel 57.5
11. Service 51.0
12. Aniak 42.5
13. Holy Rosary Academy 25.0
14. Chevak 16.5