Three Nanooks win their weight class in the Nome Invite 2017
The Nome-Beltz Nanooks hosted a successful wrestling tournament attended by nine schools on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21. The Nome-Beltz gym saw constant, fast-paced wrestling action on two mats in which high school and junior high wrestlers tested each other and themselves in one of humanity’s oldest sport. Wrestling was part of the Olympic Games in Greece in 1200 BC.
The Kotzebue Huskies brought a powerful team and scored a lot of top placings. The Nanooks also did well with many athletes finding themselves atop the podium.
“We wrestled pretty well,” said Nanook coach Daniel Homelvig. “I’m happy with the wrestlers, we’re making good progress. Obviously, we’ve got things that need to improve but the stuff we’re teaching they’re trying to use and some of them are using it real well.”
Nome Nanook Caleb Evatt dominated the Varsity 126-lb category, taking the championship match over Bethel’s Adrian Smith.
Ben Cross, also a Nanook, took the Varsity 145-lb class with a win over Gambell’s Ashton Aningayou.
Starr Erikson came out on top in the girls’ 120-lb class, defeating Jaron Mute of Bethel.
The junior high wrestlers showed impressive familiarity with wrestling technique. The matches were intense and fast paced and all the schools were competitive.
Gambell coach Donald Eldridge brought eight boys to the Invite, six of them high school wrestlers.
“I believe seven of them got on the podium,” he said. Asked about what wrestling means to the island students he replied, “It builds a lot of confidence for them and exposes them to other communities and other cultures. It’s a chance to learn.”
“Our varsity went to Fairbanks this weekend so these are mostly JV kids and varsity girls. We’re pretty happy. The kids wrestled hard,” said Bethel coach Paul O’Brien. Asked about the difference in intensity between the girls’ matches and the boys’ he replied, “The difference between boys and girls is that they both want to win.”
O’Brien’s daughter Kelly won the girls’ 145-lb class title.
Kotzebue coach Carl Wilkins has been with the Huskies for a month but it is his second tour there. He was also the Husky coach in ’94 through ’99. Undoubtedly a lot of the young wrestlers look familiar.
“We brought 17, counting two middle schoolers,” he said.