Three Nome wrestlers compete at Lancer Smith Memorial

Three members of the Nome-Beltz wrestling squad traveled to the Curtis Menard Center in Wasilla last weekend to test themselves at the Lancer Smith Memorial Wresting Tournament. The Nanooks were one of 46 teams from around the state to attend. The list of participants was impressive and included South Anchorage High School, last year’s 4A champions, and Homer High School, last year’s 123A champs.
Nome’s top wrestler was Tim James. According to, James was awarded nine team points for making it to the fifth round on the consolation side of the 160-pound bracket. By opening up the tournament with a 3-2 win over Billy Nelson of Kotzebue, James became the only Nanook wrestler to advance to the second round. He was sent into the consolation bracket by a five minute, 15 second pin at the hands of Troy Zellers of Chugiak High School.
James won his first three consolation matches. He pinned Rafhael Simon of West Anchorage High School in 3:15, and Corey Dahlberg of Wasilla High School in 3:57. The Nome senior beat Sven Williams of Bethel High School in a 3-2 fourth round decision, but was knocked from the competition by a 5-3 loss to Isiah Passi of Barrow High School.
Also scoring points for the Nanooks was Ben Cross in the 138-pound class. He lost his first match to Grant Burningham of Eagle River High School in a 1:14 pin. Cross had a bye in the first consolation round and was then pinned by Mathew DelaCruz of Kotzebue High School in 4:47. His last match was a 2:47 late consolation round pin to Kadin Hodges of Ketchikan High School. Cross earned four points for his team.
Nome’s Caleb Evatt wrestled in the 113-pound class. He started the first round with a bye and then lost 15-4 to Oscar Garcia of Bartlett High School in the second round. After a second bye, Evatt was pinned by Levi Shumacher in 1:16 in the second round of consolation matches.
The Nanooks earned 34th place at the event with a total of 13 points. The top spot went to Colony High School with 269 points. Homer placed second with 211 points.
Lancer Smith came to Alaska in 1971 and was an important figure on the state’s amateur wrestling scene until he died of cancer in 2002. He was a college All-American. In 1968 Smith was an alternate on the United States Greco-Roman team at the Olympic Games in Mexico.
The Nanooks have next weekend off and will get plenty of time to rest up before attending the Northern Conference Wrestling Tournament in Kotzebue on December 2 and 3.

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