Tobuk wins state championship, longtime coach retires
By Diana Haecker
Natallie Tobuk, a junior at Nome-Beltz High School, was one of five girl wrestlers with undefeated records to take the mat during the ASAA/FNBA Girls State Championships held in Anchorage last weekend. Tobuk finished 22-0 at 125 pounds, won the championship and scored 28 team points for Nome.
“This wrestling season was beyond what I would call special,” she said in an email to the Nugget. Being undefeated for an entire season is cool but that’s just not it, she said. Putting in hours of work into school and conditioning, making sure she’s at her best, was well worth it. Beyond wresting, she said, she appreciates the many new friends and connections that she hopes will last a long time. Tobuk’s plans are to keep on wrestling and after she graduates in 2023, her first-choice school is Iowa University, which added a women’s wrestling program recently. “I hope to be accepted as one of their athletes,” she said. “When I can’t be the one on the mat I want to get into coaching. One day, hopefully, my practice partner Katie Smith will become my partner as a coach,” she said.
This also event also marked the last tournament with coach Dudley Homelvig as head coach. Homelvig is set to retire from a long coaching career that began in 1984 in Nome. He was hired as an English teacher and wrestling coach and left Nome to teach in Kenai from 1996 to 1999. Coming back to Nome, he resumed coaching wrestling from 1999 to the present. Asked for the reason of him retiring, he chuckled, “My wife retired me. She wants a garden.” The Homelvigs plan on leaving Nome and resettling in North Dakota in the future.
Homelvig couldn’t say how many kids he coached over the years but said that on average there were 20 students wrestling at Nome Beltz each year. This year not only did he take 14 wrestlers to the state competition, but also ended his long career witnessing one of his charges become state champion. “Well, not very many coaches get to end their coaching career with a state champion in the last match of the night,” he said, recognizing Natallie Tobuk for her win. Not only did Tobuk win her weight class but out of the 14 wrestlers he took to state’s, seven placed in the top six.
Homelvig said he hoped he taught the kids over his lifetime career coaching more than just wrestling. “Wrestling is just a good preparation for life because you’re gonna have to face disappointments and how to respond and react and overcome adversity. It’s just good training for life in general. Um, also the, the rewards and success and, and, uh, learning to work with others. Those are all important lessons for life. It was never about wins and losses. You know, it’s kind of a miniature version of life.”
ASAA/FNBA State Championships Results for Nome-Beltz High School
119 lbs: Katie Smith (21-9) placed fifth and scored 13.5 team points.
125 lbs: Natallie Tobuk (22-0) placed first and scored 28.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Natallie Tobuk (Nome High School) 22-0 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal - Natallie Tobuk (Nome High School) 22-0 won by fall over Kaylee Reich (Palmer High School) 12-12 (Fall 2:00)
Semifinal - Natallie Tobuk (Nome High School) 22-0 won by fall over Avery Long (Palmer High School) 21-13 (Fall 3:15)
1st Place Match - Natallie Tobuk (Nome High School) 22-0 won by fall over Mckaylie Luedde (Service High School Cougars) 22-10 (Fall 4:45)
130 lbs: Della Medlin (2-2) place is unknown and scored 4.5 team points.
135 lbs: Karis Evans (4-2) place is unknown and scored 4.0 team points. Lacey Sherman (6-14) place is unknown and scored 1.0 team points.
125 lbs: Son Erikson (17-2) placed third and scored 17.0 team points.
135 lbs: Jonathon Smith (5-9) place is unknown and scored 1.0 team points.
Thomas Hannon (19-6) placed third and scored 17.0 team points.
140 lbs: Duke McGuffey (13-2) placed third and scored 18.0 team points.
145 lbs: Karlin Ahwinona-Smith (16-5) placed fourth and scored 16.5 team points. Andy Peterson (19-10) placed fifth and scored 14.0 team points.
152 lbs: Wyatt Ahmasuk (6-4) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.
171 lbs: Lucas Marvin (11-5) place is unknown and scored 4.0 team points.
189 lbs: Ethan George (0-7) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.