It’s officially wrestling season in Juneau.
Thunder Mountain High School played host to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe for the Brandon Pilot Invitational Friday and Saturday. The tournament kicked off a high school wrestling season that’s been repeatedly delayed and shortened by pandemic concerns.
While team scores weren’t kept at this year’s invitational, TMHS wrestling coach Josh Houston said he was pleased with the team’s showing.
“As a whole, we did pretty well,” Houston said. He added he’s pleased that the tournament was able to happen at all.
Houston said while the team may not have a lot of experience with high school wrestling, many of the members come with prior wrestling experience, either through club or middle school wrestling.
“We’ve got a fairly young team, but a lot of the guys come with a bunch of experience,” Houston said.
Five members of the team took first place in their respective weight classes and four TMHS wrestlers went undefeated across both days of the tournament.
The four undefeated first-place finishers were sophomore Carson Cummins, who went 6-0 and won the 112-pound bracket (Cummins normally wrestles at 103 pounds); senior Nate Houston, who went 6-0 and finished first among 125-pounders; sophomore 171-pounder Jamal Johnson; and senior Camden Erickson, who went 7-0 at 215 pounds.
Sophomore Sage Richards went 4-1 and came in first in the 189-pound division.
Houston said he expects those standouts to have exceptional seasons this year.
In light of multiple pandemic-related delays to the start of the wrestling season, Houston said there are some things he —and just about every other wrestling coach in the region —will be working to improve as the season goes on.
“I told some of the guys, ‘Every coach will go to practice Monday and talk about conditioning,’” Houston said. “We’ll try to get as prepared as we can for a very short season.”
Up next for TMHS is another slate of Southeast Alaska opponents, Houston said.
The team will travel to Wrangell in the coming weekend and should face mostly the same teams featured at the invitational and Prince of Wales.
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt