Wrestlers for South Anchorage High School, which won the ASAA Division I state wrestling tournament on Saturday, were easy to identify by their bleach blond hair. (Steven Glasheen / Alaska Sports Report)

Wrestlers for South Anchorage High School, which won the ASAA Division I state wrestling tournament on Saturday, were easy to identify by their bleach blond hair. (Steven Glasheen / Alaska Sports Report)

South Anchorage High School wins D1 wrestling title

One TMHS competitor finishes fourth; two finish sixth in weight divisions during two-day tournament.

It had to be the hair.

Sporting freshly dyed bleach blond hair, the boys of the South High wrestling team stood out in more ways than one at the ASAA Division I state wrestling tournament.

They could be nicknamed The Bleach Boys, but they prefer you call them state champs.

The Wolverines ran away with the team title to win the large-school state championship, beating the second-place Student Development Wrestling Program by 45 points and third-place Soldotna by 95 points.

Among local competitors for Thunder Mountain High School (whose team includes athletes from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé), Camden Messmer placed fourth and Landyn Dunn placed sixth in the 112-pound division, while Justus Darbonne placed sixth in the 152-pound division. The Falcons were participating in the tournament after winning regionals by breaking Ketchikan High School’s 15-year winning streak.

South racked up 315 points and qualified finalists for eight of the 14 weight classes in Saturday’s main event at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Aaron Concepcion capped a 29-0 season by winning the 160-pound title, Roth Powers posted his 45th win by claiming the championship at 171 and Anan Siackhasone prevailed in arguably the most technical savvy match of the night at 119.

Concepcion built an 8-3 lead before pinning North Pole’s Simon Connolly at 1:45 of the first period. It was a matchup between the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds.

Powers finished his season with a 45-1 record after pinning Soldotna’s Collin Peck at 5:01.

Siackhasone outdueled Titus Watts of Soldotna 8-4 in a match that was tied 2-2 early in the third period.

Both wrestlers pulled off reversals in the final 30 seconds and they each rolled the other on his back several times in the dogfight, but only four nearfall points were awarded during the entire six minutes.

Siackhasone and Watts came into the final with a combined 70-7 record and the evenly matched bout could have gone either way as it was a two-point match with 30 seconds left.

In addition to the customary post-match handshake, these two warriors hugged in the ultimate sign of sportsmanship and respect.

Like Concepcion, East’s Kenton Cooke finished his season with an identical 29-0 record after holding off Soldotna’s Michael Dickinson 7-5.

The biggest stunner of the night came at 152. The outcome wasn’t necessarily shocking as much as the OMG way it happened as Soldotna’s Trevor Michael pulled off an incredible comeback with a last-second pin.

Michael trailed South’s Zane Gerlach 10-4 with 23 seconds left in the third period before Michael flipped the script – and his opponent – to win by fall with just 3 seconds remaining on the clock. He needed the pin to win the match as his takedown and nearfall points would not have been enough to force overtime.

Tournament madness was in the air because Gerlach was one of three 40-win wrestlers to lose Saturday night.

Wrestlers to repeat as state champions included Soldotna’s Jacob Strausbaugh, who won 125 this year after winning 112 last year; Cooke won 140 this year after winning 130 last year; Palmer’s Cody Vansiegman won 145 this year after winning 140 last year.

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