Thunder Mountain High School wrestling team’s Jahrease Mays poses with the 125-pound bracket at the Region V Division I championship meet at Craig High School on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2019. Mays was one of eight Falcons that claimed bracket championships. Other winners were Carson Cummins (103), Kadin Messmer (112), Jamal Johnson (145), Sage Richards (160), Nick Tipton (189), Camden Erickson (215) and Jake Ferster (285). (Courtesy Photo | Josh Houston)

Thunder Mountain High School wrestling team’s Jahrease Mays poses with the 125-pound bracket at the Region V Division I championship meet at Craig High School on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2019. Mays was one of eight Falcons that claimed bracket championships. Other winners were Carson Cummins (103), Kadin Messmer (112), Jamal Johnson (145), Sage Richards (160), Nick Tipton (189), Camden Erickson (215) and Jake Ferster (285). (Courtesy Photo | Josh Houston)

Thunder Mountain tries unseating defending champs at regions

Falcons to send 11 to state meet

The Thunder Mountain High School wrestling team couldn’t quite unseat 11-time champion-reigning Ketchikan High School at the Region V Wrestling Champions.

Despite holding an 8-6 edge over Ketchikan in the championship round, the Falcons gave up too many points in the semifinal matches to secure the Region V Division I championship on Saturday at Craig High School. With seven fewer wrestlers in the tournament, the Falcons were at a disadvantage before they even stepped on the mats, losing 201-183 to Ketchikan.

Mt. Edgecumbe High School had 180 points to win the Region V Division II meet. Sitka scored 152.4 points for second place, Wrangell had 140 points for third place and Petersburg had 128 points for fourth.

“I told them after the meet that really we outwrestled Ketchikan, we did better than them, they just purely beat us on numbers,” TMHS coach Josh Houston said.

All eight of the Falcon’s individual champions pinned their finals opponent. Those winners were Carson Cummins (103), Kadin Messmer (112), Jahrease Mays (125), Jamal Johnson (145), Sage Richards (160), Nick Tipton (189), Camden Erickson (215) and Jake Ferster (285). All but two of the champs advanced straight to the finals with only one or two other wrestlers in their respective brackets.

“We’re trying to get pins to get as many points as we can and we’ve been really preaching that for the last couple weeks about getting those bonus points,” Houston said.

Erickson (20-0) was named the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament. The 215-pounder has now won every tournament he’s entered this season. Cummins (23-3), Messmer (22-4), Mays (11-1) and Tipton (24-2) had also won prior tournaments coming into Saturday.

Mays’ only loss of the season came last month at the Lancer Smith Memorial Tournament, and his goal is to win his first state championship next weekend. The Falcons will take 11 wrestlers to next weekend’s state meet in Anchorage. To qualify, the Falcons needed to finish first or second Saturday.

“I know what I need to work on,” Mays said. “Conditioning always helps, just being able to push the pace constantly, that will help me win matches for sure. And then, working on my top game.”

Houston has a good feeling about the Falcons’ chances next weekend.

“I think we’ll have several placers up there this year,” he said.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


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