A shorthanded Thunder Mountain High School wrestling team finished in fifth place in the Sitka Scramble at Sitka High on Saturday.
Mt. Edgecumbe High School placed first in the wrestling meet with 522 points to lead Sitka (157 points), Wrangell (148), Petersburg (132.5), Thunder Mountain (73), Metlakatla (68), Haines (27), Hydaburg (11) and Thorne Bay (10).
Derek Mason, Steven Ireland-Haight and Camden Erickson gave the team a boost, but only a modest one as neither Kadin Messmer or Nick Tipton were able to finish out the tournament. Messmer, a freshman, didn’t make weight and Tipton, a junior, injured himself in a second-round match.
“This isn’t a real good measure of where we’re at as a team because we only brought six kids and we only got four kids wrestling,” TMHS coach Josh Houston said.
The team is composed of 15 wrestlers, all of whom are expected to compete at this weekend’s Region V Championships at TMHS.
Mason strung together four straight victories to top the 215-pound field. After winning two of the first three matches by pins, Mason needed three overtimes for a 2-1 tiebreaker win over Metlakatla’s Conrad Hudson.
Mason’s earned one point for an escape in double overtime period, which proved to be the difference in the match. The first overtime is sudden death and one-minute long, while the second and third overtimes are just 30 seconds. (A normal match consists of three, two-minute periods.)
“I was kind of tired and I just didn’t really want to take any shots or go extremely hard,” Mason said. “It was a good match though.”
Ireland-Haight finished in second place in the 171-pound weight class, losing a 6-4 decision to Petersburg’s Koren Sperl in the final. After going 3-0 in his pool, Ireland-Haight automatically advanced to the final because of Tipton’s injury forfeit. Houston said it’s likely one of the two 171 pounders will come away with the region title. Tipton’s had the upperhand thus far, but Ireland-Haight has been coming on strong as of late.
“Steven’s having a good tournament, he seems to be turning it on here toward the end of the season,” Houston said.
Tipton is known for his unmatched work ethic. The junior was named the team’s most improved member last season.
“He’s night and day from the kid he was last year,” Houston said.
In his 189-pound weight class, Wrangell’s Dillon Rooney pinned Erickson at the end of the first period.
“He was a little bit stronger,” said Erickson, who pinned his first two opponents, Kamakana Kanahele, of Haines, and John Welsh, of Sitka.
Freshman Caleb Paddock lost four matches to finish in seventh place in the 140-pound bracket.
The Falcons now prepare for the Region V meet, which crowns a Division I (4A) and Division II (Class 1A/2A/3A) champion. The Division I title will be between Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan, while Mt. Edgecumbe, Craig, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Klawock, Metlakatla and Haines will fight for the Division II crown.
Ketchikan has won 10 straight region titles. Mt. Edgecumbe has won the last two Division II region crowns.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.