Young Wrestlers Take to Mat for Final Tournament

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
Part of the Kodiak Kid Wrestling season will come to a close this weekend. The club wrestling organization will host its final tournament on Saturday, and Coach Kevin Lepola said it will be the season finale for the program’s younger wrestlers.
“We’ll put all the kids in age and weight brackets and let them wrestle out in kind of a round-robin style where everyone wrestles everyone else and points are awarded for pins or minor decisions, major decisions and then the points are tallied after everybody wrestles each other and come out with a winner, first place, second place, third place, and so on.”
Lepola said there will also be a handful of village wrestlers coming to town for Saturday’s tournament.
“I believe Old Harbor is bringing in a squad and I think Port Lions is bringing some kids in as well, which is always great. And their numbers vary from year to year. Sometimes we get a lot of kids from there and sometimes not as many as other years.”
The tournament will be the last for what Lepola calls the “short season,” but some of the older wrestlers, including middle and high school students, will continue on in the club’s extended season.
“That starts on Monday and it continues on through state which is the first weekend of May and it’s a lot more intense. It’s five and six days a week. We usually go on Saturdays and do a big run or go over some technique and like I said it’s a lot more intense. And it needed to be for preparation to go up to the valley or Anchorage and wrestle those teams as well.”He said the extended season typically includes wrestlers that are in the third grade and higher.
Lepola recently returned from the Tanana State Tournament with a group of middle school wrestlers. Of the six wrestlers that competed, four placed – two seventh graders and two eighth graders.
“Shaun Walton went toe-to-toe with the number one seed, and the number three seed and took them both into overtime. And to show you what a tough weight class that was, those two matches, along with another overtime match – it wasn’t even for a placement yet. It was just to put you in for the round so you could possibly place. So a pretty stacked weight group. And Josh Nummer, he took 6th place, and Gabe Nummer, his brother, took 5th place. And Brayden Stevens took 8th place. So really good for those guys and some tough weight classes and great experience for them.”
Shaun Walton ended up with a 5th place finish overall.
As for Saturday’s tournament here in Kodiak, younger kids will start wrestling at 9 a.m. at the Main Elementary gym and older kids, those above the second grade, will join in around 10 a.m.

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