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Kotzebue Bush Brawl Recap: Nome Wrestlers, From Elementary to High School, Bring Home Wins

A referee stands in front of two young women in purple and yellow wrestling on a purple mat
Nome's Starr Erikson takes on a Bethel wrestler at the 2017 Nome Wrestling Invite (Photo: Janeen Sullivan, used with permission)

Nome-Beltz Middle School and High School wrestlers scored multiple wins last weekend at the Kotzebue Bush Brawl.

Overall, 7 middle school wrestlers from Nome competed in six finals matches, and Nome won each match. Hayden Leeper and Son Erikson both competed in large brackets with 13 wrestlers in their separate weight classes. According to coach Charlie Cross, Leeper’s toughest competition was his semi-final match against opponent Kodi Green of Kotzebue, which he won 7-5.

Erikson won all four of his matches, earning first place for his weight class. Duke McGuffey went head to head with Ryan Nashoanak of Stebbins, winning by major decision. Lucas Marvin, Ethan Hannon, and Karlin Ahwinona-Smith each won in their separate final matches.

As for the Nome high schoolers, Paris Hebel defeated Wasilla’s Christian Ewing 8-0. Caleb Evatt bumped up a weight class in the finals, facing Charlie Severance (Wasilla). Evatt defeated Severance, who was ranked number 2 in the state for the 130 weight class. Ben Cross faced fellow Nome teammate Tobin Hobbs in their final and took home the win. For the 152 weight class, Elden Cross was the champion over opponent Richard Hankinson of Noorvik.

Georgianna Ustaszewski took first place after winning over each of her three opponents.

Starr Erikson went undefeated in the Women’s Monster Bash Tournament at South Anchorage High, snagging first place against her competition from Colony and Wasilla.

Next up for the Nome Beltz wrestlers is the Anchorage Christian Schools Tournament on November 9 and 10.


Nome Elementary School sent the largest team in recent history to Kotzebue for the 2018 Bush Brawl. Twenty-six Nome wrestlers in grades 1-5 competed in the tournament.

Elementary Coach Larry Pederson says the team was represented in each of the 12 weight class championship matches, with 8 overall champions and 5 runners up.

Takine home first-place wins were Jamin Amaktoolik, Peyton Lewis, Young Erikson, Lane Schuerch, Danny Amaktoolik, Levi Pederson, Trent Osborne, and Treydon Thomas.

Of the 26 Nome Elementary wrestlers, a total of 18 placed.

Image at top: file photo: Nome’s Starr Erikson takes on a Bethel wrestler at the 2017 Nome Wrestling Invite. Photo: Janeen Sullivan, used with permission.

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