The Nome Wrestling Invite took place this past weekend and saw the Nanooks leave their first tournament of the season with eight individual wins total between both the middle and high school teams. Five of them were by fall-over.
The Nome-Beltz Junior and Senior High teams competed against wrestlers from around the region including Kotzebue, Savoonga, and Shishmaref. Dudley Homelvig, the Nanook’s wrestling coach, says he expects that substantial progress will be made throughout this season.
“We got a pretty young crew – it’s the most bodies we’ve had in probably twenty-five years, so we’re gonna make mistakes and lose matches, but a lot of progress was made, I think. We’ll see how it goes…”
Although he didn’t highlight any specific standout performances or athletes, Homelvig says the main thing he wants this season is to make sure his team continues to progress and work hard, doing their best.
“We’re just having a good time. We’ve got all these fresh faces, you know, and eager and hardworking, and I’ve got a bunch of my former wrestlers helping out. We’ve got great volunteers and we’re got a bunch of parents serious about fundraising, so I’m a happy camper at the moment.”
According to varsity finals’ results from the tourney, Nome had six winners: Karlin Ahwinona-Smith by major decision in the 125-weight class, Jj Marble by fall-over in the 135-weight class, Natalie Tobuk by decision in the girls’ 119-weight class, Ava Earthman by fall-over in the girls 125-weight class, Elden Cross by fall-over in the 152-weight class, and Georgia Ustaszewski by fall-over in the girls 145-weight class.
Shaktoolik had three winners: Kaden Jackson by fall-over in the 103-weight class, Dean Paniptchuk by decision in the 112-weight class, and Taylor Kulukhon by fall-over in the 119-weight class.
Galena had one winner: Kevin Long in the 130-weight class.
Gambell had one winner: Nikolai Avalnun by fall-over in the 145-weight class.
Kotzebue had two winners: Peter Nelson by fall-over in the 160-weight class, and Candace Wilson by fall-over in the girls’ 160-weight class.
Savoonga had one winner: Derek Seppilu by fall-over in the 215-weight class.
Unalakleet had one winner: Lexi Ivanoff by fall-over in the 189-weight class.
The Nanook wrestlers will look to continue their early season success as they travel to Kotzebue this weekend.
Image at top: Nanook wrestling. Photo from Emily Russel, KNOM file.