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By JOE JUDD
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School wrestling team turned in another first-place team performance over the weekend at the Clarke Cochrane Gym.
Hosting the annual Bill Weiss Invitational, the Kings came together to earn a total of 256 team points, putting them well ahead of second-place Craig High School, which earned 134.5 points during the weekend tournament.
Wrangell High School came in third place overall, with 99 points. Thunder Mountain (99), Metlakatla (63), Sitka (62), Klawock (51), Haines (34), Petersburg (24) and Hydaburg (4) high schools took fourth place through 10th place.
The Invitational victory at home is the third consecutive meet win in as many competitions for Kayhi, which also saw a number of quality individual performances against Southeast Alaska’s wrestling talent.
Kayhi junior Patrick Rauwolf defeated Nate Houston of Thunder Mountain via technical fall in just over five minutes with a final mark of 17-1.
The win guaranteed Rauwolf a first-place finish in the 113-pound weight group.
Rauwolf’s teammate and fellow-junior Mark Jasper took on Kayhi freshman Andy Collins and defeated him to take first place in the 126-pound weight class in two-and-a-half minutes via fall.
Senior Max Collins claimed the top spot in the 152-pound weight class by defeating Wrangell’s Hunter Wiederspohn in an 8-3 decision.
Collins said the weekend was a very emotional one for him.
“We have such a huge senior class,” Collins said. “It’s just hard to see how far we’ve come as a team. It’s pretty great to see people finish strong; I’m proud of what I’ve done here.”
The senior said he looks forward to the day when his time at Kayhi is up so he can reflect upon the time and dedication he has put into his wrestling career.
Kayhi’s many seniors were honored with a ceremony prior to the onset of Saturday night’s festivities, as it would be their final home wrestling meet of their high school careers, with the exception of the Region V meet, which is scheduled to take place on Dec.
Kayhi head coach Rick Collins, wielding a microphone in one hand and a list in the other, took the floor to introduce his large senior class to the home supporters.
One-by-one, as the seniors were introduced alongside their parents, Collins gave an anecdote about each one of them, and called upon some favorite memories he's had of them over the years, before finishing up with proclaiming each of their individual aspirations after high school.
Collins said earlier in the week that he has known many of his senior class since they were in kindergarten and that it was an emotional experience for him.
In the 182-pound weight group, senior Cameron Harris took down Wrangell’s Dillon Rooney in a 7-2 decision, putting him in the top spot for his respective class.
Rounding out the set of championship matches in the 285-pound weight group was senior Joey Rhoads, who beat Nathan Haas of Haines by fall in 23 seconds, claiming the final first-place slot of another Bill Weiss Invitational.
“I wanted to come out and represent us and do the best I can do,” Rhoads said just after winning his match. “I feel like I showed that.”
Kayhi’s Charlie Blair took second place in the 120-pound weight class.
The Kings will be in action once again on Nov. 3-4 at the Colony Tournament.