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By A.J. JANKOWSKI
Daily News Sports Editor
It took Cody Ring more than four hours of waiting, and fewer than two minutes of wrestling, to win.
The Bill Weiss Invitational wrestling tournament began Friday at 4 p.m., and the Kayhi heavyweight was slated to wrestle in the second-to-last bout of the day.
Patient yet anxious, Ring sat inside the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium and waited until just after 8:30 for his time to come.
When his name finally was called, Ring stepped into the circle and promptly turned Sitka’s Chatham Conner on his back, pinning him late in the first period.
Just like that, Ring’s day was done.
"It was awesome," he said. "Well, I didn’t like having to sit around all day, but it was awesome just to get out there and wrestle."
Ring’s fall capped off a day that saw the Ketchikan High School wrestling team notch five pins and stay in good shape heading into Day 2 Saturday.
"We did OK," said head coach Bill McLaughlin. "We wrestled hard, and we did what we needed to do. There were some nerves. It’s the first time (this year) with three mats, in a big gym in front of their whole family. We’ve got to work through it, and not let the nerves get the most of you."
Seventeen schools sent grapplers to Kayhi, and some weight classes had as many as 20 wrestlers in its bracket. With all of the commotion and varying levels of talent, McLaughlin said his message to the Kings was to not overlook any opponent.
"The message is that you have to be ready to wrestle," he said. "These guys (1A-3A schools) have been doing this for seven weeks, and we’re in Week 2. You’ve got to get warmed up, and you have to have your head in the right place. You’ve got to respect everyone that walks out onto the mat against you."
Less than 24 hours after losing a hard-fought bout to Wrangell’s Tanner Thomassen, Kayhi’s Joe Chadwell bounced back to defeat the Wolves’ Jake Marshall in round one of the 145-pound bracket.
The match did not come without its tense moments, however, and turned out to be closer than the final score indicated. After escaping early in the third period to go up 5-1, Chadwell and Jackson got into a scramble, and at one point, the senior appeared close to getting turned.
However, Chadwell recovered, did not yield any more points, and finished Jackson off with another takedown to win 7-1.
After the match, McLaughlin said he had been sure his senior would find a way to win.
"Joe pretty much always knows where he’s at. Two years ago, yeah, I would have been scared to death," he said. "Was he in bad position? Yes. Would I prefer he not get in that position? Yes, but I had confidence he get through it."
Dalton Spear continued to put together consecutive solid performances to open his senior campaign. Against Craig’s Roy Burnham, Spear scored three takedowns and five back points, not allowing a bloody nose halfway through the bout to stop him from scoring a 12-3 major decision.
McLaughlin said Spear’s ability to score, and more importantly not get scored on, was what impressed him most about the match.
"Dalton had a tough match — Burnham is a dangerous wrestler," the coach said. "Dalton wrestled a very smart match. He wasn’t flashy. He didn’t win by 15 points. But there was no point in that match where you looked and thought Dalton was in trouble."
That awareness has come with time, McLaughlin said.
"In the past, I don’t know he would have done that," he said. "That’s maturity, knowing he didn’t need to hit certain moves. All he had to do was get a couple takedowns, and then wrestle smart and walk off the mat with a ‘W.’"
The second and final day of the tournament starts Saturday at 9 a.m. with finals starting under the spotlight at 7 p.m. For the Kayhi grapplers who pushed through to Saturday, McLaughlin reaffirmed his philosophy that the effort given outweighs the final result.
"I tell them all the time," he said, "that when the match is over — win or lose — that doesn’t matter as much as being able to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Yeah, I did everything I could.’"
Kayhi results from Day 1
Trevor Wutzke (KTN) pins Alphonsus Pete (Mt. Edgecumbe)
Marcus Martin (KTN) maj. dec. Edwin Meyer (Thunder Mountain), 17-6
Kadin Hallstrom (KTN) maj. dec. Edwin Meyer (TM), 16-2
Tanner Thain (CRG) pins Kyle Schnur (KTN) 0:15
Tell Tripple (TB) dec. Keenan Spencer (KTN), 10-7
Napolean Media (KTN) dec. Ben Rockwood (YAK), 11-9
Napolean Media (KTN) pins Kory Joe (MTE)
Isaac Lontz (KTN) pins Hunter Boyer (TM) 0:51
Jaren Sumuang (SIT) pins Hitsati Hudson (KTN) 3:10
Corbin Gaube (MET) pins Mikail Bolshakoff (KTN) 2:30
Riley Moser (JD) pins Bryce May (KTN) 3:34
Malik Brown (JD) pins Ian Winter (KTN) 2:41
Joe Chadwell (KTN) dec. Jake Marshall (WRG), 7-1
Dalton Spear (KTN) maj. dec. Roy Burnham (CRG), 12-3
Luther Jenson (TB) pins Wilbur Fisher (KTN) 1:31
Craig DeBoer (KTN) maj. dec. Tristan Rowan (KLW), 15-6
Kohl Hallmann (KTN) pins Lianno Vejar (TM)
Christophe Journey (MTE) pins Jake Stout (KTN)
Elliot Anderson (SIT) pins Jayson Frizzell (KTN)
Josh Stearns (HNS) pins Caleb Ford (KTN)
Cody Ring (KTN) pins Chatham Conner (SIT)