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Ketchikan wins Bill Weiss Tournament: Hayley Gilson, Taylor Sullivan, Degan Linne, Charlie Blair and Brock Thomas victorious in finals
Ketchikan High School’s Brock Thomas, right, and John Call face-off on Saturday during the boys’ 135-pound finals match at the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament in Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

Hayley Gilson couldn’t breathe.

Locked in a head and arm maneuver from defending state champion Ruby Massin, and unable to see the clock or hear the crowd count down the seconds, Gilson was doing everything she could to keep herself from lying flat on the mat.

“’Don’t get pinned,’” she was thinking to herself. “‘I’m not going to get pinned. I’m not going to get pinned. I need to win this match.’”

Ahead 9-2 in the third round of the 135-pound girls’ final of the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament, Gilson needed to hang on for nearly 20 seconds.

“I just had to keep scooting to stay off my shoulder through the 20 seconds,” she said. “I was just fighting. I was like, ‘It’s OK. I got 10 more seconds. I cannot breathe for 10 more seconds. I got it.’”

Gilson’s inner voice rang true, and the Ketchikan High School sophomore wrestler hung on for victory over her opponent from Petersburg High School.

Although Massin received points for the maneuver, it wasn’t enough. And Gilson won by a 9-6 decision, handing Ketchikan 22 of its eventual 201 overall tallies in the tournament.

Saturday night’s crowd at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium erupted as her arm was raised in triumph.

Exhausted, Gilson walked over to head coach Rick Collins for a high-five.

“She gutted it out,” Collins said afterward.  “I was really proud of her.”

The dramatic victory over the defending state champion gave reason for the head coaches from all 12 high schools at the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament to vote Gilson as the most outstanding wrestler for the girls’ 130- to 160-pound weight classes.

“Hayley has just been on a mission,” Collins said. “It was an exciting match. It’s her third or fourth time she’s beaten (Massin) now, and (she’s) a defending state champion from last year. So Hayley’s got a real good future ahead of her. I feel like she’s definitely got a great shot at winning a state title this year.

“She’s a ton of fun to watch wrestle,” he continued. “She’s got great energy and a perfect attitude. It’s just been a pleasure to coach her.”

Gilson was one of five Ketchikan wrestlers to win a finals match, and one of 10 to compete in the championship rounds.

The team’s 201 points was enough to give the First City the top spot in its lone home tournament this season — 47 more tallies than the second-place Glennallen High School Panthers.

“This has been the toughest competition we’ve had all year,” Collins said. “This was a meat grinder. You start sprinkling Glennallen in here — I mean, some of the weight classes had three or four state placers in them. ... So that was good. That’s good for our kids to go through all of that.”

Glennallen entered the weekend’s tournament as the top-seeded Division II school in the state.

“I was real impressed with (them),” Collins said. “They were as advertised. They’re real solid.”

That said, Ketchikan’s Degan Linne outdueled the Panthers’ Keegan Delaquito in the boys’ 119-pound final, winning by decision, 2-0.

The two grapplers had never mixed it up on the mat before.

“I knew that (Glennallen’s team) was pretty good,” Linne said. “(But) you can’t look at your opponent too much. ... As soon as I get out there, I’m ready.”

Linne lunged at Delaquito from the get-go, and maintained control throughout the bout.

And as the clock wound down, Linne knew the match was his.

“(He) was super calm, in control and collected,” Collins said.

Just as Gilson had done, Linne won the most outstanding wrestler award for the boys’ 103- to 140-pound weight classes.

“He wasn’t really in doubt too often,” Collins said about his victory over Glennallen.

Ketchikan’s Charlie Blair won the 140-pound final — a 6-1 decision over Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s Ethan Cooke.

And Brock Thomas defeated Ketchikan teammate John Call in the 135-pound weight class final.

“We ended up with two of our guys (in that match),” Collins said. “It’s too bad. ... It’s kind of tough to have them wrestle each other. But they both wrestled hard; I’m very proud of both of them.”

Ketchikan’s Taylor Sullivan won the girls’ 119-pound final over Mt. Edgecumbe’s Cheyeen Murphy, in a 2-1 decision.

“I’m really pleased with Taylor,” Collins said. “She’s learning, just getting started. It was a good bracket for her — a lot of kids pretty closely matched. And she just gutted it out. Every match she won was a tough one.”

Having to battle was a consistent theme throughout the finals competitions.

And even though Ketchikan’s Kristian Kellogg (boys’ 103-pound), Andy Collins (boys’ 152-pound), Sully Schulz (boys’ 171-pound) and Ada Odden (girls’ 125-pound) came up short on their respective championship bouts, the grit still was there.

“We always (say) a loss is not a loss, unless you let it be (one). Like, if you let yourself be defeated,” Rick Collins said. “But if you learn from your loss, clean some things up, work harder, etc. — then it’s not a loss. It’s improvement.”

And even though Ketchikan came out on top this weekend, its head coach always sees room for improvement.

That said, he’s also pretty pleased.

“You want to have micro peaks throughout the season,” Rick Collins said. “But you don’t want to peak now. You do want to be in midseason form now, and I feel that we are.”

Notes: Schools from across Southeast competed in the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament, as well as Glennallen.

In addition to Ketchikan, Mt. Edgecumbe, Petersburg and Glennallen high schools, wrestling teams from Thunder Mountain, Wrangell, Craig, Sitka, Haines, Hydaburg, Metlakatla and Thorne Bay also competed.

Here are the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament finals results:

Saturday, Nov. 2

Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament

Boys Final Results


1st Place — Carson Cummins (Thunder Mountain)

2nd Place — Kristian Kellogg (Ketchikan)

3rd Place — Merrick Nilsen (Petersburg)

4th Place — Jacen Hay (Wrangell)

1st Place Match

Carson Cummins (Thunder Mountain) won by fall over Kristian Kellogg (Ketchikan) (Fall 2:48)

3rd Place Match

Merrick Nilsen (Petersburg) won by fall over Jacen Hay (Wrangell) (Fall 1:25)


1st Place — Kadin Messmer (Thunder Mountain)

2nd Place — Colton Ewers (Sitka)

3rd Place — Dayton Hoblet (Mt. Edgecumbe)

4th Place — Brayden Gentry (Ketchikan)

1st Place Match

Kadin Messmer (Thunder Mountain) won by fall over Colton Ewers (Sitka) (Fall 5:40)

3rd Place Match

Dayton Hoblet (Mt. Edgecumbe) won by fall over Brayden Gentry (Ketchikan) (Fall 4:58)


1st Place — Degan Linne (Ketchikan)

2nd Place — Keegan Delaquito (Glennallen)

3rd Place — Jonah Comstock (Wrangell)

4th Place — Tyson Olsen (Mt. Edgecumbe)

1st Place Match

Degan Linne (Ketchikan) won by decision over Keegan Delaquito (Glennallen) (Dec 2-0)

3rd Place Match

Jonah Comstock (Wrangell) won by decision over Tyson Olsen (Mt. Edgecumbe) (Dec 15-9)


1st Place — Ryan Rooney (Wrangell)

2nd Place — Jordan Korth (Glennallen)

3rd Place — Emilio Mangrobang (Mt. Edgecumbe)

4th Place — Kai Biagi (Ketchikan)

1st Place Match

Ryan Rooney (Wrangell) won by decision over Jordan Korth (Glennallen) (Dec 10-3)

3rd Place Match

Emilio Mangrobang (Mt. Edgecumbe) won by decision over Kai Biagi (Ketchikan) (Dec 4-0)


1st Place — Alex Buck (Glennallen)

2nd Place — Llloydy Ayojiak (Mt. Edgecumbe)

3rd Place — Kolin Houthoofd (Ketchikan)

4th Place — Happy Schomaker (Ketchikan)

1st Place Match

Alex Buck (Glennallen) won by fall over Llloydy Ayojiak (Mt. Edgecumbe) (Fall 5:03)

3rd Place Match

Kolin Houthoofd (Ketchikan) won by fall over Happy Schomaker (Ketchikan) (Fall 0:47)


1st Place — Brock Thomas (Ketchikan)

2nd Place — John Call (Ketchikan)

3rd Place — Rogan Hanson (Craig)

4th Place — Hank Maxwell (Sitka)

1st Place Match

Brock Thomas (Ketchikan) won by fall over John Call (Ketchikan) (Fall 1:55)

3rd Place Match

Rogan Hanson (Craig) won by decision over Hank Maxwell (Sitka) (Dec 6-2)


1st Place — Charlie Blair (Ketchikan)

2nd Place — Ethan Cooke (Mt. Edgecumbe)

3rd Place — Chase Foster (Thunder Mountain)

4th Place — Brennan Garcia (Glennallen)

1st Place Match

Charlie Blair (Ketchikan) won by decision over Ethan Cooke (Mt. Edgecumbe) (Dec 6-1)

3rd Place Match

Chase Foster (Thunder Mountain) won by fall over Brennan Garcia (Glennallen) (Fall 1:09)


1st Place — Aengus Bancroft (Glennallen)

2nd Place — Zorion Ensign (Craig)

3rd Place — Ben Tabb (Ketchikan)

4th Place — Willis Washington (Hydaburg)

1st Place Match

Aengus Bancroft (Glennallen) won by fall over Zorion Ensign (Craig) (Fall 2:34)

3rd Place Match

Ben Tabb (Ketchikan) won by fall over Willis Washington (Hydaburg) (Fall 3:32)


1st Place — Hunter Wiederspohn (Wrangell)

2nd Place — Andy Collins (Ketchikan)

3rd Place — Austin Cramer (Glennallen)

4th Place — Ruben Hoppe (Craig)

1st Place Match

Hunter Wiederspohn (Wrangell) won by decision over Andy Collins (Ketchikan) (Dec 14-9)

3rd Place Match

Austin Cramer (Glennallen) over Ruben Hoppe (Craig)


1st Place — Wayland Patten (Craig)

2nd Place — Moses Korth (Glennallen)

3rd Place — Seth Webb (Ketchikan)

4th Place — Sage Richards (Thunder Mountain)

1st Place Match

Wayland Patten (Craig) won by tech fall over Moses Korth (Glennallen) (TF 19-4)

3rd Place Match

Seth Webb (Ketchikan) won by fall over Sage Richards (Thunder Mountain) (Fall 2:37)


1st Place — Luke Wegand (Craig)

2nd Place — Sully Schulz (Ketchikan)

3rd Place — Rowen Wiederspohn (Wrangell)

4th Place — David Scott (Glennallen)

1st Place Match

Luke Wegand (Craig) won by fall over Sully Schulz (Ketchikan) (Fall 3:23)

3rd Place Match

Rowen Wiederspohn (Wrangell) won by fall over David Scott (Glennallen) (Fall 3:07)


1st Place — Nick Tipton (Thunder Mountain)

2nd Place — Kael Gerlach (Glennallen)

3rd Place — Chris Harris (Ketchikan)

4th Place — Adam Ware (Petersburg)

1st Place Match

Nick Tipton (Thunder Mountain) won by decision over Kael Gerlach (Glennallen) (Dec 7-6)

3rd Place Match

Chris Harris (Ketchikan) won by fall over Adam Ware (Petersburg) (Fall 1:26)


1st Place — Camden Erickson (Thunder Mountain)

2nd Place — Maximus Johnson (Sitka)

3rd Place — Gabe VanVeen (Sitka)

4th Place — Vincent Trujillo (Ketchikan)

1st Place Match

Camden Erickson (Thunder Mountain) won by fall over Maximus Johnson (Sitka) (Fall 3:45)

3rd Place Match

Gabe VanVeen (Sitka) won by fall over Vincent Trujillo (Ketchikan) (Fall 1:30)


1st Place — Wesley Verhamme (Haines)

2nd Place — Kyle Biggers (Petersburg)

3rd Place — Hunter Littlefield (Sitka)

4th Place — Alex Johnson (Sitka)

1st Place Match

Wesley Verhamme (Haines) won by fall over Kyle Biggers (Petersburg) (Fall 0:54)

3rd Place Match

Hunter Littlefield (Sitka) won by fall over Alex Johnson (Sitka) (Fall 0:34)


Girls Final Results


1st Place — Jillian Afcan (Mt. Edgecumbe)

2nd Place — Deirdre Toyomura (Petersburg)

3rd Place — Louisse Beuno (Ketchikan)

4th Place — Autumn Elsner (Ketchikan)

1st Place Match

Jillian Afcan (Mt. Edgecumbe) won by fall over Deirdre Toyomura (Petersburg) (Fall 2:26)

3rd Place Match

Louisse Beuno (Ketchikan) won by fall over Autumn Elsner (Ketchikan) (Fall 5:04)


1st Place — Taylor Sullivan (Ketchikan)

2nd Place — Cheyenne Murphy (Mt. Edgecumbe)

3rd Place — Savannah Washington (Hydaburg)

4th Place — Leslie McCarty (Metlakatla)

1st Place Match

Taylor Sullivan (Ketchikan) won by decision over Cheyenne Murphy (Mt. Edgecumbe) (Dec 2-1)

3rd Place Match

Savannah Washington (Hydaburg) won by fall over Leslie McCarty (Metlakatla) (Fall 0:24)


1st Place — Liana Carney (Wrangell)

2nd Place — Ada Odden (Ketchikan)

3rd Place — Amanda Worhatch (Thunder Mountain)

4th Place — Maliyah Moultrie (Mt. Edgecumbe)

1st Place Match

Liana Carney (Wrangell) won by fall over Ada Odden (Ketchikan) (Fall 3:30)

3rd Place Match

Amanda Worhatch (Thunder Mountain) won by fall over Maliyah Moultrie (Mt. Edgecumbe) (Fall 1:18)


1st Place — Hayley Gilson (Ketchikan)

2nd Place — Ruby Massin (Petersburg)

3rd Place — Jamie Early (Wrangell)

4th Place — McKayla Kazingnuk (Mt. Edgecumbe)

1st Place Match

Hayley Gilson (Ketchikan) won by decision over Ruby Massin (Petersburg) (Dec 9-6)

3rd Place Match

Jamie Early (Wrangell) won by fall over McKayla Kazingnuk (Mt. Edgecumbe) (Fall 1:55)


1st Place — Dakota Magnuson (Mt. Edgecumbe)

2nd Place — Haley Lynch (Metlakatla)

3rd Place — Makena Johansen (Ketchikan)

1st Place Match

Dakota Magnuson (Mt. Edgecumbe) won by fall over Haley Lynch (Metlakatla) (Fall 5:23)

3rd Place Match

Makena Johansen (Ketchikan) received a bye.

*Names and results courtesy of TrackWrestling.com.