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Ketchikan grapples at Lancer tourney
Ketchikan High School’s Happy Schomaker, right, grapples with Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s Lloydy Ayojiak on Nov. 1 during the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

It was full day of wrestling for the Ketchikan High School squad on Friday — and the same could be said for more than 50 other schools from around the state — as the Lancer Smith Memorial Tournament kicked off Friday morning.

Ketchikan is one of 58 high schools competing on the mat in the Mat-Su Valley at the Menard Sports Complex in Wasilla.

“This tournament is such a grind,” Ketchikan head coach Rick Collins said. “The level of competition is a big jump.”

Weigh-ins began at 7:30 a.m., and it was non-stop action throughout the day. It will be a repeat performance on Saturday morning, as the two-day event will continue until the final rounds on Saturday evening.

The girls’ squad is guaranteed to have a pair of grapplers in the final rounds, as both Hayley Gilson and Ada Odden advanced.

Ketchikan’s Ruby McCue and Taylor Sullivan also are still alive on the backside of their respective weight class tournaments.

“Hayley and Ada were dominant all the way through,” Collins said.

Collins split his boys’ squad in half, between the varsity and junior varsity tournaments. Nearly 300 wrestlers are competing in the junior varsity tournament.

“It’s typically a really tough tournament,” Collins said. “(Several) state placers wrestle in it. ... Half our boys that we brought up are in that tournament, and we did that to get them more matches.”

Connor Ray made the most of his opportunity in the junior varsity bracket on Friday, as the sopohomore wrestler advanced to the 171-pound finals. And Ben Tabb made it to the 145-pound semifinals.

Both Degan Linne and Andy Collins wrestled in the varisty tournament. But neither were able to advance past the quarterfinals.

“Degan’s got a shot on the backside (of his weight bracket) to place,” Rick Collins said.

Linne is wrestling in the 119-pound weight class. Andy Collins is in the 152-pound weight class.

“It’s a real deep weight class,” Rick Collins said. “And Andy’s in the same position as Degan.”

Ketchikan’s Kai Biagi, Brock Thomas, Charlie Blair and Kolin Houthoofd also are alive on the backside of their respective weight brackets.

“We had some bad luck, some bad matches,” Rick Collins said. “But nobody’s eliminated yet, so that’s good.”

Ketchikan will hope to bounce back on Saturday.

“We’re a very young team, and it showed a little bit today,” Rick Collins said. “(But it’s a) new day tomorrow, and we’ll get after it.”

Thursday’s matches

Ketchikan wrestled in a dual meet against Wasilla High School on Thursday. Wasilla won 59-15.

Despite falling to Wasilla, several Kings recorded victories.

Ketchikan’s Luke Rauwolf won by fall over Wasilla’s Conner Trouy. Both Houthoofd and Andy Collins won their matches, as well.

Plenty of competition

Teams from Ketchikan to Barrow High School — and everywhere in between — made the trek to Wasilla for the Lancer Smith Memorial Tournament.

In addition to the First City’s squad, Thunder Mountain, Mt. Edgecumbe, Sitka and Petersburg traveled from Southeast.

The tournament also gives Ketchikan an opportunity to see its state competition from Anchorage, as both East and South Anchorage high schools are participating this weekend.

Teams from Seward, Lathrop and Palmer high schools also are competing. Palmer is hosting the meet.