Wrestling preseason is already in full swing for the 10-time defending Region V champs. Senior Patrick Rauwolf took 2nd in state last year and is looking for revenge. “A few of us have gone to wrestling camps,” said Rauwolf. “We’ve also been in the weight room and on the mats a few times for pre season. A lot of the kids have been running to help keep their cardio up as well.” Every Tuesday and Wednesday, the Kings meet at the high school to condition and practice with one another. Senior Brayden Linne was selected as the most outstanding wrestler at regionals last year, and 17 people qualified for the state competition. Matthew Rodriguez, who won state his sophomore year, did not perform up to his potential last year. As his senior year approaches, Rodriguez plans to win his second state title threw hard work and dedication. “I want to give it my all. I’ve made some mistakes in past years, and want to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Rodriguez. “I am on a low carb diet, and am making sure I run at least 5 times a week. I currently weigh 140 and I’m going to be dropping down to the 125 weight class.” Senior Brandon Wieber, a 2x region champion, is looking forward to the returning members competing for a state title. “We have a bunch of seniors that I believe will place in state,” said Wieber. “Last year, we didn’t have a state champion, and I think this is the year for that to happen.” The team also has some young guys joining the team, and are getting a nod from the older seniors. “The season is looking good,” said Patrick Rauwolf. “A few freshmen that have come up have potential.” The Kings first wrestling meet will be on the 12th and 13th of Oct. at Petersburg.
Linne 2nd, Rauwolf 4th at State Two Kayhi wrestlers finished top 4 in the State Tournament over the weekend. Juniors Brayden Linne (2nd) and Patrick Rauwolf (4th) led the Kings who finished 7th out of 16. Linne trailed 4-1 after the first period to Christion Alexander (22-9) from Wasilla, but came back to win 8-4 to qualify for the finals. In the final match, he fell to Kobe Ames (34-5) from Lathrop. “Going into it, I knew that Ames was a very good wrestler,” said Linne. “I needed to get after him early and minimize my mistakes throughout the match, but I didn’t do a good job executing that and I lost because of it.” Linne said he’s glad to get a break, but he is already looking to redeem himself next season. “It was a fun season with lots of ups and downs, I am looking forward to a little bit of a break,” said Linne. “But I am going to work hard this off-season and try to end up in the finals next year with hopefully a different outcome.” Rauwolf went 2-2 at the meet and placed 4th in his 113-pound weight class. “Obviously the goal going into the tournament was to get into the finals– so I am frustrated because I know I could have done a better job overall,” said Rauwolf. “But I think the team did alright over the season under the circumstances of losing so many people. I am happy with the team’s outcome.” Kings split with Golden There was plenty of hype before one of the top 4A teams in Colorado showed up to Kayhi over the weekend, but the Kings showed they were up to the task. Kayhi squandered a 10-point halftime lead and dropped Friday’s game 62-60. Junior Marcus Lee said there were a lot of things they need to improve on but overall the team played fairly well. “The first game was a really close one. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but against a good team for our first games of the season, I think we played very well,” said Lee, who had a combined 53 points on the weekend. “The second game, I think what we did differently was how we played in the second half. We came out and didn’t let our foot off the gas and that is what we didn’t do the first game. So it was nice to get a win this week at home.” Kayhi led by 9 late in the 4th quarter, but Golden forced overtime. Lee put Kayhi up 72-70 with a 3-point play with 18.8 seconds left. After two Golden free throws, Chris Lee scored the game winner on a layup with seconds remaining.
Lady Kings go 2-1 in Sitka Junior Ashley Huffine hit six 3-pointers as the Lady Kings beat Bethel to open the Holland America Tournament in Sitka. Kayhi then crushed Houston 58-15 on the second night to set up a winner-take-all game against host Sitka. For the second year in a row, the Lady Wolves beat the Lady Kings on their home floor 46-40. Senior Captain Hannah Maxwell was proud of the team and how they played this weekend. “It was our first real test of the season and I’m very happy with the team’s performance,” said Maxwell. “We stayed together and played hard. At the end we made some little mistakes but nothing that can’t be fixed. I can’t wait to play them again.” Kayhi hosts Sitka on Jan. 26-27.
JV girls go 1-2, boys 0-3 at Klawock Invitational The Lady Kings JV team (1-2) earned its first win of the season over Thorne Bay Saturday at the Klawock Invitational. All players scored in a 57-0 win over the Wolverines. Both Kayhi teams started the tournament with losses to Hydaburg then host Klawock. The JV boys team had a brief lead late in its game against Thorne Bay, but lost.
The Kayhi wrestling team is competing in the state tournament in Anchorage this weekend. Kayhi junior, Matthew Rodriguez, said he is hoping to see the team do well at state. “I want to see everyone do as good as they possibly can,” said Rodriguez. “Personally I’m shooting for third.” Junior Brandon Weiber said he is excited to go to state for the second time in his wrestling career, and hopes to place this time. “I am pretty excited. I hope to see us get top five, maybe even top three, as a team,” said Weiber. “We have a couple kids that have a good chance at placing high and even being state finalists. I also hope to place in state, and I have a pretty good chance this year.” Coach Rick Collins said he is looking forward to see how his wrestlers perform in this year’s state tournament. “The state tournament is always the most exciting tournament of the year. It is very dramatic and there are some great matches. The whole thing is really exciting,” said Collins. “We’ve had a rough year with mostly injuries and some other issues, so we are going up lighter than we have in the past years, but I still expect some good performances. We have probably six or seven kids that are capable of placing in the tournament and if they do that we should actually place fairly high as a team.”
The Kayhi wrestling team won their tenth consecutive Region V title this weekend. The team scored a total of 203 points. Eleven wrestlers took first in the regional tournament, and 18 will participate in the state tournament next weekend in Anchorage. Junior Brayden Linne was named Most Outstanding wrestler for the second year in a row. Coach Rick Collins said he is very proud of the team’s success. “I think the guys did a great job. They wrestled really hard, and represented us really well,” said Collins. “They had some really tough matches, but they pushed through and it was really great to see that. We won our tenth title in a row, and we got the Sportsmanship Award again which is also great. I’m really proud of them for that.” Senior Joey Karlik won his first Region title of his career this weekend. “It feels really good because I put in so much work these past six years, and seeing something finally come out of it is really big for me,” said Karlik. “I hope to place in the state tournament, and possibly even take a state title too. This season really showed who was willing to actually go the distance, and it whittled out those who didn’t actually care about wrestling. Our team lost a lot of our big names and still came out on top.”
The Kayhi wrestling team is hosting the Region V tournament today Friday Dec. 8th, and tomorrow Saturday Dec. 9th. Every southeast team is participating, including the combined Juneau teams. The 3A and girls tournament will start Friday at 4 p.m., the 4A tournament will start Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and the finals will kick off at 7 Saturday night. Coach Rick Collins said that although the team isn’t what it used to be, they hope to have enough remaining wrestlers to take the Region title for the tenth year in a row. “We’ve got a lot of injuries still, and a lot of people dealing with disciplinary issues as well as people who quit,” said Collins. “Basically we’re just a shell of what we were supposed to be this year, but I’m really proud of the kids who’ve done the right thing and worked hard through the season. We’ve still got a good product and we still feel that we’ve got a shot at another region title.” Kayhi seniors Justin Albecker and Nate Eisenhower are both very excited for this year’s region tournament. Albecker said he hopes to see some wrestlers take first place. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all year. Post season is always my favorite time of year,” said Albecker. “I believe we will still have a great impact at regions, but we are a skeleton of the team we used to have. We’ll still have some state placers for sure though.” Eisenhower said he is excited that his last regions tournament is at home. “I have looked forward to my senior year of wrestling for a long time now, it is really exciting to have my last region tournament at home,” said Eisenhower. “I expect if the team performs up to their best capability, we’ll take home another title.”
The Kayhi wrestling team finished sixth at the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Invitational with 120.5 points. The Kings had five wrestlers place in the top four in their brackets. Junior Matthew Rodriguez (6-5) won his first tournament of the season in the 120 weight class. “It was good getting back on top. It was the first tournament of the year and I won,” said Rodriguez. “I’m ready for regions but, I still have some things I need to work on because I only won by one point in the finals against Conor Norman, and he’ll be my finals match in regions, too.”
1st and 2nd Place Wrestlers: Matthew Rodriguez – 120 Blaise Boor – 195
Fourteen Kayhi wrestlers are heading to Sitka this weekend for their last regular season tournament. All Region V teams will participate in exception of one team from Mount Hood, Oregon. Senior Joey Karlik said he hopes that this tournament will help him shake off any rust before regions. “The majority of our team is staying home because they would like to have a bigger break before regions,” said Karlik. “But I feel like I need to wrestle before then and I am rested enough to do that.”