Kotzebue grapplers dominate Bush Brawl
Earlier in the season, Mark Angelo Mangabat Salta walked off the mat at the King of the Mountain Tournament in Seward and said he needed to make some improvements if he was going to get to the point in his career he wanted. The Kotzebue High School senior showed plenty of the improvements he had worked on this past weekend en route to helping the Huskies ride herd on the field at the 2017 Bush Brawl Wrestling Tournament.
Salta was among 20 Husky wrestlers to walk away from Western Alaska's largest tournament with precious hardware. Backed by that medal count, Kotzebue easily edged out more than 15 other teams from across the region for the team title.
Salta capped his effort at the tournament with a rousing win in the championship round of the 152-pound division. He defeated Gambell's Ashton Aningayou with a pin at the 4:44 mark of their bout, and capped a weekend that saw him reel off four victories in a two-day span.
While Salta owned the 152-pound division, Ethan Roetman, Billy Nelson, Andrew Bergan and Asaqpan Hensley did even better. Roetman and Nelson rolled up more than a few points by placing first and second, respectively, in the 170-pound standings. Bergan and Hensley did the same in the 220/285-pound division.
Michael Hatch and Matthew De La Cruz both wrestled their way to gold medals in their divisions. Hatch edged out Noorvik's Kane Hoffman to win the 113-pound weight bracket. De La Cruz reeled off an impressive win over Nome's Elden Cross to complete a 5-0 run through the 132-pound ranks.
Kotzebue also picked up golds from Trevor Miller-Hickerson in the 160-pound division, Erik Mills-Bain in the 182-pound class and Jack Hyatt, who went 3-0 in the 195-pound bracket.
Jessica and Carmella McCall added gold medals in the girls' division. A freshman, Jessica McCall went 4-0 en route to winning the 106-pound title. Carmella beat out Nome's Starr Erikson for the top spot in the 120-pound standings.
Judah Atkinson and Ryan Troyer narrowly missed first-place finishes. Atkinson finished second to Noatak's Thurston Mills in the 126-pound standings. Mills managed to wrestle his way to a 6-4 victory in the championship bout.
Troyer finished second to Nome's Caleb Evatt in the 120-pound class.
Mae Shroyer, Emily Hoke, Kiersten Hunnicutt and Tina Conwell all turned in medal-winning efforts in the girls' bracket. Shroyer and Hoke were second and third, respectively, in the 145-pound division, while Hunnicutt finished second to Selawik's Laura Ramoth in the 160 ranks. Conwell was second to Shaktoolik's Rachel Moore in her division.
Other KHS grapplers earning medals included Xavier Jones, who was third in the 138-pound bracket, and Matthew Viveiros, who was third in the 145-pound standings.
Ramoth wasn't the only gold-medal winner from Selawik. Teammate Shelby Sampson edged out Buckland's Jacqueline Berlin and Kiana's Katie Nelson-Scott to win the girls' 132-pound title.
Noorvik's Richard Hankinson was third in the boys' 145-pound standings.