WASILLA -- Kenai's Hope Steffenson became the second girl to win a state wrestling title in Alaska, East's Mathew Malnoske became the eighth wrestler to win four straight state titles and Wasilla stormed back from an 11-point deficit to claim its fourth state team title Saturday at the Menard Sports Center.
Steffensen, a sophomore, beat South freshman Kraig Hammond in overtime in the 103-pound final. She joins Skyview's Michaela Hutchison, who became the first girl in Alaska to win a state wrestling championship when she took the 103-pound title in 2006.
Malnoske earned membership in an exclusive club too. Only seven others have managed to win an individual title in four straight seasons. Malnoske's final title came at 140 pounds, where he upended top-seeded Pearson Brodie of Kodiak, 6-3.
Steffensen's match with Hammond was tied 0-0 through three periods and ended with her two-point takedown in overtime. Hammond almost won with a takedown at the end of regulation, but it came with no time on the clock.
After Steffensen made the winning move on Hammond, she jumped in the air in celebration.
"I was just elated," she said. "I never felt like that before."
The Wasilla Warriors were a happy bunch too after outlasting a strong Service team that was chasing an 11th championship.
Abe Fox, a junior who won an individual title for Wasilla at 119 pounds, said the Warriors were nervous when consolation matches began Saturday morning and they trailed by 11 points. And even though Wasilla used the consolation rounds to build an 18.5-point lead over Service going into the finals, the outcome was in doubt. Wasilla had three wrestlers in the finals and Service had four.
"If things went bad, we could have lost," said Wasilla head coach Shawn Hayes.
Fox was the first of three Wasilla finalists to wrestle. His thrilling 8-6 victory over Ketchikan's Ross Sanford put Hayes' mind at ease.
"It's always nice when your first finalist goes out and wrestles well," Hayes said.
All three of Wasilla's finalists wound up winning to help the Warriors win with 200.5 points to Service's 177. Joining Fox with individual state titles were Tyler Adams at 130 pounds and Jake Johnson at 215.
Two of Service's four finalists left as champions -- Conrad Lacey at 125 and Stephen Ellis at 189. Lacey, a senior, was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament after claiming his first state title by beating two-time state champion Dillon Achman of Lathrop, 9-4.
"It feels great," Lacey said. "I knew things would go my way if I wanted it bad enough."
103 -- Steffensen became the second girl in history to win a state wrestling championship, claiming the win with a takedown 26 seconds into overtime for a 2-0 decision over freshman Hammond. Hammond came close to earning near-fall points in the end of the third period, but the buzzer sounded before Steffensen's back hit the mat.
112 -- Service's Alex Nanez earned a 10-2 decision after turning on the gas in the second period, taking Nanez down three times. Hendrix kept Nanez immobilized for most of the third period.
119 -- Wasilla's Abe Fox dumped Ketchikan's Ross Sanford head over heels for a takedown in the second period and then used a slick reversal in the final 20 seconds of the match to earn an 8-6 decision.
125 -- Service's Conrad Lacey flipped Lathrop junior Dillon Achman into a near fall at the end of the second period on his way to a 9-4 decision that denied Achman his third straight state title. Lacey parlayed early success into a slow-moving third period, even though the match began as one of the most energetic of the night. Achman pounced at the opening whistle and forced Lacey into several awkward positions, but none amounted to points.
130 -- Wasilla's Tyler Adams was down two points early, but made a great reversal followed by a strong takedown to grab a lead he didn't give up to Service's Jacob Lunsford. Adams won 9-2, scoring a near pin as the buzzer sounded to end the match.
135 -- North Pole's Jake Rahlfs had his hands full and his head pressed to the mat early in the second period, but fought through a close bout with Eagle River's Dominic Taus to win 3-2 after a third-period escape broke a 2-2 tie.
140 -- By virtue of a three early takedowns and a relentless attack, Malnoske became the eighth wrestler in history to win four state titles, beating Brodie 6-3. Malnoske rode Brodie's back and kept him twisted in positions that seemed impossible to escape, until Brodie made things interesting with a reversal in the third period.
145 -- Soldotna's Auston Tennis nearly earned the first pin of the finals when an aggressive attack gave him a huge first period lead against East's Matt Downing. Downing -- a Class 1-2-3A state champion with Valdez last season -- nearly turned the tables in the second and third period, but the early lead was too much to overcome. Tennis won by major decision 21-10.
152 -- Colony's Kyle Boss fended off an animated Pat Mullet of Chugiak for a 3-1 overtime win. Mullet made most of the attacks and ran around the mat a few times as he tried to set up attacks, but Boss's defense and patience won out. His takedown in overtime provided the winning points.
160 -- Lathrop's Brandon Wiese dominated David Castonguay of Kodiak, barely giving him room to breath on his way to an 10-1 major decision. Repeated headlocks ruled the mat, as Wiese controlled action from start to finish.
171 -- Homer's Mitch Wyatt earned a pin over Jesse Hamilton of East at 3:42, using a steady, methodical approach to wear down Hamilton. Wyatt had the match well in hand, leading 6-0 when he managed the pin.
189 -- Defending champion Stephen Ellis barely escaped defeat with a reversal against East's Daniel Wilson with less than 30 seconds remaining in the third period, then quickly earned a 10-5 decision in over time. Ellis body slammed Wilson to the mat just a few seconds into overtime to earn the win.
215 -- Jake Johnson of Wasilla used a powerful attack, driving Chugiak's Garrett Morrison hard into the mat a couple of times and keeping Morrison locked in a bear hug most of the match, winning by a 16-4 major decision.
285 -- Bartlett's Caleb Green scored a two-point take down with three seconds remaining in the third period score a 3-2 decision and narrowly avoid overtime. The match was tied 1-1 after agile escape by Colony's Renn Wright, but Wright lost position and was pushed to the edge of the ring while in a hold by Green.
Find Jeremy Peters online at adn.com/contact/jpeters or call 257-4335.
ASAA/First National Bank
Class 4A state wrestling
Menard Center, Wasilla
1) Wasilla, 200.5; 2) Service 177.0; 3) East 148.5; 4) Lathrop 142.0; 5) Colony, 134.0; 6) Kodiak, 109.0; 7) North Pole, 103.0; 8) South, 90.0; 9) Chugiak, 68.0; 10) Bartlett, 65.0; 11) Eagle River, 60.0; 12) Ketchikan, 44.5; 13) Soldotna, 37.0; 14) Homer, 36.0; 15) Palmer, 34.5; 16) Houston, 31.0; 17) Kenai, 30.0; 18) West, 26.0; 19) West Valley, 26.0; 20) Thunder Mountain, 21.0; 21) Dimond, 17.0; 22) Skyview, 16.5; 23) Juneau, 2.0.
103 -- Shannon Carpenter (Wasilla), m.d. Kyle Willard (East), 12-2. 112 -- Nathan Marquez (East), d. Eddy Burris (Kodiak), 9-7. 119 -- Johnny Hogenson (South), d. Nate McKimson (Wasilla), 4-0. 125 -- Cody Decker (North Pole), d. Talon Sturgill (Bartlett), 6-2. 130 -- Jake Borrego (Eagle River), d. Thomas Riley (Thunder Mountain), 9-2. 135 -- Luke Faulkner (Colony), d. L.J. Leppanen (Palmer), 3-1. 140 -- Steven Temple (Lathrop), d. Brandon Markson (South), 5-2. 145 -- Derek Johnsen (Wasilla), d. Pedro Pena (West), 2-0 (OT). 152 -- Taylor Osborn (Lathrop), p. Ken Banning (Service), 3:35. 160 -- Trent Shepersky (North Pole), d. Nate Wolfe (Colony), 8-5. 171 -- John Dennehy (South), p. Arron Reese (Houston), 5:16. 189 -- Quace Wright (Colony), d. Mark Barrie (North Pole), 8-3. 215 -- Ty Farber (Colony), d. Derek Zorea (Service), 14-10. 285 -- Drew Yeager (Bartlett), d. Ryan Pomrenke (Wasilla), 3-1 (OT).
103 -- J.D. Wood (North Pole), d. Mason Cochran (Palmer), 7-0. 112 -- Gabe Larson (Service), p. Adam Wood (North Pole), 3:56. 119 -- Tyler Mockta (Service), d. Francis Llorente (Kodiak), 3-2. 125 -- John Pounds (Service), d. Daide Agnew (West Valley), 5-4. 130 -- Jacob Wenzl (Chugiak), d. Dalton Barrie (North Pole), 3-2. 135 -- Bryce Serna (Wasilla), d. Anthony Sierra (East), 8-6 (OT). 140 -- Kevin Lepola (Kodiak), d. Jentry Diedrich (Wasilla), 2-0. 145 -- Chris Dickens (Chugiak), d. Nick Krohe (West Valley), 5-1. 152 -- Ben Nix (Dimond), d. Joe Fujimoto (Colony), 5-2. 160 -- Josh Wiggins (East), d. Rilen Skieens (Service), 8-3. 171 -- Camden MacDowell (South), m.d. Yuriy Makitrin (Wasilla), 18-9. 189 -- Jachike Medubuku (Eagle River), p. Charlie Johnson (Kodiak), 3:41. 215 -- Luke Wagner (Houston), p. Nate Williams (Eagle River), 4:20. 285 -- LeandroPeralta (East), d. Cole Bossio (Thunder Mountain), 4-2 (OT).