There was a lot more drama the last time South won a Cook Inlet Conference wrestling title.
The Wolverines picked up their second CIC championship in three seasons Saturday at Chugiak High, where five South wrestlers won individual titles.
South started the day with a 57-point lead and was never threatened by runner-up and defending champion Service, which finished 68.5 points behind. Two seasons ago, South eked out a one-point victory over Service.
"It feels good to get the title back, for sure," said South coach Tom Ritchie. "We take a lot of pride in it."
A meet-high nine South wrestlers reached the finals and two matches pitted Wolverines against each other. Four of South's finalists came into the week as the state's top-ranked wrestlers in their respective weight classes and three walked away with CIC titles.
Greg Shack won at 98 pounds, Gavin Alvarado won at 113 and Dalton Sauder needed less than a minute to win at 195 pounds, providing one of two pins in the finals. Noah Ottum, ranked No. 1 at 106 pounds, finished fourth for the Wolverines.
The tournament's only other pin came at 160 pounds from Service's Rilen Skieens, who earned wrestler-of-the-meet honors and won his third CIC title. Service seniors John Pounds (132) Alex Nanez (126) claimed their second titles.
"I call them my Resilient Three," Service coach Luke Duffy said, referring to the trios ability to battle through tough matches. "They are the heart and soul of the team."
Nanez beat South's Nick Ottum in a title match for the second straight season, earning a 9 -2 decision Saturday, after pinning him last season in the 113-pound division.
There is little advantage in wrestling a familiar opponent, Nanez said, because it is nearly impossible to surprise each other.
"We both throw in new moves every now and then," he said. "He gets a couple new moves on me, I give him a couple new moves. He's a good guy, really good wrestler."
While the team competition was sewn up early, there was no shortage of tight matches.
South junior Kraig Hammond won his third CIC title in one of the best matches of the day, hanging on for a 5-3 decision in the 138-pound division against East junior Anthony Sierra.
It was the first meeting between the two and they put on a ferocious show, both displaying quickness and strength. Sierrra was so close to executing a match-tying takedown in the closing seconds, an East coach jumped in the air and cheered, but Hammond somehow escaped.
"He's a good competitor, really athletic and fast," Hammond said.
The top six wrestlers from the CIC tournament qualify for next week's state tournament at Bartlett High, so a rematch between Hammond and Sierra is a possibility.
East senior Josh Wiggins nearly failed in his attempt to defend his title in the 170-pound division, needing a takedown with less than 10 seconds remaining to beat Service's Franklyn Dunbar 6-5 in a rematch of last season's CIC final in the same weight class.
Wiggins, the defending state champion and top-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds, trailed by a point and appeared to have no hope until he got hold of Dunbar's leg and took him down for two points.
"I kinda just put good pressure on him and held him by the ankle, so he couldn't get his foot up," Wiggins said. "He had nowhere to go."
The 220-pound weight class featured another rematch of last season's final. After beating Service's Derek Zorea by a point last season, Chugiak's Richard Burroughs earned an 11-9 decision this time. The two wrestled during the regular season twice, with Zorea winning both times.
Cook Inlet Conference wrestling championships
Team scores --1) South, 365.5; 2 ) Service, 297; 3) East, 242; 4) Chugiak, 221; 5) West, 215.5; 6) Bartlett, 119.5; 7) Eagle River, 100.5; 8) Dimond, 57.5.
98 -- Greg Shack, South, won by disqualification over Slava Hoffman, Service. 106 -- Kyle Willard, East, m.d. Jejomar Briones, West, 12-3. 113 -- Gavin Alvarado, South, t.f. Matt Glover, South, 15-0. 120 -- Rami Pellumbi, South, d. Andrew Concepcion, South, 9-7. 126 -- Alexander Nanez, Service, d. Nick Ottum, South, 9-2. 132 -- John Pounds, Service, m.d. Chase Jury, Chugiak, 14-2. 138 -- Kraig Hammond, South, d. Anthony Sierra, East, 5-3. 145 -- Tyler Thammavongsa, Service, d. Colt Jury, Chugiak, 7-0. 152 -- Xavier Horton, Eagle River, d. Cesar Guzaman, East, 7-5 OT. 160 -- Rilen Skieens, Service, p. Karson Forbush, Chugiak, 3:17. 170 -- Josh Wiggins, East, d. Franklyn Dunbar, Service, 6-5. 182 -- Alex Medeiros, Chugiak, t.f. Keahi Queja, East, 15-0. 195 -- Dalton Sauder, South, p. Anthony Braudism, Bartlett, 1:11. 220 -- Richard Burroughs, Chugiak, d. Derek Zorea, Service, 11-9. 285 -- Keanu King, East, won by injury default over Jarmie Augafa, South, 4:55.
98 -- Elissa Gamble, West, p. Jordan Anderson, West, 1:49. 106 -- Marcus Amico, Eagle River, d. Noah Ottum, South, 7-5. 113 -- Slade Lindsoe, Service, d. Dajan Treder, West, 5-4. 120 -- Zack Luff, Eagle River, d. Joshua Fetko, Service, 6-4. 126 -- Tyler Wintersteen, Chugiak, d. Nyeem Johnson, Service, 4-3. 132 -- Zachary Ritchie, South, d. Gavin Arnold, Eagle River, 4-2 OT. 138 -- Chris Weidner, West, d. Damian Sotelo, Bartlett, 6-4 OT. 145 -- Geno Giordano, South, p. Austin Rochon, Chugiak, 3:38. 152 -- Robert Huffer, Chugiak, d. Nathan Hakala, South, 5-1. 160 -- Gabe Mcsharry, South, d. Jean Paul Sosa, East, 7-5. 170 -- Leroy Elliot, West, t.f. Brent Case, South, 17-2. 182 -- Jeremiah Marquez, East, d. Abraham Faletagoai, West, 8-4. 195 -- Nicholas Cruz, Service, p. Rhys Sands, Service, 0:50. 220 -- Faumasino Lui, West, p. Wyatt Bruso, Bartlett, 1:37. 285 -- Tevita Fehoko, West, p. Cody Wadsworth, Dimond, 1:28.
Wrestler of the meet -- Rilen Skieens, Service. Coach of the year -- Brian Foss, Bartlett.