Noden, Nicolai grab wins for Wolverines in Bethel
Jesse Noden served notice on the rest of the state this past weekend: He will be a factor on the mat this fall.
Wrestling in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Bethel Regional High School Warrior Dome, Noden proved he was among the top grapplers in the state by turning in an inspiring effort at the 2017 Bethel Scramble. The meet, which was held Friday and Saturday, featured more than 260 wrestlers from the Yukon-Kuskokwim and Southwest Alaska.
Noden starred in the 138-pound weight classification, going 7-0 en route to opening the season with a first-place finish.
After opening the tournament with back-to-back wins of 16-1 over Nome's Elden Cross and 14-2 over Bethel's Nuq Alexie-Leonard, Noden hits stride. He ran his record to 5-0 with wins over DHS teammate Samuel Calvert, Kuskokwim Learning Academy's Jason Tikiun and Scammon Bay's Joe Uttereyuk. In the semifinals, he easily took down Emmonak's John Charles.
In the championship bout, he managed to scratch out a narrow 8-7 win over teammate Chris Williams. Williams was second overall at 5-1, while Calvert was sixth.
Jimmy Nicolai also garnered a gold medal for the Wolverines. He won the 113-pound division. The DHS standout defeated teammate Christian Gardiner in the finals of the classification.
The Wolverines also picked up second-place finishes from Sam Jenkins and Dillon Chaney. Jenkins was the runner-up to Bethel's Sven Williams in the 182-pound standings. Chaney went 4-1 and finished second to Bethel's Hayden Lieb in the 152-pound class.
Lieb was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler in the 145-285-pound weight classifications.
Colten Hink and Drew Wassilly also did well in the 152-pound ranks. Hink placed sixth overall, while Wassilly was seventh.
Grant Williams and Justin Dye also starred for Dillingham. Williams was fifth in the 145-pound standings, while Dye was sixth in the 126-pound standings. Bobby Nicholson was seventh in the 132-pound ranks, while teammate Tanner Noden was ninth in the 145-pound classification.
New Stuyahok's Joachim Gumlickpuk and Blunka Blunka Jr. also turned in outstanding efforts in Bethel. Gumlickpuk finished second in the 120-pound division, while Blunka was second in the 126-pound standings to Bethel's Thomas Dyment.
Jacob Andrew and Nickolai Gust Jr. also did well for the Eagles. Andrew was third in the 113-pound standings. Gust was fifth in the 106-pound ranks.
Newhalen's Jared Paine and Katie Olympic highlighted the Malamutes' efforts in the high school division. Paine was third in the 145-pound division. Olympic was fourth in the girls' 160-pound bracket.