OUTSTANDING WRESTLER—Elden Cross wrestles his Kotzebue opponent in the 145-lbs championship match Saturday, which he won, during the Regional Wrestling Tournament, held in Nome last weekend. Cross was named Outstanding Wrestler.

Lady Nanook wrestlers are regional champs, boys take second

Nome-Beltz High School hosted the Northern Conference Wrestling Tournament Saturday and the Lady Nanooks came away with the team title. The boys were runner-up to a large Kotzebue team. There was a lot of good wrestling to be seen and on Wednesday the Nome teams will be off to the state championships in Anchorage. Eleven out of 18 Nome wrestlers qualified for the state championships. The top two placers in each weight class are going to Anchorage for the state meet.
 “We wrestled pretty well,” said Nome Coach Dudley Homelvig.
“This is the first time the girls have ever won the regional tournament. They’re a bunch of fired up rookies. They’ve made practice fun,” Homelvig said. “And when you think that ten years ago it was a rare girl indeed that was out on the mat.”
The enthusiasm the Nome-Beltz girls have for the sport was apparent at the tournament. They were upbeat and positive the entire time and it showed in their performances on the mat. Some of the girls also play basketball and volleyball and an equal number are cheerleaders. “It’s nice to see their enthusiasm about it because they’re just coming in,” said senior Ava Earthman of the freshman girls who had good success in the tournament. Earthman herself is the champion at 125 lbs. The 9th graders include Natallie Tobuk, champion at 112 lbs; Katie Smith, second place at 119 lbs; Karis Evans, the champ at 130 lbs; Kellie Miller, third at 145 lbs; Sharla Kalerak, second at 189 lbs; and Sophia Marble, fourth at 160 lbs.
“I like the intensity,” said Earthman, who is a cheerleader once wrestling ends.  
Elden Cross won at 145 lbs and was named outstanding wrestler among the boys by the coaches. “It was tough,” he said of the competition. “I’m really proud of all our team mates. This weekend we really put the effort in and we showed the hard work we’ve been doing every day. The injury I had last weekend was a scare but I wanted to come back fully healed and ready to go.”
Cross bruised his sternum at the Anchorage Christian tournament. Last Saturday he was still feeling some pain from the injury. “I’m excited for the team and how well we performed this weekend,” he said.
“We only have three days,” said coach Homelvig of what’s next. “We’ll work on some things that we need to work on and try not to hurt each other and get on the airplane this Wednesday night.” Nobody is injured.  “We have a few people that are dinged up. Paris hurt his ankle in that second place match. But we don’t have any serious injuries.”
“I told you there are lots good wrestlers in this conference,” said Coach Homelvig.
During the presentation of the graduating seniors at the beginning of the final session Elden Cross came up with a surprise pie in the face for Josh Marble. It brought a good laugh from the crowd but the story behind it is yet obscure. Asked why he got a pie in the face, Josh Marble was evasive but sported a big smile.  “Because they were being mean!” he replied with a grin. “I had no idea. I’ve done nothing to deserve it except be nice to these boys, feed these boys, videotape these boys, and support them. You know that saying ‘pay back!’ There will be pay back! They will be going to state and I will be going to state with them. They will get what’s coming to them.”

The Nome-Beltz Nanooks who qualified for state are: Ethan Hannon (7-10), Karlin Ahwinona-Smith (16-10), JJ Marble (19-7), Elden Cross (21-6), Stephan Anderson (15-8), Natallie Tobuk (14-6), Ava Earthman (9-5) and Karis Evans (9-6) were all named Conference Champions at their respective weight classes.  Placing second was Katie Smith (3-9), and Georgianna Ustaszewski (20-8), and Sharla Kalerak (3-7).  
The Academic Award went to Shishmaref with a GPA of 3.86. The 1A2A girls champs are Koyuk. Gambell are the champs on the boys side. The overall title for boys went to Kotzebue and Nome for the girls. The Most Outstanding Girls Wrestler is Alaina Pete of Brevig Mission and Nanook Elden Cross for the boys.


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