Nikiski Wrestling Tournament


Paul Tandy attempts a take down on his opponent.

On November 15-16, West High School wrestlers took a bus to Nikiski, Alaska to compete against other schools  for their first tournament of the season.  West was the only school from the Anchorage School district to participate in the annual tournament.  The team returned with a third place finish.

“We got third place and it’s been the best we have done in the Nikiski tournament,” Eric Luu, a wrestler and West High senior commented.  “This tournament brought the team together and I got to meet and know some that I didn’t get the opportunity to during practice.”

Though the team was given a bed-time,  some stayed awake to play a made-up game with their teammates which also created a closer bond with one another.

During the stay at Nikiski High School, West participated in multiple matches against high schools from all over Alaska.  “There were some hard matches, others went really well and were easier,” Savannah Commerford, 17, said.  This is her third year wrestling for West and she enjoys the sport.  “I believe it’s a sport that not only makes you physically strong, but mentally as well.”  She said she feels that stress is definitely a key factor that comes with playing the sport, cutting weight, and wrestling three hours a day.  “And keeping up with school is pretty stressful.  Positive feedback, though, is for sure organization.”

Eric Luu agreed with Commerford’s statement and adds, “keeping up with school and cutting weight is the worst combination but it is what you have to do if you are a wrestler.  Many people do not understand what we go through. It is a demanding sport that comes with a lot of responsibilities and dedication.”

Savannah was asked which school was the most competitive during the tournament.  “Definitely Colony 1.  They were by far our toughest competitor,” she replied.  Although the team placed third, it is the highest placement they have successfully achieved in West High’s wrestling history.

The coaches were very proud of the team for their hard work, perseverance and strong finish.  The Nikiski tournament was also a great way for novice wrestlers to get their first taste of high school leveled wrestling.  “It was good seeing how much young talent we have on this team.  They have lots of potential in them and it will be nice seeing their overall progression in the sport.  Even though the team only had a few weeks of practice before the start of the tournament, I believe JV did amazing knowing for some, it is their first year experiencing this sport,” said Eric Luu.

The two-day stay at Nikiski was a positive start for West High School’s wrestling team and beginners experienced what they signed up for.  They proved what they have learned during weeks of practice and acquired new techniques to improve themselves in future matches.  The team left the town after achieving third place and returned later that night, excited for the upcoming tournament at Palmer, known as Lancer Smith where individual wrestlers match up against other competition around the state.