Bottom from left: Rori Leaverton, Anna Korsmo, Jayce Ellis; top Zoe Wassman, Polly Brown, Hannha O’Daniel, Amanda Hoover, and Jade Cook. Rori Leaverton hugs Hannah O’Daniel after the team clinched a state tourney berth. KE
Volleyball team heads to State for fourth straight year
By JEFF BRADY
The SHS volleyball team accomplished its goal of reaching the state tournament for the fourth straight year.
Although it lost the regional final to a strong Klawock team, the girls, especially the seniors, were extremely happy to be going on to State, said assistant coach Katie Emmets.
Skagway went into the region tournament seeded third after losing to Hoonah in a seeding tourney last month, so they would have to face Hoonah on the Braves’ home court in the opening match on Friday night, Dec. 2.
The Panthers were back at full strength for regionals, after having lost main setter Jayce Ellis to an ankle injury at the seeding tourney.
“The games were all very close,” Emmets said. “It had been about two weeks since we had all of our team together, and I was really proud of them for playing as well as they did. Hoonah is a good team with two good hitters and a setter, but we were the better team.”
Skagway prevailed 25-21, 28-26 and 25-21.
Emmets said Skagway made some rotation changes to take advantage of Ellis’s setting, while shifting Hannah O’Daniel to a position where she could block more shots. This also allowed Amanda Hoover to back up Ellis as a setter on the right side. The rotation worked and all performed well, Emmets said.
Skagway’s next opponent was top seed Klawock, an easy winner over Thorne Bay, on Saturday morning. The Panthers lost 15-25, 12-25, and 9-25, but O’Daniel, with her long arms, made some great blocks against Klawock’s best hitter, Emmets said.
In the double elimination format, Skagway dropped down to play Hoonah again for the right to go to the region championship game.
The team was a bit off kilter in the first game, which they lost 21-25.
“We had just come off a difficult loss to Klawock,” Emmets said. “The girls energy level down, but we had faith in them. They picked it up and won next three games. Hoonah’s a good team but we are better and we played like it for the remainder of the match.”
The games were tight but Skagway won three in a row – 25-21, 25-18 and 25-21.
“Rori (Leaverton) and Anna (Korsmo) did well with their defensive passing and offensive attacks,” Emmets said. “Polly (Brown) also did well with passing and getting to balls that I thought were going to hit the floor.”
The win earned Skagway at least a second place finish and a berth at the ASAA First National Bank of Anchorage 1A-2A State Tourney.
“They were extremely happy,” Emmets said. “Some of the seniors were crying. They had set a goal to get back to State for their fourth straight year.”
But a region championship eluded them. Klawock turned in an even stronger performance as Skagway lost 15-25, 12-25 and 9-25.
“They had a server, Tonya Busse, who just killed us,” Emmets said. “They have very good servers and our team had a bit of an issue with it, but I was impressed with the way we passed on defense and blocked.”
Seniors Leaverton and Korsmo were named to the All-Conference team. They also joined senior Ellis on the All Academic team. Hoover and Zoe Wassman were Skagway’s representatives on the Good Sport team.
Both Southeast teams hope to do better at State than last year, when they lost in the first round.
Skagway opened with Kenny Lake on Thursday evening after this issue went to press. Readers can find results from 1A-2A volleyball tourney links at www.asaa.org. The games are at Dimond High School in Anchorage.
Three SHS wrestlers save best for regionals; Danny Moore just misses advancing to State
By KATIE EMMETS
Though no Skagway wrestlers will be making an appearance at the state tournament, all three Panthers saved their best for last.
Panthers co-coach Gregg Kollasch said he thinks the regional competition in Sitka Dec. 2-3 was the team’s best tournament of the season.
Zack Wassman won his first match against a Petersburg wrestler with a score of 15-11, marking his first win of the season.
Wassman lost his second match against a wrestler from Mt. Edgecumbe and wound up defaulting out of the tournament because of a pulled muscle.
Craig Germishuys lost all of his matches, but Kollash said he saw definite improvements from the beginning of the season out of him, and sees great potential in his wrestling style.
Senior Danny Moore won his first and third match, Kollasch said, but lost his fourth match, which determined who went to the state tournament.
In Moore’s fourth match, a wrestler from Hydaburg defeated him in overtime.
“Danny placed fifth, and that’s what he was seeded going into the tournament,” Kollasch said. “He had to do an upset to get to State but he was very close.”
The top four wrestlers from each weight class will compete in Anchorage this weekend, and though Moore wasn’t in the top four, he is an alternate in case someone from Southeast gets injured or is unable to make it.
Moore finished the season with a 16-6 record.
“He had a good senior year for being in what is probably the hardest weight class,” Kollasch said.
Each tournament, there were more than 20 wrestlers in the 152-pound weight class, while the other classes only had about five wrestlers.
“That weight is chock full of tough people,” he said.
Jimmy Thompson of Haines was the champion of the 152-pound weight class, and Kollasch said Thompson is the first wrestler from Haines to win a regional championship.
“He won outstanding wrestler of the whole tournament,” Kollasch said. “He pinned everyone.”
Kollasch said he enjoyed coaching this year and looks forward to working with the wrestling team for years to come.
“It was exciting to have a team again,” Kollasch said, adding that there was no wrestling program at Skagway School last year.
Moore was the only wrestler with experience going into the season, and instead of working on improving techniques, Kollasch and co-coach Duppy Ticarro spend the majority of the time teaching the athletes the sport.
“Next year, we’re going to focus on making the kids better,” Kollasch said.
Kollasch said he is thinking about planning a camp for the wrestlers to attend in the off-season to stay sharp on the skills they learned this year. He also said he would invite kids to come and watch practices next year.
“Any younger, middle school-aged kids are invited to come to practice to watch and learn,” he said. “Just to get them interested in the sport.”
Ticarro mirrors Kollach’s sentiment about the wrestlers excelling despite not having adequate time for them to practice.
“I think the season went really well considering it was a brand new bunch of kids that are new to wrestling,” Ticarro said. “The boys did remarkably well with the short time we had to train them.”
The wrestlers were given only 10 days to prepare before their first meet because of ASAA rules.
“What I loved about the kids, what I love about all kids in Skagway in general, is that they don’t give up and they keep pushing hard,” he said.
Ticarro coached Moore in years previous to this season, and because Moore knew Ticarro’s coaching style and regiment, he displayed some great leadership with the rest of the team.
“It was good to have him back,” Ticarro said. “He lost going to state, but other than that there is nothing for him to hold his head down about. For taking a year off and coming back, he did awesome.”
Ticarro said he is excited for next season and hopeful that a tournament will be scheduled in Skagway, so the wrestlers will have the support from the community.