Blunka leads New Stuyahok to 27st at tournament
Blinka Blunka Jr. made sure the New Stuyahok Eagles were noticed at the 2017 Lancer Smith Memorial Wrestling Tournament — in a big way.
Blunka wrestled his way to a second-place finish in the 120-pound weight classification and single-handedly carried the Eagle wrestling program to 27th in the final team standings at a tournament. New Stuyahok's lone varsity wrestler, he rolled up 21 points.
Colony, the top-ranked Class 4A team in the state captured the team crown with 227 points. Lathrop and South Anchorage finished second and third, respectively.
Blunka didn't waste any time in getting into the win column. He opened the tournament with a dominating 19-3 victory over Lathrop's William Poland. From there, he dispatched Colony's Kolby Torres by a 12-2 clip, and South Anchorages's Simon Keffalos by a 9-5 clip en route to earning a spot in the championship match.
In the finals, Soldotna's Gideon Hutchison managed to scratch out a victory.
Ivan Blunka did well for the Cougars in the junior varsity division. He finished second in the 106-pound division with a 2-1 record. His only loss came as a setback to Cosmo Crowley of South Anchorage in the finals.
Newhalen also had a pair of wrestlers shine in the JV division, including Jared Paine.
Paine posted a 3-3 mark and finished fifth in the 145-pound standings.
Teammate Jaden Tretikoff wrestled in the 126-pound class.