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Raiders wrestling team heads to Alaska State Championships

Three Unalaska wrestlers will be heading to the Alaska State Championships this weekend, after several of the student athletes placed at the Great Alaska Conference wrestling regionals in Bethel on Friday.

Lynn Fayram took first place in the 145 pound girls weight class. In boys, Cache Henning took second place in 125 pounds and Kaidon Parker took second place in 160.

Fayram says she had a slow start to her season and didn't get to practice for her first ten days, missing her first tournament. But she says wrestling coach Rainier Marquez helped get her to where she is now, and able to take first place in the 145 girls.

“That girl was really tough and put up a hell of a fight, but my doubles they've been. I've been working on them. They've been good. I kept her down. It overall was a great match for me

Henning went up against Daylon Brown, a wrestler from Quinhagak, who is ranked number one in Division II. At the Mountain City Christian Academy Invitational, which acts as the state preview for Div. II boys, Brown pinned all of his opponents on his way through the finals — including pinning the returning state champion in under a minute.

Henning lost to the Div. II champion by only one point, a significant feat.

“It was a good match,” Henning said. “Went through all three periods, lost by one point. Tough kid.”

Parker, who took second in his weight class, said wrestling is more than just a sport. He said the season has been a wonderful bonding experience with his team.

“My team is like my family, we're all really tight,” Parker said. “We've really grown as a team.”

Recent budget cuts have led to fewer wrestling teams competing across the state. The Lower Kuskokwim School District cut wrestling this school year. That means some key schools were absent from regionals, such as Scammon Bay School.

Raiders wrestling coach Rainier Marquez said he hopes those schools are able to fund wrestling again, and that it’s a big loss to those communities and the state.

“If I could encourage the administrators to take a second look at wrestling budgets. It'd be awesome if we could get those teams back to regions and keep the wrestling programs alive, because there are some talented kids out there,” Marquez said. “Wrestling is an amazing sport that I think everyone should have an opportunity to compete in.”

“If we could get those schools back, in terms of wrestling, I think that it would not only benefit our region, but of course it would benefit the students that wrestle in those communities too,” he added.

The Wrestling State Championships will take place Friday and Saturday at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

Theo Greenly reports from the Aleutians as a Report for America corps member. He got his start in public radio at KCRW in Santa Monica, California, and has produced radio stories and podcasts for stations around the country.
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  • The Unalaska Raider Wrestling team competed in their first matches of the season at the Throwdown in Snowtown Tournament in Valdez last month. At the two-day tournament, sophomore Cache Henning took second place in the 125-pound weight category. Henning competed against athletes from Houston and Cordova, before making his way to the finals, where he fell short of first place with a final score of 6 to 11.
  • Runners with the Unalaska Raiders boys’ and girls’ cross country teams qualified for the state championships earlier this month. Six students competed at the event in Palmer against more than 160 other runners in the Division 3 races.
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