Kinnick, Edgren looking strong on mats
Zama American's Jacob Scott and Robert D. Edgren's Jackson Edmonds grapple in the 148-pound final Saturday, during a DODDS Japan individual freestyle wrestling tournament bout at Camp Zama, Japan. Scott beat Edmonds for first place.
This article has been corrected.
While Nile C. Kinnick righted itself Saturday after an upset loss a week earlier, Robert D. Edgren’s wrestling program continued to show it’s a contender for Far East tournament Division II titlehood.
Hunter Matthews won at 129 pounds, Kaleb Atchison at 141 and the Eagles also copped three second-place finishes and two thirds to finish second, 114-57, to Kinnick in a six-way DODDS Japan individual freestyle tournament at Zama American.
“If we stay healthy and if we stay focused, we’ll do all right,” longtime Edgren coach Justin Edmonds said. He’s only seen Zama, Matthew C. Perry and E.J. King among his DODDS D-II opposition and none of the Korean teams, but “I think we stand a good shot.”
Sky Phillips (135), Jackson Edmonds (148) and J.P. Krussick (158) each took second place and Brandon Gleason (215) and Tyler Carson (122) were third for the Eagles.
They were without 168-pounder Patrick Sledge, 180-pounder Christian Schmidt and heavyweight Tyler Werfel, out with injuries. “They’ll be ready for Far East,” Edmonds said, adding of Saturday’s tournament: “We had a good time. It was a really good tournament.”
The Red Devils remained in the driver’s seat as the top DODDS D-I team in Japan, taking 10 titles. The only other team to win a weight class was Zama, behind Jacob Scott at 148.
DODDS Korea schools also continued the road to next month’s Far East tournament at Yokota, and Osan shined at the first tournament hosted by fledgling Humphreys. Cory Harding (115), Gerard Chopin (141), Steven Halik (158) , Kade Leonard (168) and Justin Mancha (215) won in their weight classes.
Seoul American, unbeaten in 13 dual meets and in the other individual freestyle tournament in Korea this season, took five weight classes. Also remaining unbeaten were Humphreys’ Austin Rudd at 180 and Daegu’s Morgan Baek (148).
On the court, defending Far East boys D-II champion Zama, thought to be rebuilding, appears to be making a push for a repeat. The Trojans had not won a Far East title of any kind since 1963 before winning last year.
Their 55-24 win over Matthew C. Perry on Saturday boosted their DODDS Japan record to 7-1 and overall to 8-5.
“I lost all my experience (players) from last year, but I had the talent” to make another run, coach Parish Jones said.
“What we were lacking was maturity. They’re starting to mature and the chemistry is clicking. At first, they were offensive-minded. Now, they’re more defensive-minded and that’s making a difference.”
Definitely of an offensive mindset was Preston Harris of Kadena’s boys, who opened 1-1 on Day 1 of the 8th Okinawa-American Friendship Tournament at Kadena’s Risner Fitness & Sports Center.
The senior center threw down seven slam dunks and finished with 16 points as the Panthers beat Naha Kokusai 70-54 in pool play.
The Panthers finished second in Pool B, while Kubasaki took first in Pool A at 2-0. The Dragons and Panthers girls each finished 1-1 in their pools. Single-elimination playoffs are scheduled for Sunday.
Osan's Justin Mancha was omitted from a list of winners in an earlier version of this article.