Seven schools from across the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta are sending wrestlers to the state tournament this coming weekend. For many communities this is an almost yearly occurrence. But for the first time ever, Scammon Bay is sending wrestlers to the state tournament.
In fact, up until a few years ago… the school, which is in the Lower Yukon School District, didn’t even have a wrestling team.
“We’re just kind of getting our program started out here at Scammon,” said Head Wrestling Coach Harley Sundown.
He saidalong with Alakanuk, Emmonak, Mt. Village, Nunam Iqua and Hooper Bay, six out of the 11 LYSD schools have just recently established wrestling programs.
Out of those, only Scammon Bay has any state qualifiers—a freshman and a sophomore to boot.
“Shane Unin is the freshman and Fabin Akerelrea is the sophomore,” Sundown said.
He said the entire community of Scammon Bay is excited about the tournament.
“it’s just something that the parents don’t realize yet what it takes to be competitive at state. That’s something that I want to see first hand because I’ve never been to a state wrestling tournament either.”
If the state tournament is the exclamation point on the season… then what was it like at the beginning of the year?
“It was scary at first,” said freshman qualifier Shane Unin.
But he got more and more time on the mat and got better and better, he said. So much better in fact, he took third place at the qualifying tournament here in Bethel his past Friday.
His teammate Fabin Akerelrea recounted what qualifying was like.
“It was pretty hard and tiring wrestling those competitors. And I think I did pretty well,” Akerelrea said.
He took fourth, securing his spot in the state tournament in Nikiski this Friday and Saturday.
The duo said they are excited to watch and wrestle against the toughest competitors in the state.
But they are also excited to go see a movie and maybe fit in a round of bowling as well.