Coach Seth Balint, Alice Graves, Blake Bailey, Arianna Ryan, Ryder Phillips, Gunnar Davis, Jacob Hamberger, Trent Dundas, Zach Bergford, Micheal Harris, Levi Pearson, Vincent Nothstine, and Coach Chris Moreno. Photo courtesy of Seth Balint

The Cordova High School Wrestling team took 10 wrestlers to Regionals in Kenai on Dec.8-9. Eight out of the ten qualified for the ASAA State Championships. 

CHS Coach Seth Balint, who has been rebuilding the program, described the success:  

“The ASAA State championships is a two-day tournament with every weight class qualifying the 16 best wrestlers in the state. Our team wrestled some great matches, but it was our seniors who showed up the most as three of the four placed in the top six of the tournament.” 

“Senior Vincent Nothstine did not originally qualify for the state championships as he took 5th at the regional tournament. He was chosen to be one of four selected in each weight class to as an ‘At-Large Bid,’ where the seeding committee chooses wrestlers that they feel deserve to be in the tournament that did not make the cut at the regional qualifying tournament a week prior. Nothstine went into the tournament as an underdog with nothing to lose, and as we say in wrestling, those are the most dangerous wrestlers. Nothstine found a rhythm and was throwing his opponent all over the mat, pinning wrestlers that beat him all season long. No one wanted to be matched up against the big 189-pound Cordova kid. Nothstine ended up placing, finishing 6th place in the state championships. We knew he had that in him, he finally brought it out on the big stage. To go from not originally qualifying for the state tournament to being a state placer does not happen very often.” 

Balint continued: 

“Zach Bergford at 171 pounds had a very hard weight class to wrestle in. He pinned his way to the semi- finals where he ran into the number one seed in the tournament. It was a back-and-forth battle, and Bergford was even winning under 30 seconds left in the match. A last second take down by the strong 171-pounder from Haines beat Zach by one point at the end of the match. Bergford then wrestled tough on the back side of the bracket and pinned his opponent for the 5th place medal. Zach did not grow up in Cordova as he moved to our community last year from Washington, but he has quickly become a big part of our Wolverine wrestling family.”  


“Arianna Ryan worked her way through the tournament and had a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals match. She made it to the next day where she had to wrestle some tough competition to make it to the 3rd and 4th place match. In her final high school wrestling match for 3rd place, she had really hurt her knee and was forced to make a decision, give up and take the medical forfeit or push through and find a way to win. Ryan was down by three points with 30 second left. She scored two points with a reversal and put the girl from Bartlett High School on her back to pin her with just seconds remaining. Ending her high school career on a very impressive final stamp. Arianna Ryan is a three-time Region Champion and a two-time state placer, making her the most decorated Cordova Girls wrestler in school history. We couldn’t be more proud of her.”  

“Cordova wrestling is growing and it’s starting to show at the High School state level. We’re very excited for our future with our young wrestlers coming up in the following years,” Balint concluded.