Yokota Panthers earn gold at 2016 Far East Wrestling Championship

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Photo by Lauren James
Photo by Lauren James

Yokota Panthers earn gold at 2016 Far East Wrestling Championship

by: Dave Goodman | .
Stripes Japan | .
published: February 24, 2016

Emerson Gaume, right, a Yokota High School Junior, gets the upper-hand against his Edgren High School opponent shortly before a takedown.  He followed the move with a bout winning pin during the Division II Dual championship match at Osan Air Base, Korea on Feb. 17.  The Panthers also earned silver in the Division II Individual tournament on Feb. 15 and 16.

Yokota defeated Osan American High School in the first round, 63-1, took down E.J. King High School, 51-11, in the semi-finals before surprising defending champion Edgren High School, 40-25, in the Division II Dual Championship match.

“Winning D2 was an amazing feeling, it felt like all the hard work we had put in was finally paying off!” Emerson said. “I really enjoyed the tournament and I can't wait for next year, I'm very happy with how our team has grown over the last three years.”

As the only three year Far East wrestler on the team, Emerson Gaume quickly became one of the top Panther grapplers during his fourth Freestyle wrestling season in the Pacific, he started in 8th Grade. Emerson proved his grit when the coach moved him up a weight class from 135 to 141 pounds just for the dual championship bout.  Kameron Leon-Guerrero did the same going from 141 to 148 which proved to be a two-win coaching move that sealed the championship for the Panthers.

This is the first year the Panthers competed in Division II, which included seven other schools from across DoDEA Pacific.  Although the team had 23 wrestlers this season, only one wrestler from each of the 13 weight classes made the trip along with 2nd year Head Coach Ty Gaume and four volunteer coaches. “Bryce Dellafosse was key in starting off our string of wins against Edgren at 129 pounds,” Coach Gaume said. “This team met and exceeded all my expectations and earned their team dual championship, we knew early in the season we could challenge for the team dual championship…we worked every day towards that goal and the athletes were hyper-focused in preparation for all of their matches, both in the individual and team dual events.”

The Panther Far East roster, by weight class, and individual results included Corrine Nepaial (101) 6th Place, Cameron Mister (108) 6th Place, Skye Williams (115), Michael Hoffman (122), Bryce Dellafosse (129), Emerson Gaume (135; Co-Captain), Kameron Leon-Guerrero (141) 4th place, Alex Alexander (148), Cole Grimes (158; Co-Captain), Ty Dotson (168; Co-Captain) 2nd Place, Tristen Laliberte (180), Sam Michelsen (215) 3rd Place, and Sean Mettelus (Heavy Weight) 6th Place.

Tags: Yokota Air Base, Education
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