Sitka’s Sydnee Kimber was untouchable at the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships.
For the second consecutive year opponents were unable to score a point against the Alaskan, who posted a 4-0 record en route to winning the 191-pound championship.
The McKendree University senior recorded two pins and two technical falls, and beat teammate Jaycee Foeller in the final, securing her third national championship.
Kimber is only the second Alaska woman to three-peat, joining Soldotna’s Michaela Hutchison, who did it in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for Oklahoma City University.
Kimber, of Mt. Edgecumbe High, scored 27 points for McKendree, which racked up 188 points to beat pre-tournament favorite King to win the team title, avenging its loss to King at the National Duals tournament.
Kimber kicked off the tournament with a 43-second pin before winning by scores of 10-0 and 11-0 to reach the final, where she pinned Foeller 1:18 into the match.
Foeller had only two losses this season – both to Kimber, who finished 21-0.
Kimber improved her career record to 75-4 and extended her two-year winning streak to 45.
At Campbell University, Caleb Hopkins of Palmer wrapped up his second Southern Conference title at 184 and punched a return ticket to the NCAA Championships.
He improved to 6-0 all-time at the SoCon tournament and 56-25 for his career.
Hopkins’ back-to-back titles puts him in elite company among Alaskans with multiple conference titles at the NCAA Division I level:
Alaskan, College, High School, Conference, Title Years
Scott Norton – Oregon (Kodiak) – Pac-10 1996 & 1997
Isaac Moore – VMI (Wasilla) – Southern 1998 & 1999
Jesse Brock – Boise State (Wasilla) – Pac-10 2003 & 2004
Scott Jorgensen – Boise State (Palmer)– Pac-10 2004 & 2005 & 2006
Cayle Byers – Oklahoma State, George Mason (Chugiak) – Colonial 2009 & Big 12 2012
Caleb Hopkins – Campbell (Colony) – Southern 2021 & 2022
Hopkins won his second straight SoCon championship with an 8-3 decision over Gardner-Webb’s Jhaquan Anderson.
He opened the day with a 19-1 tech fall over VMI’s Joel Diaz and defeated App State’s Barrett Blakely 5-3 in the semifinals.
His brother, Levi, was named the tournament’s Pinnacle Award winner, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team.
Caleb Hopkins moved his record to 17-4 on the season, ranking second on the Campbell team in wins.
Last year, he was the only Alaskan to qualify for the NCAA Championships and became the first Alaska wrestler in nine years to win a match with a 7-6 victory in the first round.
Hopkins is headed back to NCAAs, but this time, another Alaska qualifier will join him.
At Utah Valley University, Anchorage’s Evan Bockman punched his ticket after winning his final match at the Big 12 Championships.
Bockman (Grace Christian) needed to defeat Alan Clothier of Northern Colorado to earn the seventh and final conference berth at 197.
Down 2-1 entering the second, Bockman tied it on a quick escape and then took the lead on a takedown with 54 seconds left before riding out Clothier.
The seventh-seeded Clothier made it a 5-3 match with an escape in the third, but Bockman’s takedown with 36 seconds left all but clinched it for the Wolverine wrestler.
With riding time, the eighth-seeded Bockman earned a 7-4 decision to take the seventh-place Big 12 finish.
Bockman posted a 2-2 record at his first trip to the Big 12 Championships en route to placing seventh and earning his first trip to nationals.
At Doane University, 197-pounder Bradley Antesberger of North Pole earned All-American status at the NAIA National Championships.
The freshman finished fourth after dropping an 8-0 decision to No. 2 seed Trevor Lawson of Lindsey Wilson in the third-place match.
Fewer than 24 hours earlier, Antesberger upset Wilson in dramatic fashion, picking up a last-second takedown to avoid extra time in a 3-1 win.
Antesberger (North Pole) also faced Jack Servies of Marian, beating him both times by scores of 5-3 and 8-0. The two wrestlers have met twice previously over the past two seasons and have split their meetings, both winning by decision.
Led by the Alaskan, Doane finished fifth in its best-ever finish at the national championships.
At Colorado Mesa University, Anchorage’s Jayleen Sekona turned in one of the biggest surprises at the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships.
The unranked true freshman placed third to earn All-American status.
Sekona (South) defeated Simon Fraser’s Katja Osteen 9-6 in the consolation semifinals and then beat Nia Croasdale of King 4-1 to place third at 191.