Vikings win District 166-3 wrestling tournament for second consecutive season, defeating Cheboygan and Boyne City on Wednesday
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
For the second consecutive season, the Grayling Vikings are district champions. Grayling High School’s varsity wrestling program defeated the Cheboygan Chiefs and the Boyne City Ramblers on Wednesday night during the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s District 166-3 team tournament to clinch its second straight district title. The Vikings hosted the tournament.
Boyne City drew a bye in the semifinals, putting the Ramblers into the championship round.
In the other semifinal part of the bracket, the Vikings drew the Chiefs.
In the first bout of the Grayling vs. Cheboygan series, Cole Dickie (130) won for the Vikings by default. Tucker Mertes (135) also won for Grayling by default. The Vikings led 12-0.
Neither squad had a wrestler at 140. Cheboygan won the 145-pound weight class with a third round pin.
At 152, Max Halstead scored a quick pin for the Vikings. Both teams forfeited at 160. Grayling did not have a competitor at 171. After seven weight classes – half of the total number of divisions – the Vikings had an 18-12 advantage.
Parker Dole (189) won for Grayling by default. The Chiefs won by pin at 215. In the heavyweight division, Nick Bluemlein pinned his Cheboygan in the third round.
Joe Armstrong (103) and Kylie Berringer (112) won for the Vikings by default. Zach Duncan (119) pinned his Cheboygan opponent in the first round. In the final weight class of the series – 125 pounds – Nick Green won for GHS by default.
The Vikings won the series 54-18, and Grayling advanced to the District 166-3 finals.
In the first weight class of the Grayling vs. Boyne City series – the 135-pound division – Mertes won by default for the Vikings. Jordan Wakeley (140) pinned his Boyne City counterpart in the third round.
The Vikings forfeited at 145. Jeff Kennedy (152) won by default for Grayling. Max Halstead (160) won a 14-1 decision. Grayling did not have a wrestler at 171.
With eight weight classes remaining, the Vikings led 22-12.
Dole (189) won a 10-2 decision for Grayling. Andrew Kanary (215) pinned his Boyne City counterpart in the first round. Bluemlein (heavyweight) also scored a first round pin for the Vikings.
Armstrong (103) and Berringer (112) won by default.
At 119, Duncan won a 14-3 decision vs. Boyne City. Green (125) won by default. The Vikings forfeited at 130.
Grayling won by a final score of 60-18, clinching its second consecutive District 166-3 championship.
Earlier in the season, the Vikings battled the Ramblers – both squads are in the Lake Michigan Conference – and Grayling won 46-30. This time, in the district tournament, it wasn’t as close, and the Vikings posted a 6-0 record in contested matches. In the earlier match-up, the Vikings won six of nine contested matches against the Ramblers.
“That was good. I thought it would be a little closer. Our conference dual was a little tighter,” Coach Andy Moore said.
Coach Moore said the team’s celebration after winning its second straight district championship was “subdued,” because the squad isn’t satisfied; it wants to keep going.
“They want more. They want next week,” Coach Moore said on Wednesday after winning the District 166-3 tournament.
Coach Moore said the team set a goal to win regionals this year, and the Vikings have an opportunity to do that this week.
“It’s going to be some work but I think we can do it,” Coach Moore said.
Coach Moore said performing well against Boyne City in the District 166-3 finals was “definitely a momentum boost for us.”
“Hopefully that carries into next week. Sounds like we have Gladstone,” Coach Moore said.
The Vikings will battle the Gladstone Braves – winners of District 165-3 – in the semifinal round of the Division 3 Region 117 tournament on Wednesday, February 19, at Kingsley High School. The winner will then wrestle against Benzie Central or Kingsley for the regional championship.