Wrestling team looks to extend league championship streak to seven
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s varsity wrestling team is looking to earn another Lake Michigan Conference title – if the squad succeeds, it would extend the program’s active streak to seven consecutive championships – and after achieving that goal, the Vikings are hoping to compete for district and regional titles during the 2018-2019 postseason.
Coach Andy Moore said winning the league championship for a seventh consecutive year “is our ultimate goal. District championship is very attainable this year.”
The Vikings will be in District 166-3 for the Michigan High School Athletic Association team playoffs this year. The district has three schools: Boyne City, Grayling, and Kalkaska.
The Vikings will get multiple opportunities to face Kalkaska and Boyne City this year before districts since both squads are in the Lake Michigan Conference with Grayling.
The wrestling team started its official practices for the 2018-2019 season on Monday, November 12.
Similar to last season, the Vikings focused more on technique than conditioning for the early sessions.
“Same as last year, a lot of technique stuff,” Coach Moore said.
Coach Moore said the squad overall is somewhat young and inexperienced, so the early practices featured a lot of work on the fundamentals.
“We’re still young. Mostly sophomores and juniors,” Coach Moore said.
The squad has a mix of new wrestlers and returners. The team lost four members of its starting line-up to graduation, and other starters did not return for the current season.
“We lost half our team from last year,” Coach Moore said.
Coach Moore said he expects to have a full line-up for the start of the season, or a line-up missing one weight class.
“Hopefully we’ll be covered but we’ll probably void one,” Coach Moore said.
During meets, there are 14 weight classes: 103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189, 215, and heavyweight. A win by pin earns six team points during meets. A win by decision (points) earns three, four, or five team points depending on the margin of victory. A win by default, where the other team has a void in the line-up, earns six team points.
Coach Moore said the early practice sessions went well this year.
“I was impressed with the technique we showed. They responded well. Nice, quiet drilling practice. That’s what I expect every day this year,” Coach Moore said.
Any possible milestones coming this season?
“Max (Halstead) will get 100 wins,” Coach Moore said. “That will be the big milestone for us.”
Halstead, a junior, was an all-state wrestler for Grayling last year. He missed part of the regular season with an injury, but he was able to come back and finish his season with an individual conference championship, a third place finish at individual districts, a second place finish at individual regionals, and a sixth place finish at the MHSAA state finals.
Logan Joseph, a senior, reached the 100-win mark last year.
“What we’re looking for this year is big things out of Max, big things out of Zach Duncan. Logan, obviously as a senior, looking for him to step up. Looking for Blue (Nick Bluemlein), if Blue stays committed he’s got a shot at the state meet,” Coach Moore said.
Duncan won 38 matches last year as a freshman.
Coach Moore said a few of his other younger wrestlers should also have solid seasons this year.
“Joe Armstrong is the hardest working kid in the room right now. Bradley Trosper should be pretty good,” Coach Moore said.
Grayling will host several wrestling meets this year, including individual districts.
The Vikings will open their 2018-2019 season with a home meet vs. Petoskey and Sault Ste. Marie at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5. Grayling will host tournaments on Saturday, December 15, and Saturday, January 12. The Vikings will host Kalkaska and Tawas on January 16.
Grayling High School will host the Individual District 17-3 meet this year on Saturday, February 9. The tournament will feature wrestlers from Benzie Central, Big Rapids, Boyne City, Gladstone, Grayling, Kalkaska, Kingsford, Kingsley, Ludington, Manistee, Menominee, Negaunee, Reed City, and Chippewa Hills, according to the MHSAA.
If the Vikings succeed in winning the District 166-3 team wrestling tournament, they will host the Division 3 Region 9 tournament on February 13.