Wrestling team wins 6th consecutive league title
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s varsity wrestling team clinched its sixth consecutive Lake Michigan Conference title on Saturday, winning eight of 14 weight classes during the LMC championship meet hosted by Traverse City St. Francis.
“Six in a row, that’s cool,” said Coach Andy Moore.
Grayling’s eight individual conference champions were: Thomas May (112), Tucker Mertes (119), Andrew Hopkins (125), Cole Hibbard (130), Max Halstead (135), Logan Joseph (171), Tyler Withers (189), and Reece Ferrigan (215).
Joseph started his day with a second round pin vs. Boyne City. In his second bout of the tournament, Joseph won a 6-0 decision vs. teammate Eli Bindschatel. Joseph won by pin in the second round vs. Charlevoix. Later, he defeated a different Charlevoix opponent with a first round pin. He finished the day undefeated, ending his tournament run with a second round pin vs. an opponent from Boyne City. It was his 99th career high school wrestling victory.
Withers also had a busy tournament for Grayling. In his first bout, Withers won by pin in the first round vs. Boyne City. He won a 6-1 decision vs. Kalkaska in his second match. In his third, Withers won by pin vs. Grayling teammate Justin Bodkins. Later, Withers pinned a Charlevoix opponent in the first round. In his fifth bout of the day, he won due to a disqualification vs. Boyne City.
Halstead opened his LMC championship bracket with a round one pin vs. Boyne City. He won by pin vs. Kalkaska in the first round. Halstead also scored a first round pin vs. Charlevoix. During his fourth bout of the day, Halstead pinned a different Kalkaska opponent.
Ferrigan’s first trip to the mat ended with a quick win by pin (nine seconds) vs. Kalkaska. He also won by pin in the first round vs. Boyne City and Charlevoix to finish 3-0 and clinch first place in his weight class.
In the 119-pound division, Grayling had the only two wrestlers in the bracket. Mertes defeated teammate Nick Green by decision, 6-2.
At 125, there were only two wrestlers available – one from Grayling, Hopkins, and one from Boyne City. Hopkins won the match with a first round pin, clinching his fourth career individual league championship.
Hibbard also had only one opponent in his weight class (130). Hibbard defeated his Kalkaska counterpart 6-5 by decision to win the division.
At 112, May was the only competitor and won the weight class by default.
Coach Moore said it was good to see eight Vikings in the line of champions out of 14 weight classes following the presentation of individual medals.
“Our goal was 10, so we were close to our goal,” Coach Moore said. “Eight’s cool.”
Several other Vikings won matches, and a couple of them came close to winning individual league titles.
Nick Bluemlein (heavyweight) started his day with a first round pin for a win vs. Kalkaska. Bluemlein defeated a different Kalkaska with a second round pin in his next match. He also won by pin in the first round vs. Charlevoix. In his final bout of the day – a battle against a Traverse City St. Francis opponent who was also undefeated going into the contest – he lost by pin.
Zach Duncan (103) also made it to the final round undefeated. Duncan started his tournament run with a round two pin vs. Charlevoix. He pinned teammate Joe Armstrong in the third round. Later, in his final bout of the day, Duncan lost in overtime vs. Boyne City.
Armstrong had a 16-4 win vs. Charlevoix on Saturday, and Parker Dole had a pin for a win vs. Charlevoix. Darrin Hawes won a 14-5 decision vs. Boyne City.
The Vikings will host the Michigan High School Athletic Association Individual District 17-3 tournament at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.