Wrestling team wins 7th consecutive league title
Grayling finishes Lake Michigan Conference championship meet with six individual league titles
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
With a first place finish at Saturday’s Lake Michigan Conference championship meet – plus an undefeated record vs. league opponents during the 2018-2019 regular season – the Vikings of Grayling High School clinched their seventh consecutive conference title.
The Vikings posted a 4-0 record during the regular season vs. Lake Michigan Conference opposition. They had to place third or higher during Saturday’s league tournament – an event hosted by Boyne City High School – in order to extend their conference championship streak to seven. The Vikings took first place, winning six individual league titles out of 14 total weight classes.
Joe Armstrong won the 103-pound division. Armstrong had only one opponent (Boyne City) during the tournament. He won the bout with a first round pin.
Nick Bluemlein, at heavyweight, also had only match on Saturday; he won it to finish first, scoring a round one pin vs. Kalkaska.
Max Halstead started his day with a pin vs. Charlevoix late in the first round. Halstead won by pin vs. Boyne City. He finished at 2-0 for the tournament, and he now has 97 career wins (as a junior).
Eli Bindschatel moved up a weight class and won the 189-pound division. Bindschatel won a 6-3 decision vs. Traverse City St. Francis during his first bout of the tournament. Bindschatel then won an 11-7 decision vs. Boyne City. He ended the day at 2-0.
Logan Joseph also moved up a weight class and took first place; he won the 215-pound division. Joseph pinned a Traverse City St. Francis opponent in the first round to start his tournament run. Joseph also won by pin vs. Charlevoix. He pinned a Kalkaska opponent in the first round to move to 3-0. In his fourth bout, he pinned a different Charlevoix opponent in the second round, ending the tournament with four wins, no losses.
Darrin Hawes took first place at 140. Hawes won by pin in the second round vs. his first opponent of the day (Kalkaska). Hawes then battled a different opponent from Kalkaska and Hawes pinned him in round two. Hawes then lost by pin vs. Boyne City. Three wrestlers at 140 finished in a three-way tie, and Hawes won the tiebreaker (least amount of time on the mat) to finish first in the division.
Three Vikings finished in second place at the tournament: Nick Green, Shelby Thomas, and Zach Duncan.
Green started his day with a 14-2 win by decision vs. Boyne City. He won by tech fall, 15-0, vs. teammate Allie Bonamie. Green then lost to a different Boyne City opponent and finished second.
Thomas lost to Kalkaska during her first match of the tournament on Saturday. Thomas then won by pin in the final seconds of the third round vs. Boyne City. She placed second.
Duncan won an 11-1 decision vs. Kalkaska to start his day. Duncan pinned a Charlevoix opponent in the first round. Next, he pinned teammate Kylie Berringer. In his final bout of the tournament, Duncan lost an 8-5 decision vs. Boyne City.
“I’m really happy for Eli. He was sick all week and moved up a weight class. Logan was all up for going up a weight class and winning. I’m pretty excited for them,” Coach Moore said.
Bindschatel and Joseph are seniors.
“Darrin had an exciting day. Joe, pretty basic day for him. Nick, same thing as Joe, just like Joe, just like Max,” Coach Moore said.
Coach Moore said clinching a seventh consecutive league title as a group “was pretty cool.” The point total for first place with regard to the conference championship tournament was close between Grayling and Boyne City early in the day.
“I think we kind of pulled away at the end,” Coach Moore said.
Coach Moore said his squad performed well considering that it was not at full strength.
“We were banged up and sick all week. We don’t have everyone with us,” Coach Moore said.
The Vikings will compete in the Team District 166-3 tournament at 6 p.m. at Kalkaska High School on Wednesday, February 6. The district features Grayling, Kalkaska, and Boyne City. Kalkaska will battle Boyne City first, and the winner will wrestle against the Vikings for the district title.
On Saturday, February 9, Grayling High School will host the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Individual District 17-3 tournament at 9 a.m. on Saturday, February 9. According to the MHSAA, the event will feature wrestlers from Benzie Central, Big Rapids, Boyne City, Gladstone, Grayling, Kalkaska, Kingsford, Kingsley, Ludington, Manistee, Menominee, Negaunee, Reed City, and Remus Chippewa Hills.