by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
The next trophy for the Onaway wrestlers would be historic.
Last Thursday in Rogers City, the Cardinal wrestling program picked up its third-ever team district trophy with impressive wins over host Rogers City (59-24) and Charlevoix (60-24) in the final.
Onaway advanced to the regional tournament in Ishpeming Wednesday, Feb. 14
(past press time).
According to Onaway coach Mark Grant, the team district trophy was just the first step for a talented squad that fills all but one weight class.
“I just told them, they have not really accomplished anything because this (winning the team district) was only part of our goal – this is not our goal,” said Grant on the mat, shortly after his players accepted the state shaped trophy. “We have work to do and we’ve got to go get it done. It’s that simple.”
Onaway was matched up against St. Ignace on one side of the Upper Peninsula bracket, while Ishpeming Westwood and Manistique were on the other side.
The winner is headed to a quarterfinal match at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Friday, Feb. 23.
Rogers City has struggled with low numbers the last two seasons, and while there was an influx of freshmen this season and others coming up from the younger ranks, Huron coach George Sobeck knew it was going to be an uphill battle.
“I felt each individual wrestled well,” said Sobeck. “Austin Bielas, in particular, had an awesome match. He lost an initial takedown and battled back.” Bielas pinned the Cardinals Joey Galvez at 125 pounds to give Rogers City a 6-0 lead.
Onaway would go on to score 35unanswered-points from there, starting with Teddy Peters’ pin (1:50) of the Hurons’ Isaac Hein at 130.
Matthew Grant received a void win at 135 to give the Cards a 12-6 lead before Brendan Fenstermaker won his match over Huron Clayton Henry 16-1 to increase the Cardinals’ advantage to 17-6.
Seth Enos (145) and Sam Tennant were the recipients of void wins for Onaway before fellow Cardinal Coty Ionetz took to the mat at 160 and pinned Huron Tristan Boris in 49 seconds.
The Hurons’ Austin Cook got the only void-win to make the score 35-12 before the Cards’ Colby Pauly pinned Rogers City’s Dylan Daugherty in 51 seconds.
Rogers City’s Nick Toth pinned Onaway’s Alex Connelly in 1:21 and the Hurons’ Sam Sobeck pinned Onaway’s Dylan Crowe in 37 seconds.
Onaway received void-wins from Garrett Roat (285), Aidan Fry (103) and Brittney Wolgast (112).
Against Charlevoix, void wins put the score at 12-0 out of the gate when Fenstermaker was dominant again, pinning his opponent in 1:32. Enos lost the next match before Tennant’s pin in 3:13. The score was 24-6 when Ionetz came up with his second pin, this time in 2:52. Pauly turned in his second pin (3:21) for a score of 36-6 when the Red Rayders mounted a comeback with void wins and a pin. It was 36-24 when Fry gave the Cardinals a district title with a 53-second pin. The rest of the matches were void wins for Onaway and they advanced.
“Once again our hometown fans were fantastic,” said Grant. “Watching the team’s excitement at realizing the first step in our biggest goals was very rewarding for me. They have been beating each other up all season in a quest to reach our potential and now they are one step closer, but we still have work to do.”