With the team split in two locations, six wrestlers competing in Lansing at the Grappler Gold Invitational and eight wrestlers at the Grayling Invitational, Onaway had eight Cardinals place in the top six Saturday. Coach Mark Grant split the team for a variety of reasons, “Some kids were not ready for the Lansing level event and others had other factors where it made more sense for them to wrestle in Grayling.”
Junior Matthew Grant was the lone Cardinal to place at the challenging Grappler Gold Invitational featuring 18 teams including two from Ohio and two from Indiana. Matthew Grant defeated Nick Ciccerelli of Brownsburg, Indiana 13-1 to start his day. He then fell to Eaton Rapids’ Chris Hayes 2-0.
Matthew Grant battled back with a 2-0 win over Ethan Polick of Clarkston before falling to Jonathon White of Dundee 2-1. Matthew Grant finished the day with a win by pin in 3:00 over Hayden Campbell of Eaton Rapids to finish fifth on the day at 138 pounds.
“At the Grappler Gold in Lansing we found some very tough competition for sure. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for! We wanted some elite matches and we found them. If they invite us back next year, I will certainly take another group down there so they can have the opportunity to compete at that level. By next year more of my guys will be ready to test those waters,” said coach Grant.
Senior Coty Ionetz was 1-2 at 145 pounds. Iontetz fell to Griffin Ison of Brownsburg, Indiana 8-4 before defeating Brian Stewart of Whitmer, Ohio 8-5. He then fell in overtime to Nick Haynes of Eaton Rapids 10-8.
Sophomore Colby Pauly was 2-2 at 182 pounds. Pauly fell to Greg Glover of Brownsburg, Indiana by pin in 1:31 before winning two matches via the bye and falling to Garrett Phillips of Clinton 15-0 to end his day.
Sophomore Seth Enos (152), senior Sam Tennant (160) and junior Teddy Peters (132) also competed on the day but did not win a match. Enos fell to Eli Dickens of Evansville Mater Dei, Indiana by technical fall 16-1 and Devin Takacs of Whitmer, OH 8-0. Tennant fell to Austin Tapley of Northwest by pin in 4:34 and Antwain Williams of Whitmer, Ohio 11-1. Peters fell to Grady Castle of Clarkston 13-1 and DaCoda Whalen of Eaton Rapids 132.
The tournament featured Davison, Brighton and Clarkston, ranked 2,3,4 respectively in Division 1, Division 2 ranked teams in Dewitt, Eaton Rapids, Warren Woods Tower and St. Johns, top-ranked Dundee from Division 3 and ranked teams in Division 4 in Onaway and Clinton.
THE OTHER half of the Onaway team was at Grayling for an invitational. Sophomore Brendan Fenstermaker was second at 145 pounds as after a first-round bye he defeated Dominic Reynolds of Clare by pin in 52 seconds and Michae Stepanovic of Benzie Central by pin in 1:19. In the match for first place Brendan Fenstermaker fell to Robert Skinner of Montrose Hill by pin in 2:49.
Senior Declan Clayton was second at 285 pounds. Clayton had a first-round bye before pinning Ethan Mears of Farwell in 1:33. He then defeated Bryce Parker of Farwell 7-3 before losing in the finals to Griffin Barnette of Montrose Hill by pin in 1:10.
Sophomore Aidan Fry was second at 112 pounds in a round-robin format weight class. Fry fell to Aidan Berenard of Montrose Hill by pin in 1:07. He then defeated Angel Baumgartner of Clare by pin in 36 seconds and Blake White of Clare by pin in 54 seconds to finish second.
Senior Gavin Fenstermaker was second at 171 pounds as he pinned Sir Xavier Navoni of Forest Area in 27 seconds and Preston Keeley of Ludington in 1:35 to reach the finals. In the finals Gavin Fenstermaker fell to Tyler Haggart of Houghton Lake by pin in 1:38.
Sophomore Joey Galvez was third at 125 pounds. Galvez had a first-round bye and pinned Daniel Thompson of Forest area in 1:44 before falling in the semifinals to Kyle Schaaf of Clare by pin in 2:47. Galvez battled back with a win by pin in 1:42 over Pellston’s Nathaniel Chiles to finish third on the day.
Dylan Crowe, a sophomore, was fifth at 130 pounds. Crowe fell to Sean Kittle of Montrose Hill by pin in 1:55 before pinning Carolina Martinez of Forest Area in 32 seconds. He then fell to Jarred Streeter of Benzie Central 10-7 before defeating Shelby Thomas of Grayling by pin in 4:07.
Junior Maxwell Boettger was sixth at 160 pounds. Boettger fell to Benzie Central’s Joe Orfe by pin in 3:00 before pinning Zach Frowey of Farwell in 2:16. He then fell to Pellston’s Isaiah Crawford by pin in 1:36 and Deklin James of Houghton Lake by pin in 59 seconds. Freshman Nick Garnder also competed at 103 pounds going 0-2 on the day.
“At Grayling we finished fourth as a team. The group wrestled hard and we had several kids in the finals. Coach Rod (Fullerton) said ‘that the team wrestled very physical and was constantly attacking’ which is exactly what I wanted to hear. When I asked him if there was anything particular that I needed to address in practice on Monday for this group he told me to just keep doing what we are doing because they are making good progress,” said coach Grant.
“I am very proud of the entire team for their performance over the weekend. I think they represented themselves well and used the opportunity to get better along the way. The losses we took at both venues will be building blocks for our overall team goals. This week we travel to Chippewa Hills for what I used to consider the toughest tournament on our schedule. These days the tournament is probably number four but not because it got any easier, our schedule has just gotten that much more competitive. We will just keep working hard, having fun, and try to get better while looking for more mountains to climb,” said coach Grant.
WEDNESDAY ONAWAY hosted Mio for a 2 p.m. assembly dual. Onaway won the dual surrounded by an exciting atmosphere, with exhibition matches following as coach Grant got as many kids on the mat as he could. The entire Onaway Area Community Schools’ student body, kindergarten through 12-grade was in attendance.
“The dual was more fun than I thought it would be. The students were chanting the wrestlers names while they competed. The crowd seemed to like the Walk-out music that each competitor selected. Whenever an OHS (Onaway High School) wrestler did something positive the gym erupted with noise. The team had a blast performing in front of their student body,” the coach said.
Though short on numbers the Hurons’ wrestling team is tall on talent and proved it with a win over Alpena and a tie with Gaylord’s “B” team Dec. 12.
Rogers City and Gaylord wrestled to a 30-30 tie even though the Hurons suited up wrestlers in just six of the 14 weight classes.
A pin in 3:03 by Austin Bielas (145) over Kurtis Hill set the tone for the match. Anthony Paull (152) followed that with a pin at the 4:52 mark after battling Gaylord’s Joe King through a scoreless first two periods.
Clayton Henry’s first-round pin in just 28 seconds gave the Hurons an 18-0 lead. He topped Aaron Kassuba at 160 pounds. A double void at 171 and 189 came before Dylan Daughtery’s win at 215. He pinned Lance Linquiot at 3:41 to increase the Hurons’ lead to 24-0.
Then a double void at 285 set up the 103-pound match. Gaylord’s Ryland Borowiak pinned Rogers City’s Caden Fenstermaker in 3:37 to cut the Hurons’ lead to 24-6. But Huron voids at 112, 119, 125 and 130 gave Gaylord a 30-24 lead.
Then, needing a pin to tie the score, Huron sophomore Isaac Hein (140) delivered. He stuck Gaylord’s Kevin Meisner in 38 seconds for six points, earning a tie with the Blue Devils.
Alpena, like the Hurons, suited up just six wrestlers in the final match of the day. Double voids at 112, 119, 125, 130 and 135 did not register points for either side.
Paull earned a pin over Heidi Garratt in 3:45 and then Henry suffered a 9-4 loss to Matt Barrett.
Daugherty pinned Edwardo Sprusso in 3:12 and the Hurons voided at 215 and 285 and trailed 15-12 with the lighter weights coming up.
Fenstermaker won by void at 103 and Hein earned five team points with a 20-3 win over Mason Bree. Alpena voided at 145 to give Bielas a win and a 29-15 Huron win.
No results were available from the Hurons’ trip to Marquette last Saturday. The team is scheduled to compete at Ogemaw Heights today (Thursday).