G.R. Catholic Central looks to repeat as champions at the Division 3 team wrestling regional on Wednesday
Portland – One of the interesting aspects of the high school wrestling season is that the individual and team tournaments run together, although on different days, throughout February.
And many times, teams that meet in the team tournament on Wednesday or Thursday during the week, also have individuals competing against each other in the individual tournament on Friday or Saturday.
This allows an up close scouting report by coaches during some high-level competition.
That happened Saturday at the Division 3 individual district at Portland High when Allendale, Battle Creek Pennfield, Belding and Grand Rapids Catholic Central had wrestlers competing to move on individually, knowing that all four would be meeting Wednesday at Lake Odessa Lakewood High at team regionals with a chance to advance to the team finals in Battle Creek later this month.
All four teams did well Saturday, as Allendale and Grand Rapids Catholic Central each had nine wrestlers advance to regionals next week. Belding had seven and Battle Creek Pennfield had five.
All four coaches were paying attention to their competition and took metal notes in preparation for Wednesday.
Belding and C.C. wrestle in one semifinal at 5:30 p.m. with Allendale and Pennfield to meet in the other semifinal. The winners meet that same evening with a chance to move on to the finals.
“If you look at the finals (last Saturday), it’s a highlight show with all the Allendale and Catholic Central wrestlers,” Belding coach Travis Meyer said. “We have to step up our game Wednesday. We will put guys in the right spot to give us an opportunity to win, and we will work hard Monday and Tuesday to be in the best shape to take advantage of that opportunity, but we have to step up our game. But we like wrestling good teams.”
C.C. is ranked No. 7 in Division 3, Allendale is ranked No. 10, and each team dominated the finals, as both had six wrestlers in the finals. C. C. had five champions; Allendale four.
Winning district titles for the Cougars were Devin Schroder (119 pounds), Kole Krauss (130), Nate Limmex (140), Foster Karmon (145) and Grant Tennihil (215). Allendale champions were Nick Dankowski (112), Brandon Dyke (152), Jesse Groeneveld (160) and Jon Nielsen (189).
“We have our work cut out for us just to get past Pennfield,” Allendale coach Duane Watson said. “That is 99 percent of our focus. They are a way better team that people up here give them credit for. That’s our focus now, concentrate on them and let the other side of the bracket take care of itself.”
Pennfield had one champion in heavyweight Taylor Dean. Belding did not have a district champion but did have a pair of runner-ups in Nate Coley at 140 and M Michael Walker at 171.
“This district was very telling on what will come on Wednesday,” C.C. coach B. J. Schroder said. “We know we are going to have to take one team at a time and one match at a time, because Belding and Allendale have great wrestlers.”
Schroder and his Cougars have the target on their backs. C.C. was the team regional champion last year as if defeated Allendale by a point in an epic final.
Will that spill over into this year?
“Not so much, because this team is a whole different fabric of kid,” Watson said. “We have a different makeup with this team, and it’s best to look into the future instead of looking back.”
Schroder is not totally buying that.
“I like that they will have revenge on their mind,” Schroder said. “They can have revenge on their mind, we will have technique.”