Hartland closes out Monroe, 44-19, reaches state semifinals for sixth consecutive season
Battle Creek – Hartland coach Todd Cheney gave his team a challenge late Friday afternoon.
One of the most successful wrestling teams in the state the past 20-plus years, Hartland is still very much alive in the postseason. But something is missing for the historically-strong Eagles. They have never been the last team standing.
“Finish,” the veteran Cheney said. “I told them that we have to finish on Saturday.”
The Eagles advanced to the Division 1 semifinals for the sixth straight season, and for the 14th time in 23 years, with a 44-19 victory over Monroe at Kellogg Arena.
Monroe was making its first trip to Battle Creek since 2003.
Hartland was the state runner-up four straight years (2004-07). The Eagles (29-3) have reached the quarterfinals each of the last 14 seasons.
“It’s wide open this year,” Cheney said. “There’s a lot of (parity) this year in Division 1. It’s going to be a great semifinal match.”
Hartland (29-3) will face No. 2-seeded New Baltimore Anchor Bay on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with the winner advancing to the final in the afternoon.
Hartland won 10 of 14 matches against Monroe garnering a 38-9 lead through the first 10 weight classes. The Eagles recorded four pins accounting for 24 of their points.
This year’s run is slightly different from the recent successful squads.
“We have eight wrestlers that are wrestling in Battle Creek for the first time,” said Cheney. “This is one of our youngest teams we’ve had in my 23 years here. But this group wants to carry on the tradition and hopefully help us win our first title.”
Noah Lopez (103 pounds) opened the match for Hartland with a 5-4 decision over Neil Antrassian.
Reece Hughes (135) and Jacob Gorial (152) recorded pins for the Eagles.