Hudsonville, sans Grandville, gets past F.H. Central to win D1 region
Grand Rapids — Hudsonville wrestling coach Mike Rottier makes no apologies for his team’s return trip to the Division 1 team finals Feb. 26-27 at Central Michigan.
The Eagles stamped their ticket by capturing the regional at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central on Wednesday. Hudsonville beat Grand Haven in the semifinals 32-31, then beat the host Rangers 36-26, for the title.
Hudsonville’s path to Mount Pleasant may have appeared a little smoother after OK Red Division rival Grandville was disqualified from the team tournament because the Bulldogs had too many weigh-in dates during the year.
"Grandville is a great program, they were ranked high," Rottier said. "They beat us by 24 (points) earlier in the year, but we wanted a rematch at districts. We thought we could move our lineup around and give them a better match, but unfortunately that didn’t happen."
So the Eagles (26-5) wrestled the teams in front of them, and did what they had to do, which was win a lot of the close matches.
"We battled," Rottier said. "We had some matches that we lost on Saturday (at individual districts) head to head that we won tonight. We came through in many spots."
Some key matches won by Hudsonville were by senior Anthony Snead, who beat David Mainero, 10-2 at 140 pounds and senior Brenden DeVries, who beat Ike Kenney, 8-2, at 171.
The biggest match for the Eagles may have come in a loss, as freshman Kyle Scott lost a17-7 decision to Matt Mills, arguably the Rangers’ top wrestler, at 160 pounds.
"He did a nice job of doing his job," Rottier said of Scott. "We didn’t give up a lot of bonus points, and we gained some bonus points.”
A dejected Forest Hills Central coach Brad Anderson was wondering what went wrong for his team.
"I think we wrestled our best match the match before (a 37-34 win over Caledonia in the semifinals)," Anderson said. "We brought it against Caledonia, and I don’t know what happened against Hudsonville. They are a very good team, and they capitalized in the right matches. We didn’t finish where we should have, and against a team like that, it hurt us."
The championship match wasn’t even as close as the score showed, as Hudsonville forfeited the final two weight classes to make it a 10-point win.