Local Sports Journal
The Muskegon Community College Jayhawk wrestling team begins the season this weekend and as the No. 8-ranked team in the preseason polls.
On Friday and Saturday, the Jayhawks will be tested at Bartels-Rode Gymnasium with the likes of Triton College and No. 12-ranked Niagara Community College. In all, eight teams will be wrestling dual matches on Friday night.
Other teams include Grand Valley, Olivet, Lincoln College, Alma and Jamestown College. Wrestling begins at 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the annual Ben McMullen Open, an individual tournament, will begin at 9 a.m.
Not only are the Jayhawks nationally ranked, but so are several individuals.
Freshmen Luke Bell of Decatur is ranked ninth at 125 pounds and Brett Martin of Hesperia is a heavyweight ranked No. 11.
Sophomores with national rankings include Reed City’s Steven Ruppert, who is fourth at 149 pounds, Carson City Crystal’s Riley Boomer is sixth at 174 pounds and Tom Bolday is third at 197 pounds.
MCC also features a pair of solid local wrestlers. That group includes Reeths-Puffer’s Cody Stenberg and Grand Haven’s Garrett Kelly. Outstate talent comes three-time prep state champion Luke Bell of Decatur and former prep state champion Garett Edwards of Richmond.
“This was one of the best recruiting seasons we’ve had in many years as far as depth goes,” MCC coach Mark Brunger said. “We have accomplished wrestlers on the state and national level in every weight class. Combine this freshman class with our seasoned sophomores and we are going to make some noise.
“The important thing is staying sharp in the classroom and avoiding injuries. If we can do that, the sky is the limit for this squad.”
The team also welcomes back James Tietema as an assistant coach. Tietema was a national runner-up for the Jayhawks in 1999 and also was a Division II All-American at Findlay.