By Mitchell Boatman
DETROIT- Oh so close.
Three local high school wrestlers advanced to the finals of their respective weight classes at the Michigan High School Athletic Association individual state finals at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday.
Unfortunately all three – Zach Young of Hesperia, Nick Felt of Shelby and Robbie Atland of Hart – lost their title matches, and settled for state runner-up honors.
Two of them lost by only one point.
Young competed in the 160-pound weight class in Division 4. He entered the championship match with a perfect 53-0 record, while his opponent, Zack Menck of Lawton, was 57-2.
Young fell behind 5-0 with a minute left in the match, but never gave up.
The senior scored two quick takedowns to draw within one point with 30 seconds left. Each wrestler was awarded a point with two seconds left, bringing the score to 6-5. Young attempted to get one more takedown, but didn’t have time to complete the comeback, and suffered his first loss of the season in the last match of his varsity career.
“You’ve just got to have heart and believe in yourself,” Young said. “Sometimes the hard work doesn’t pay off.”
Hesperia assistant coach Mark Arbogast said he was proud of Young’s effort all year.
“Zach’s a real gritty kid – he’s always giving everything he’s got,” Arbogast said. “No matter what the score is, he’s always in it. We couldn’t ask more from him as coaches.”
Shelby junior Nick Felt also came within a point of a state title, wrestling in the 140-pound class in Division 3. Felt led his match 1-0 with just three seconds remaining, but opponent Mason Breece of Birch Run scored a two-point takedown to win the state title.
Hart’s Robbie Atland came into the Division 3, 103-pound title match unbeaten at 54-0. But the junior couldn’t find a groove in a 7-2 loss in the championship match.
Atland’s opponent, Hunter Assenmacher of Ida, picked up two quick points on a takedown. Assenmacher nearly pinned Atland and took a 5-0 lead after the first round. Atland fell behind 7-0 before scoring a takedown in the third round, but he could get no closer.
Below is a list of other area wrestlers who placed and earned medals at the state finals.
MONA SHORES – Josh Hill (189) finished in fourth place.
REETHS-PUFFER – Brett Thomas (215) took sixth and Hunter McCall (189) finished eighth for the Rockets.
FRUITPORT – Zachary Sykes finished sixth in the 112-poubd weight class.
WHITEHALL – The Vikings had five grapplers earn medals. Tom Balakovitz (135) and Allen Powers (189) both finished fourth. Derek McCollom (160) took fifth and Trenton Blanchard (145) and Kayleb Venema (171) took home sixth.
HART – Jaco Bosley (112) and Noah Cantu (119) secured fourth place finishes for the Pirates.
GRANT – Jagarr Jenerou (135) took home third, while James Montney (152) finished seventh.
FREMONT – The Packers had Cade Breuker (140) finish sixth and Parker Dalson (145) take eighth.
KENT CITY – Evan Jones (135) finished in fifth. Whyatt Ellicott (160) took eighth.
HOLTON – Christian Brooks (189) finished seventh for the Red Devils.
MONTAGUE – The lone Wildcat to place was Matt Lipka (140), who finished seventh.
HESPERIA – Gerrit Yates (152) took home third place and Trentyn Gleason (145) took fourth.
RAVENNA – Matthew Hutson (171) represented the Bulldogs with an eighth place finish.