The Ravenna wrestling team continues to knock off giants on its path through the state team tournament.
Last week the Bulldogs defeated traditional power Hesperia to win the second team district championship in program history. On Wednesday they beat another state power, Carson City Crystal, 45-23, in the finals of the Division 4 regional tournament at Delton-Kellogg High School.
The Bulldogs beat Lakeview in the semifinal match 66-12 before beating Carson City Crystal to clinch the first team regional championship in Ravenna wrestling history.
Ravenna now moves on to Tuesday’s Division 4 state quarterfinals at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. The Bulldogs will wrestle yet another longtime state power, New Lothrup. The semifinals and finals will be the same day at the same venue.
“We beat Hesperia this year and then Carson City Crystal – they are two traditional power programs,” said Ravenna Coach Cody Carpenter. “I just can’t believe these guys, I’m just so proud of them. We kept telling them to believe in their abilities, and it was like a light switch coming on when they started to believe they could do this. The boys really showed some heart. They knew they had the opportunity to make school history.”
Ravenna is how 14-10 on the season, after going 10-10 in the regular season. That record is deceiving, because the Bulldogs purposefully wrestle many tough teams from bigger schools during the regular season, to strengthen themselves for the postseason.
That strategy is obviously paying off.
“We try to wrestle as many Division 2 and Division 3 schools as possible,” Carpenter said. “I think it’s important to wrestle tough matches. Maybe we get some losses, but it’s not how the season starts, it’s how it finishes. You want to peak at the right time.”
Ravenna had five two-match winners on Wednesday – Nicholas Scofield (112,119), Kevin Spoelman (125), Austin Brown (135), Josh Kooiman (145) and Zeke Thompson (171). Several other key wrestlers went 1-0, including Brendan Forsythe (215), Landon Goerbig (215), Caiden Nawrocki (285) and Steven Cook (285).