By Greg Gielczyk
MANISTEE — It came down to the last match of the night between Orchard View and Catholic Central as the Lakes 8 Activities Conference quad came to an end Wednesday night at Manistee’s Chippewa Gymnasium.
The Crusaders had overcome an early deficit to take a 34-30 lead, but then gave up an open weight class that put the Cardinals ahead, 36-34 and only one individual match remaining.
Orchard View pulled out the victory, 42-34 when Amaris Lopez recorded a pin in 3:20 at 285 pounds.
Jayden Fulwilder took just 25 seconds to record a pin at 125. The Cardinals then had to surrender an injury default. But they came right back with another pin, this one in 33 seconds by Alex Eqisor at 140. Orchard View voided 119, 130 and 215.
“We didn’t have our full lineup today, so we knew we were going to be a little bit slim in some of our weight classes,” Orchard View head coach Chris Zitka said.
“We were missing a few guys.
“But, everybody knew what their job was going in and had to wrestle tough, and especially wrestling Muskegon Catholic. They had a pretty full lineup.
“If we were going to take the dual, everybody had to come ready to go. For the most part, everybody did do that. A few things we made mistakes on we’re going to fix.”
When it came down to it, however, with their backs against the wall the Cardinals came up big in the last match.
The Cardinals still have a lot to work on, Zitka cautioned.
“We’re happy with the win, but we have to make sure we’re working throughout the week,” he said. “We have City this weekend, and conference coming up.
“So, we have to get our guys healthy, and fix our mistakes we made tonight, and just keep pushing forward. We’re happy with it, but not satisfied.”
Catholic Central wasn’t at full strength, either. The Crusaders had a few open weight classes, which put them behind 18-0 right off the bat.
In addition to the three weight classes they couldn’t fill, their 130-pounder was sick and didn’t make the trip, and the Crusaders didn’t have a 215-pounder.
“But, the kids wrestled hard tonight,” Crusaders head coach Barry Kieft said. “Our really good kids wrestled well, and we won a couple matches we honestly didn’t plan on. The kids wrestled hard, and that’s all I ask for.
“It came down to the last match, and in high school sports you can’t ask for much more than that. It’s always a good match when we wrestle OV.
“They’re really good, and our goal is to eventually overtake them. We’re just under .500. We have some kids who have done really, really well.”
David Hill is one of those top wrestlers who has compiled a 17-2 record this season. Easton Cook and Zach Michael are each around 15-5.
Hall notched his 17th win with a pin in 1:30 at 152, and Cook won by a fall as well in 1:25 at 160.
After seeing 18 points go up on Orchard View’s side of the scoreboard from the voids they gave up, the Crusaders finally stepped on the mat with Max McCumber at 112 pounds, and he locked up a pin in 3:46.
The Crusaders also picked up a forfeit at 171 for Sawyer Hansen, and 189-pounder Zach Michael registered a pin in 2:14 to finish the Crusaders scoring.
Catholic doesn’t have a single senior on the roster. The Crusaders have only two juniors, and the rest are all freshmen and sophomores out of 12 wrestlers total.
The Crusaders also defeated Manistee, 54-24.
Ludington, the other team in the quad, finished 0-2 after losses to Manistee, 36-12 and Orchard View, 60-6. The Orioles brought only four wrestlers.
Check out photos shot by Gregg Gielczyk.