Alpena takes two
The Alpena wrestling team started off a Big North Conference quad on Wednesday at Alpena High School with a dominating 66-6 win over Traverse City Central that included seven pins by the Wildcats.
But Alpena coach Jake Stenz wanted more out of his team.
Before Alpena’s next match of the night against Traverse City West, Stenz challenged his entire lineup to step up and wrestle hard. The Wildcats responded in kind, edging the Titans 41-34 to leave the quad with two wins.
After a series of losses in the lightweight classes, R.J. Centala won by decision at 152 pounds to ensure an Alpena win.
“RJ looked right at me and said ‘Hey I’ve got this guy’,'” Stenz said. “He wanted it so we sent him out there to finish it out for us and that’s what we want out of our guys, especially our more experienced guys.”
Alpena started off on a good note against West as Dakota Patterson (160), J.D. Niergarth (171) and Austin Weekes (189) all won by pin. Felix Suszek lost at 215 by decision and Aleco Hantzis (285) won by pin in 31 seconds.
The lightweight matches went back and forth for the Wildcats as Danielle Weekes (112), Anjelica Patterson (125), Zach Fruchey (130) and Austin Meicher (140) all lost by pin. Deron Mathia (119) earned a win by pin in the last 30 seconds of his match with West’s Jonah Jasman. Connor Day (135) also won by pin for Alpena.
Petoskey also left the quad with two wins, beating West in the opener 51-25 and crushing Central 84-0.
After a double-void at 152 pounds and a win by void for Dakota Patterson (160), Alpena reeled off seven straight pins against the Trojans. Niergarth (171), Austin Weekes (189), Suszek (215), Hantzis (285), Danielle Weekes (112), Mathia (119) and Anjelica Patterson (125) all won by pin and five of those matches were done in 90 seconds or less.
Fruchey (130) picked up a win by void as did Day (135) and Centala (145). Alpena’s lone loss by pin came at 140 pounds as Central’s Caleb Kase pinned Shane Trafelet.
Despite the win, Stenz felt his team needed to improve and challenged his wrestlers in between matches.
“I thought against Central, they’re in a rebuilding year, our guys came out kind of flat. So when we were done I challenged them to pick it up,” Stenz said. “West wasn’t going to lay down. They weren’t going to come over to our mat and let us beat them. I challenged our upperweights to come out and get us a lead and I challenged our lightweights to come out and win some matches for us.”
Alpena will wrestle again on Saturday at the Northern Michigan Championships in Gaylord.