Alpena grapplers go 1-1 in tri-meet

After beginning a Wednesday home tri-meet on a sour note, the Alpena wrestling team found a way to end the night on a good note.

The Wildcats took a 56-18 loss against Petoskey to open the night, but rebounded in the final dual of the night by defeating Onaway 51-24.

Alpena won four matches by pin against the Cardinals and took another four by void, but used its depth to make short work of the Cardinals in a few weight classes. RJ Centala (152) pinned his opponent in a minute and Darron Mathia (119) earned a pin in 1:20.

It was a solid ending for the Wildcats who lost a lot of close matches against the Northmen and struggled to take control in several of them.

“I think against Petoskey we came out a little flat. There were some good matches, but they won the close matches and that’s what the made the difference in that dual,” Alpena coach Jake Stenz said. “I watched a little bit of the Onaway-Petoskey match and told them you’ve got to come out. For whatever reason, they came out a little more fired up and we took it to Onaway.”

Against Onaway, Emery Zarins (145), Dakota Patterson (171), Jacob Pilarski (103) and Jason Frank (135) won by void. Austin Meicher (160) earned a pin in 3:16 and Felix Suszek (215) pinned his opponent in 3:51. Austin Hawks (285) won by a 5-0 decision.

The Wildcats struggled to gain a foothold against Petoskey, winning just four matches. Patterson (160) earned a pin in 2:38 and Suszek (215) earned a pin in 3:59, pinning Drew Wilson with .6 seconds left in the second period. Mathia (130) won by decision 4-0 and Hawks (285) won by decision 6-2.

Alpena wrestled Petoskey deep into several matches, but it was the Northmen who won more often than not. Centala (145) wrestled a tough match with Nick Shobel, but lost 8-5. Petoskey also picked up wins at 135, 103 and 119 with pins that came in less than two minutes.

Stenz was proud of his seniors for stepping up, but said his younger wrestlers will need to keep improving.

“Felix, when’s he’s on he can wrestle with anybody. RJ lost a tough match against Sobel, that’s a kid that’s ranked in the state in Division 2. That’s a match that can go either way. Dakota stepped up big for us both matches,” Stenz said. “Our guys wrestled better against Onaway. Some of young guys struggled, wrestled a little more tentative and against Onaway we wrestled tough right from the get-go.”

Petoskey topped Onaway 52-24 in the night’s second dual. Joe Traynham (112), Frankie Ramos (285) and Matt Tollini (171) scored pins for Onaway.

Against Alpena, Traynham (112), Issac Nave (1:37), Tollini (171) earned pins for Onaway.

Alpena heads to Bay City this weekend for the Michigan Duals and will see a tough slate of teams as part of a pool that includes Bay City Western, Howell and Walled Lake Northern.

“Team-wise, I expect our guys to go down and battle,” Stenz said. “We’re going to wrestle some very tough teams and we’ll look forward to some more good matches to get ready for that district push.”