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Fruitport wrestling program hosts fifth-annual Legends Invite

Duncan MacLean • Jan 16, 2017 at 12:51 AM

FRUITPORT — The storied tradition of the Fruitport wrestling program was celebrated and further enriched Saturday with the fifth-annual Fruitport Legends Invitational. The individual tournament was held at Fruitport High School and is charged with introducing current wrestlers to the program’s roots, while pitting the Trojans against top-notch competition from across the state.

The Fruitport grapplers honored their predecessor’s legacy with a second-place overall finish out of ten competing teams. Their 196.5 points put them behind only top-ranked Lowell in the overall standings and just ahead of third-place Hastings.

Behind Hastings followed Kellogsville, Grandville, Hamilton, Mona Shores, Muskegon Catholic Central and Rockford.

The Trojans were successful throughout the day, landing four individual weight-class champions.

“It feels good,” said Fruitport head coach Randy Sykes. “I think we had 10 of the 14 weight classes scoring, I feel like my scorers did very well that I had in there.

“We had four champions, I’m very proud of my kids today.”

Levi Six (152), Zach Sykes (103), Mason Brown (104) and Dominic Dault (135) took home top-honors in their respective weight classes Saturday, while Derek Monje fell just short, losing in overtime of the 215-pound title match.

The success against much larger schools and programs has become an expectation at Fruitport. Sykes said it was all according to plan, but there were some pleasant surprises.

“For the most part, it went the way I thought it would go,” he said. “We had a close one at 215; we lost it, but it went as far as the match could go. That was another one we could have grabbed onto, but it was a great match.

“My 135 pounder, Dominic Dault, is a sophomore. He has come a long way since last year. He has won two tournaments this year. I knew he was a tough kid.”

Dault was pleased with his team’s finish, too, and chalks up his success to perspective.

“I think we did pretty good,” Dault said. “I used to picture myself winning. Now, instead of picturing that, which can stress you out a lot, I picture myself trying my hardest, because then I won’t be as discouraged when I do lose.

“As long as you are trying your hardest, you can feel good about yourself after.”

Dault gets to feel good about his pinfall victory and adding another championship to the long list of Fruitport wrestling achievements.

“The main part of this is for these young men to see the past wrestlers that came before them,” coach Sykes said. “That’s why this tournament was started, to represent the people that came before them.

“I think they did great. They made Fruitport proud today.”

The effort brings the Trojans one step closer to their ultimate goal and what the entire season is leading up to — a postseason run.

Sykes has high hopes for a team that is just now getting into fighting shape. Barring any further injury trouble, the Trojans look poised for an exciting March.

“Just like any other team right now, we are dealing with some injuries,” Sykes admitted. “I didn’t have my team where I wanted it today (Saturday). They will be back out there. I’m resting them for when we really need them, conference and districts.”

In the meantime, the Trojans will continue to slog through the O-K Black Conference season. They will return to the mats on Wednesday for a dual with Grand Rapids Union.

Crusader wrestlers hit the podium

The Muskegon Catholic Central wrestling team came into the Fruitport Legends Invitational on Saturday as one of the smallest schools at the event. The Crusaders managed to hold their own, finishing eighth of 10 teams.

A few crusaders made it through their respective weight class brackets to grab a spot on the podium.

Tanner Hall took fourth for MCC in the 152-pound division, while teammate Brock Johnson took home the gold in the heavyweight bracket.

Gabriel Flood also managed to grab a podium spot in the 115-pound bracket, finishing in fourth place.

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