The Buccaneers scored 212 points and had seven conference champions. In the process, the Bucs earned a share of the overall conference title with Rockford, which had claimed the regular-season championship.
“I’m very proud of our boys and how they wrestled,” said Grand Haven coach James Richardson, whose team won its first league title since 2005. “Their approach to this tournament was as good as any team I’ve coached.
“It’s nice to know that Grand Haven has seven conference champions and the rest of the conference has to share the other seven,” Richardson added.
Grand Haven’s Camden Bertucci was the conference champion at 103 pounds, while Josh Juchartz won the title at 125 pounds. Allen Torres was the O-K Red champ at 135, as was Abraham Westerman at 145 and Dakota Juarez at 152. Connor Moynihan was the winner at 171 pounds, while Garrett Kelly won his weight class at 215.
In addition, the Bucs’ Ian Radde placed second at heavyweight and Garret Young took third at 130. Eric VanHorssen scored a stirring comeback win to place fourth at 119 pounds. Luke Avrill was fourth at 140 pounds, as was Drew Ellingboe at 160 and Matt Mulcahy at 189.
“I’m happy with the boys who took first, and I’m equally pleased with all the boys who placed,” said Richardson, who saw 13 of his 15 wrestlers earn all-conference honors. “The kids won quite a few first-round matches and had quite a few upsets, which helped us.”
The Bucs’ VanHorssen was down 7-2 with 20 seconds remaining in a match and came back to force overtime, where he won.
“That allowed him to place, which essentially picked up 10 more points for our team,” Richardson said. “Last year, we lost by less than a point. That’s huge.
“Drew Ellingboe, that’s the best I’ve seen him wrestle all year. His ports were as important as any first-place points.”
Richardson told his team to enjoy Saturday’s success over the weekend, but be ready to get back to work on Monday. Grand Haven will compete in the Division 1 team district tournament on Thursday at Mona Shores. The Bucs take on the host Sailors in the first round, and would likely meet West Ottawa in the finals.
“As soon as it was done, I told the boys I was very pleased with them, and they should enjoy it Saturday and Sunday, but I wanted them to remember, this is one goal for our team, not the goal,” Richardson said. “They know there are other goals to accomplish.”
LAKERS TAKE 2ND
Spring Lake took runner-up behind league champion Fremont at Saturday’s Lakes Eight Conference meet.
Eleven of the Lakers’ 12 wrestlers placed in the top four at the meet, with Tyler Nietering claiming a conference championship at 119 pounds. Andrew Hissom won the conference crown at 189, and Billy Belcher won the league title at heavyweight.
Harry Kriger placed second at 140 pounds, as did Mitchell Kriger at 145 and Jared Marod at 215.
Jake Chittenden took third at 152, while Max Kriger was fourth at 125. Kyle Edwards placed fourth at 130, as did Zack Kennedy at 160 and Mason Dial at 171.
“All in all, we wrestled really well today,” said Lakers’ coach Dan Robinson, whose team entered the meet as the third seed behind Fremont and Fruitport.
“We only had 12 guys, and having 11 of them place, Iw as very pleased with that. I’m not sure if we have ever had that many placers on one team, but we have been preaching all year to the guys that we could be a real solid team in individual tournaments.
“You have to hand it to Fremont, they are strong top to bottom, but I was very happy with how we performed and I hope this carries over to next weekend.”
The Lakers head to Fruitport on Wednesday for the Division 2 team district tournament, then will host the Division 2 individual districts on Saturday.