Pastor let out an enthusiastic roar while holding the Division 2 district trophy high overhead — a reaction that was almost instantly matched by his team after they defeated Coopersville in the finals at Fruitport High School, 39-32.
“I’m the type that tends to get a little overzealous from time to time,” Pastor said with a grin following the celebration. “Really, I look back at all those years when we were trying to build a program here and trying to get the kids to understand what we’re about.”
Pastor paused, as if his mission wasn’t yet completed.
“We’ll enjoy this tonight, and then go back to work tomorrow,” he said.
To see more photos of the Trojans' district wrestling meet, click here.
The district title was Fruitport’s first since 2003. The Trojans have come a long way, even in the four-year span of Dakota Gordon’s varsity career. His victory by decision at 152 pounds was critical to the Trojans’ win, as it put them up by a 39-17 score. It turned out to be Fruitport’s last points of the match.
“When I first started as a freshmen, I didn’t have a training partner in practice,” Gordon said. “I was getting beat up by seniors 20 or 30 pounds heavier than me.
“Coach has done so much to get this program rebuilt,” Gordon added. “It took a lot of hard work, but look what happens.”
The Trojans do have larger goals in sight, beginning with next Wednesday’s regionals at Lowell High School. Pastor said he expected the Trojans to match up with Wyoming Rogers in the regional semifinals.
After Wednesday’s wins over Reeths-Puffer and the Broncos, Pastor’s squad improves to 27-2 in dual matches this season. The Trojans felt confident entering Wednesday’s district, considering they had beaten both of their potential finals opponents in Spring Lake and Coopersville head-to-head.
Because of Coopersville’s lack of depth, the Broncos were fighting an upward battle throughout. They forfeited wins in four weight classes to the Trojans —at heavyweight, 112, 119 and 140. Still, Pastor said in weight classes where the Broncos were heavily favored, his squad did enough to avoid pins and limit points.
“As with most matches, you can’t give up a lot of bonus points,” Pastor said. “We expect to win every match, but in the case we can’t, it’s important that we avoid giving up bonus points. Tonight, I thought the kids were as focused as I’ve seen them all season and they got the job done.”
Coopersville opened the match with a pin at 215 pounds, but the string of forfeits and a technical fall victory by sophomore Tommy Martinez at 125 pounds put the Trojans up 23-10.
Dakota Zimmer scored a pin in the first round at 135 pounds to put Fruitport up 29-14.
Pastor said Gordon’s match at 152 was vital, because the Broncos were favored in the remaining three matches following. Gordon improved his season record to 21-3 and his 5-2 decision was the first time he’s won without it being a pin.
There was a scary moment during the 160-pound match, when Fruitport’s Cary Hansen had his breathing cut off by a headlock. After he was pinned by his Broncos’ opponent, Hansen briefly lost conciseness and laid flat on the mat. His body then began to seizure for a few seconds, which drew the immediate attention of Fruitport trainer Jaclyn Tanner.
“I checked his memory, and asked him where he was. I checked his pulse, and looked for possible signs of a concussion,” she said. “I tried to slow his breathing down because in the case of a seizure, you just try to slow everything down.”
After a nearly 10-minute delay, Hansen was alert and re-joined his teammates.
Gordon said the family atmosphere and their desire to win has carried the Trojans this season.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “You never had a team that wanted this more. But tomorrow we’d go to practice and work harder than we’ve worked all season. The season’s not over. We’ve put in too much work to (go to regionals) and not put up a good fight.”
In the semifinals, Fruitport took care of Reeths-Puffer, while Spring Lake was edged by the Broncos, 48-33.