Grand Haven produced six weight class champions at the Adam Provencal Wrestling Invite on Saturday at Grand Haven High School, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a powerful Shelby program from capturing first place at the event.
The Tigers finished with 220 points in the team standings, edging out the Bucs who managed 214.5.
The rest of the standings featured Comstock Park (155.5); Mona Shores (102); Zeeland West (101.5); Kalamazoo Central (97); Grand Rapids Northview (81); and Spring Lake (78.5).
The invite is named in honor of the late Adam Provencal, a former wrestling and soccer standout at Grand Haven who was accidently shot and killed in a tragic Halloween accident in 1992.
Grand Haven wrestling coach James Richardson makes it a point to speak to his team prior to the invite about the type of student-athlete that Provencal was and the legacy he left behind. In that sense, the tournament is always one of the most anticipated on Grand Haven’s schedule.
Adam’s father, Jack, who recently retired as Grand Haven’s athletic director and is a former Hall of Fame wrestling coach himself, was on hand Saturday, often giving advice to Bucs’ wrestlers before and after their matches.
“The fact that he’s in the Hall of Fame speaks for itself,” Richardson said. “We really value him making the effort to connect with the kids and his calming presence is good for all involved.”
Provencal’s advice was obviously well received, as six Grand Haven grapplers took home individual titles at the meet. Leading the charge were Camden Bertucci at 112 pounds; Dakota Juarez at 160; Connor Moynihan at 171; Drew Ellingboe at 189; Matt Mulcahy at 215; and Chase VanHoef at 285.
“I really like where we’re at right now,” Richardson said, whose squad captured its first regional title last season. “Our young guys are really working hard at improving every day and our older guys are trying new things in an effort to get better.”
The Bucs’ depth was a highlight in several weight classes, including 189, where they dominated. Santiago Lopez was second and Connor Morley placed third behind champion Ellingboe. At heavyweight, Tyler Tippons was runner-up to teammate VanHoef, while Grand Haven also placed second and third at 119, with Zach McKinnon and Tyler Franklin, respectively.
“We’ve got quality kids that could be starting at other programs,” Richardson said. “The competition in our own room is so tough.”
Spring Lake’s top finishers were Maxx Kriger at 130 pounds, who finished runner-up to Mona Shores’ Taylor McPhail; Kyle Edwards at 125 pounds, who placed third; and Danny Kamp (145), Gabe Giddings (152), Zack Kennedy (160), and Mason Dial (171), each each finished fourth.
Grand Haven returns to the mat on Wednesday, as the Bucs host their special Cancer Awareness match against visiting East Kentwood. The Bucs will sport special purple and gold uniforms and will be accepting donations in an effort to raise awareness for childhood cancer. The meet against the Falcons begins at 7 p.m.
TROJANS TUSSLE AT ORCHARD VIEW
A trio of Fruitport wrestlers posted undefeated records at Saturday’s Orchard View Individual Tournament.
The Trojans’ Chris Hendricks was 3-0 at heavyweight, scoring a pin over Ludington’s Griffin Ray among his three wins.
Collin Butler also finished 3-0 on the day as he won by pin, major decision and decision at 140 pounds.
At 135, Thomas Martinez went 3-0 with a pin against Monte White of Muskegon and a pair of decision wins.
Cameron Butler finished 3-1 for the Trojans, recording pins against Ludington, Muskegon and Kingsley while getting pinned by Dansville’s Dresden Simon.
The Trojans’ Alexander Foster finished 2-1, scoring wins over Ravenna and Niles and losing to Dansville.
Joshua Brooks was 1-1 at 103 pounds, and Gavin Taylor went 2-2 at 119. Austin Fialek posted a 2-1 record at 152 pounds, while Bradley Chorny and Dylan Fialek were each 1-2.
Jack Beeman went 3-2 at 215 pounds. He pinned opponents from Orchard View, Muskegon and Montague.