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Fruitport wrestling team finishes runner-up at Legends Invite

Josh VanDyke • Jan 14, 2019 at 12:53 AM

FRUITPORT — The Fruitport wrestling program held its annual Legends Invitational on Saturday, as the Trojans embraced their past, present and future.

On the mats, Fruitport would ultimately finish runner-up with 192.5 points, behind Hamilton at 202.5.

Wyoming Kelloggsville (123.5 points) finished third; Watervliet (122 points) finished fourth; Rockford (99.5 points) finished fifth; Grandville (78 points) finished sixth; Houghton Lake (52 points) finished seventh; Ludington (27 points) finished eighth and Muskegon Catholic Central (18 points finished ninth.

"We wrestled really well today," said Fruitport head coach Mike Michelli. "We had a few guys that were out with illnesses the last few weeks that made it back today and really toughed it out for their team.

"Our lineup is really just starting to fill out and kids are getting healthy. Every season, a team can get hit with a bug late in the year and that can really throw your whole season off We aren't a real deep team, but once we get everyone back in wrestling shape, we really like what we have to work with. Our goal now is just to keep getting better in time for February."

Crue Cooper led the Trojans with a first-place finish at 171 lbs., capping off his day with a major decision (12-1) over Kameron Thurston of Hamilton in the championship match.

Mason Brown added a first-place finish at 112 lbs., as he scored a pinfall win over Trever Pelton of Watervliet in 2:32. Also adding a top-place finish was Zech Richardson at 152 lbs. and Trever Wahr at 103 lbs.

Richardson scored a 7-5 decision over Josh Hill of Rockford to take the gold medal in his weight class, while Wahr added a pinfall win over his teammate, Brennen Martin, in the championship round of his weight class.

Dominic Dault (135 lbs.), David Ross (145 lbs.), Martin (103 lbs.) and Evan Ludlow (125 lbs.) each finished runners-up in their weight classes, while Jayme Woodring (215 lbs.) and Wes Illuim (285 lbs.) both finished third and Connor Sykes (119 lbs.) finished fourth.

"I was happy to Dominic back out there today, and he finished second in his weight class after battling a bug the last week or so. Zech had to wrestle against some quality opponents at 152 pounds and ending up winning his division.

"Mason Brown was coming back from an injury recently and is really just now getting back into wrestling shape. The kid he beat in the championship round was ranked in the top eight of his weight class, so that was a big win for him.

"Crue is just a force at 171. It won't be easy for him when we get to the postseason at his weight class, but he's ready for those tests. He's really putting it all together."

HONORING LEGENDS

During the midway point of the meet, Fruitport honored two legends of their program — Doug Lee and Bob Gustafson.

Lee was Fruitport High School's first-ever state champion in any sport. As a sophomore grappler in 1969, he won the MHSAA 112-lbs. state championship, after claiming a city, district and regional championship earlier in the season.

After finishing his high school career with a 78-8 overall record, Lee added a college national championship to his resume in 1971 as a sophomore at Muskegon Community College. He was named a college All-American as a freshman and sophomore with the Jayhawks and finished with a 43-3-1 overall record at the college level.

He was inducted into the MCC Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Fruitport Hall of Fame in 2014.

Gustafson was one of the stars that founded the Fruitport wrestling program's dynasty run of the 1970s. During his run with the Trojans, Gustafson won three Seaway Conference championships, a district championship, a regional runner-up and a state runner-up during his high school career.

His background in martial arts made Gustafson a difficult opponent for any wrestler, and his famous fireman's carry move would often be the sealing maneuver on his way to a pinfall victory.

"Doug Lee was on the first wrestling team at Fruitport and was the first state champion this school has ever had, so that alone is pretty special," added Michelli. "Bob Gustafson was a state finalist, too.

"There's a lot of tradition in the early 70s and 90s at Fruitport and it's nice to see them coming back around the program now and our kids seeing what the standard at Fruitport is. I think it really motivates them to see what can be accomplished here.

"I think it's a big thing for the community, too. Everyone embraces the school's history and honors two people who have really set the foundation for our program."

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