Wrestlers finish calendar year with two individual tournaments
Last week, the Hartford Husky high school wrestling team took to the mats to compete in a pair of weekend invitational events, one of which was for wrestlers on the men’s side, and one was strictly for female wrestlers. Every member of the wrestling team has played an important role in the success of the squad so far, as they have wrapped up three victories in four duals and several solid individual tournament finishes. These results must be encouraging for the coaching staff.
The field was packed with wrestlers representing eighteen total schools from across southwest Michigan at the Comstock Horseshoe Classic, which was held on Thursday, Dec. 28. In this tournament, team scores were kept and Hartford finished in 11th place out of fifteen teams with a total of 88 team points. A total of nine teams finished with over 100 team points, with Allegan taking home the overall victory with 212.5 team points, followed by Buchanan in second place and Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills rounding out the team podium in third place.
In terms of individual results, Hartford was led by Alex Saldana, who finished as the tournament champion in the 126-pound weight class. En route to his title, he pinned all four of his opponents. He started with a first-round fall over Milo Domingo of Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills, in :16; before scoring the fall over Rowan Birchmeier of Richland Gull Lake in his longest match of the day, which lasted 3:36. In the semifinals, he faced off with Austin Birner of Bangor, who he pinned in just :45, setting up a title bout with Eugene Barrientes of Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills, a match in which he pinned his opponent in 1:25.
Other top finishers for the Huskies included Braeden Birkhead, who was the runner-up in the 144-pound weight class, while Roman Rodarte took fourth place in the 120-pound weight class. Erick Morales was the only other placer on the day, taking home a sixth-place finish in the 165-pound weight class.
Lady Husky wrestlers competed in the Lady Mat Cat Wrestling Invitational, which was held at Montague on Friday, Dec. 29. Ladies wrestling has taken off on a national basis, and the state of Michigan is no different. This event was another success story for building the sport for both genders, as a total of 256 young ladies representing 53 schools were in attendance. In this tournament team scores were kept, and Hartford finished in a tie-for-34th place, with a total of 17 team points.
Hartford sent four wrestlers to the event, with one Lady Husky placing in the top-six of her weight class. Niomi Perez took home a fifth-place finish in the 235-pound weight class, running her record to 8-4 on the season.
Hartford remains 3-1 on the season in team duals, which includes a 2-0 record in Southwest 10 Conference action. The wrestling team will participate in a pair of tournaments later this week, starting on Friday, Jan. 5 when the lady wrestlers travel to Three Rivers to compete in the Three Rivers Girls Invitational. One day later, on Saturday, Jan. 6, the entire team will make the same trek to Three Rivers, to compete in the Three Rivers Super Duals, which will also include Coldwater, Constantine, Dowagiac, Kalamazoo Central, Lawton, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, Niles and Portage Northern.
As always, GO GREEN! GO WHITE!