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Varsity wrestlers punch tickets to State

The Cedar Springs Varsity Wrestling team claimed the title of regional champions last week. The last time they won that title was 23 years ago. Courtesy photo.

The Varsity wrestling team continued their magical post season run Wednesday night, February 13, against Reeths-Puffer and Allendale.

The stage was set in the Hawks Nest as the three evenly matched teams prepared to battle for the Regional Championship at Cedar Springs High School. The night would unavoidably end with dreams come true and broken hearts.

The Reeths-Puffer team had been tough all year long with solid wrestlers from head to toe. After eight classes and a 27-12 lead, it looked as though they would eliminate the Hawks after a nice season. However, Aaron Smith got things rolling with a MD (Major Decision) at 135 and sophomore Nate Elliston stole a match at 140. Lucus Pienton tightened the score to 27-23 with an MD at 145. 

In the 152 lb weight, class Anthony Brew turned legend. Brew, who had been hobbling on an ankle sprain for two weeks, chose to take the mat against an opponent who had defeated him 16-4 just days before. The acrobatic Brew bridged from his back to his feet and threw a chin whip on the way to pin his man and give the Hawks a two-point advantage. Alex Ream withheld a pin and State Champ Ryan Ringler finished the dual with a pin to close out the Rockets 35-31.

The following dual brought more fireworks. The Falcons of Allendale, led by local legendary coach Duane Watson, have reached the Regional finals five years in a row and are no strangers to the State tournament.

Xavier Anderson lit things up with an OT victory and the Hawks took the lead out of the gate. The Falcons came back to build a 24-9 advantage but once again Smith, Elliston and Pienton rose to the occasion and tied the dual at 24 a piece. After two consecutive pins from Allendale, there were only two weight classes left. Fortunately for the Red Hawks they had a few aces in the hole. Ringler pinned. Sage Serbenta pinned. The score was tied 36-36 and went to the officials for the tiebreaker. When the announcer rang, “Your winner on tiebreaker criteria C, Cedar Springs!” the hometown crowd erupted with joy and celebration. The Red Hawks had won their first Regional Wrestling Title since 1996. 

“That was one of the best sporting events I have ever been a part of!” said MYWA Coach James Streeter. “My kids were on the edge of their seats the whole time.” 

The boys now travel to Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo to represent the community at the MHSAA State Finals on Friday at 6:45 p.m.

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