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Tag Archive | "All-American"

Red Hawk wrestler named All-American


Ryan Ringler received the title of “All American” after placing in the top eight at the Fargo National Wrestling Tournament this summer. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs junior Ryan Ringler, 16, the son of Paul and Jane Ringler, is an outstanding athlete who qualified for the Fargo National Wrestling Tournament this summer. He placed in the top eight in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman Cadet level, and received the title of “All American” wrestler.

Team Michigan, consisting of one to three wrestlers from each weight class, traveled to the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota on July 13, for the highest level of wrestling competition for high school wrestlers in the U.S. This prestigious eight-day competition is unique. It is the largest, most competitive wrestling competition, and it is common to see as many as 150-plus extremely tough competitors in a particular weight class. Competing in Fargo is invaluable for a wrestler who wishes to excel at the highest level, such as collegiate or international levels. College coaches and scouts attend looking for the best up and coming talent. Ringler was approached and invited to lunch with a group of college coaches.

This was Ryan’s first time to qualify and attend Fargo. As intimidating as the competition can be, he did exactly what he set out to accomplish, which was to place in both styles of wrestling. He placed 7th in freestyle, taking his first loss immediately and having to do something that is rare, which was to win his way back six consecutive times to place.

Ringler’s determination and upper body strength is remarkable. He was able to place third in Greco-Roman with just one loss to the Illinois Cadet Greco champ, who media claimed was unstoppable. Ringler was dominating this important match with the only points scored; however, after a throw by Ringler and being awarded two points, Illinois challenged it and the two points were removed from Ringler and four points were awarded to Illinois. Illinois gained another point due to Ringler’s head position. Ringler scored the last two points, but time ran out before Ringler could score another 2 points to win. The match ended 4-5. The sting of losing to the Champion by one point was tough, but placing top three and being awarded membership into the USA National team was a goal realized.

Up next for this amazing student athlete is football, where he plans to lead the Cedar Springs varsity team in tackles for the third consecutive year. Then it’s back to training for high school folk style wrestling and researching colleges to attend and wrestle for.

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WMP wrestlers end season at national tournaments


By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit had wrestlers registered to compete in two different National tournaments last weekend.

Drew Moro traveled to Missouri for the Adidas Nationals. Moro entered the 2nd Grade division in the 61 lb wt class. He went 3-1 for the day, finishing in 2nd Place, and earning All American status. He ended with a 44-11 season record. Moro also entered their Mohawk contest and won with 190 votes.

The rest of the team traveled to Battle Creek for NUWAY Nationals. As a team, West Michigan Pursuit finished 32 out of 297 teams. WMP entered seven wrestlers and five earned All American status by placing in the top 8.

Chayson Eberspeaker entered the 7/8 age group in the 64 lb wt class. He went 2-2 for the day, finishing in 7th Place and ending with a 36-11 season record. Quinten Cassiday entered the 7/8 age group in the 61 lb wt class. He went 4-2 for the day, finishing in 5th Place and ending with a 52-6 season record.

Josh Vasquez and Blake Werkema both finished in 4th Place. Vasquez entered the 9/10 age group in the 59 lb wt class. He went 4-2 for the day and ended with a 48-7 season record. He also made the top 100 for number of pins for the National tournament. He had 3 pins with a combined time of 4:45 out of 1,221 wrestlers. Werkema entered the 4/6 age group in the 47 lb wt class. He went 3-2 for the day and ended with a 50-5 season record.

Kellen Weckesser entered the 7/8 age group in the 54 lb wt class. He went 3-1 for the day, finishing in 2nd Place and ending with a 40-15 season record.

“My mission from the start has always been the Pursuit of Champions,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus. “I am extremely proud of the success we are having. It’s not always about how these kids win; recovering after an emotional loss and continuing to succeed is equally important. These are valuable life lessons as they continue to grow and mature. I feel fortunate to have so many parents trust me as I try to instill these values into their kids.”

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CTA’s Les Miner named Cross Country All-American


Les Miner, a sophomore at Creative Technologies Academy was named All-American last weekend. He is shown here at a meet earlier this year.

Les Miner, a sophomore at Creative Technologies Academy was named All-American last weekend. He is shown here at a meet earlier this year.

Creative Technologies Academy’s sophomore Les Miner was named All-American last weekend at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, with a time of 17:53. The meet took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday, December 13.

More than 3,000 youth athletes journeyed for the championship and competed at Balloon Fiesta Park. The youth competition took place in two-year age divisions—236 of whom were in Miner’s 15-16 year-old age group. These age divisions provide young athletes the opportunity to compete with other athletes of similar ability. Entry for the national championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association and Regional levels and Miner qualified two weeks ago at a Detroit meet. He also set two new school records this season and was the runner up for the Class D Championships.

In order to be named All-American, he needed to finish in the top 25 at nationals.

“I knew I wanted All-American, but seeing the times of all the great athletes at this race made me doubt that goal,” said Miner. “But my family, friends and coaches believed in me. When the gun went off I didn’t think about anything but running.” While the course proved to be challenging, Miner never thought he couldn’t do it and remembered the encouragement and advice of his family, friends and coaches.

At the first mile, he was in 28th place and put an extra surge in his step to move him up to 18th place by mile two. Two runners passed him in the final mile putting him in 20th place. “The speed up drained my energy and the altitude made it hard to breath,” commented Miner. “The race was well set up and located on a difficult course,” he added.

“Les did very well this past cross country season,” praised Coach Danielle Davies. “He knew what he wanted and he pursued it. As he competed in the Junior Olympics, he had his mind set on being an All-American from the start and worked hard and pushed forward to reach his goal. We are very proud of Les and all he has accomplished.”

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Balczak earns All-American title


Balczak took first place in hgh jump.

Justin Balczak, a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, and freshman this year at Lake Superior State University, earned the title of All-American for finishing third in the men’s decathlon at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Colorado State-Pueblo last weekend.

Balczak competed in 10 events over a two-day period, setting six personal records. On day one he placed first in the high jump (6-08.25 – a personal record); placed third in the shot put (42-04.25 – a personal record); fourth in the 400-meter dash (50.33); fifth in the 100m dash (11.30 – a personal record) and seventh in the long jump (21-06.75).

He finished day one in third place overall, with 5 events to go on Friday, and stayed consistently strong.

On day two, Balczak finished second in the high hurdles (14.54 – a personal record); third in the discus (129-4 – a personal record); third in the javelin (172.07 – a personal record); ninth in the 1500m run (5.09:21); and tenth in the pole vault (12-.05.5).

Patrick Smith of Chico State won the decathlon with 7,366 points, followed by Darius Walker of Central Missouri State with 7,185 and Balczak with 7,072.

While in high school, Balczak was a state champion in the 110m high hurdles and holds school records in the high hurdles, 300m low hurdles, and the 800m relay. He is the son of Mark and Ann Balczak of Cedar Springs.

Congratulations, Justin!

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