Five state champions…one for each month that the Cedar Springs Youth wrestlers have worked toward the MYWAY State Wrestling Championships. Since early November, youth wrestlers and coaches have been sacrificing and training in hopes of earning the coveted title of State Champion. Twenty of those Red Hawks, along with approximately 2,500 other youth wrestlers, earned their spot to wrestle at the 2015 MYWAY State Championships, held at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Michigan, March 28, 29 and 30. Of the 20 who competed, twelve of them placed in the top eight, further qualifying them to compete in national events. Possibly the biggest accomplishment of any club in the state of Michigan is that Cedar Springs Youth Wrestling had five wrestlers crowned 2015 State Champions!
Eighth grader, Ryan Ringler, went 4-0 to earn his fifth State Champion title! Ringler’s second period pin in the championship round against Aaron Gilmore of Donahoe secured his 2015 State Champion Title in the 170lb, 13/14 division.
Allexis Gonzales, also an eighth grader, took Girls State Champion in the 14U division at 130lbs. She went 5-0, winning her first four matches by pins. She earned a minor decision in her championship match against Kelsy Coger of Pennfield.
Seventh grader, Reese Gonzales, went 4-0, pinning all of her opponents, in a round robin. She earned Girls State Champion at 110 lbs in the 14U division. Her toughest match was against runner-up Payton Smith of Clio, who she pinned in the second round.
Zoe Gonzales battled her way to Girls State Champion at 76lbs in the 11U division. Gonzales went 3-0, winning each match by only one point. In the championship round, she beat Karlie Woodall of Coloma, with a score of 3-2. Gonzales won after she earned a reversal in the last few seconds of the third round.
Cora Gonzales was the youngest Girls State Champion for the Red Hawks this year. Gonzales, who wrestled at 52lbs in the 9U division, went 4-0, with 3 pins and one decision. She won her State Champion title with a 5-0 decision in the final round against Tricia Pyrzewski of Gladwin.
Freshman George Gonzales Jr. battled the toughest side of the 20-man chart to earn his second place finish. With a record of 4-1, he suffered his only loss, at 174lbs in the 15/16 division, against Trevor Piggott of Ionia.
Seventh grader Rosie Castro finished in second place at 122lbs in the 14U Girls Division. She had first and second round pins to secure her spot in the championship round where she took runner-up to Kennedi Gotha of Linden.
By placing in the top three spots at State or top two in the Girls division, all seven wrestlers listed above won a custom championship singlet and the opportunity to be partially sponsored by MYWAY for national tournaments. The next five wrestlers below battled tough, but were unable to secure a top finish.
Six-year-old, Veronica Tapia was the only girl in the area who competed in both the MYWAY State Finals and the MYWAY Girls State Finals, wrestling a total of 12 matches! Tapia went 5-2 on a 32-person chart to take fourth at 40lb in the 4/6 division. She went 3-2 at 40lb in the 9U Girls’ division to take third.
Keaton Klaasen had a very impressive 6th place finish at 52lbs in the 7/8 division. He went 5-2 on a chart of 31 wrestlers.
The girls rounded out the results with 6th and 7th place finishes in the Girls Division. First year wrestler Madisyn Britley took 6th in the 11U HWT division. Analize Tapia took 7th at 43lbs in the 9U division. Brooklyn Wright finished 7th at 122 lbs in the 14U division.
Cedar Springs Youth Wrestling Club has been and continues to be one of the most successful youth wrestling clubs in the state of Michigan. Head Coach George Gonzales Sr. attributes that to the hard work and dedication of the volunteer coaches and the wrestlers.
“I am proud to be part of a program that teaches athletes about integrity, hard work and dedication,” said Gonzales. “Sure, there are times when the wrestlers want to give up, but you don’t win by giving up. They need to earn what they want by working hard and not by cheating themselves. These are lessons they will be taking into adulthood. It’s about integrity, on and off the mat. That is what makes us champions and that is what will make these kids champions in life.”