By Barbra Chong
This past weekend the Varsity Red Hawks traveled to the Palace of Auburn Hills for the 2016 High School State Finals. Four individuals entered the competition and two finished in the top 4.
Junior Patrick Depiazza wrestled the Heavy Weight Division. His first opponent was senior Billy Titoff of Mt. Pleasant and won by major decision 12-1. Another win by fall against sophomore Owen Miller of Marshall kept his momentum going. Senior Sam Benson of Mason proved to be a contender and Patrick took his first loss of the season by a close regular decision 2-3. Depiazza came back against sophomore Evan Gast of Byron Center and won by regular decision 2-1. His last opponent of the season, senior Jake Gnegy of St John, also proved to be a tough competitor and Patrick lost by fall. Patrick ended his season in fourth place, earning an All State title and a record of 52-2. Senior Isaiah Espinoza of Adrian is the Heavy Weight Division 2 State Champion.
Freshmen Ryan Ringler wrestled the 171 lb weight class. He started the competition against junior Gabe Larner of Dewitt and lost by regular decision 4-6. He quickly shook that off as he stepped on the mat with senior Nate Nutter of Gaylord, ending with a win by fall. Next up was senior John Penfold of Goodrich and a win by regular decision 4-3. Ringler kept his momentum going against sophomore Drake Pauwels of New Boston Huron, with another win by regular decision 6-2 and over senior Levi Sabin of Allegan, with a win by major decision 11-2. With pure determination on his mind, his last opponent did not stand a chance. Ringler won by major decision 19-10 against junior Will Feldkamp of Dexter. Ringler came back from his first loss and still ended his season in third place earning an All State Title and a record of 52-5, which is truly unheard of at the State Finals. Junior, Jalani Embree of Warren Lincoln is the 171 lb, Division 2 State Champion.
The other two Red Hawk wrestlers that went to state were junior Jordan Ringler and freshman Lucus Pienton. Both lost their first match, won their second, then lost their third.
“Ryan Ringler pulled off a legendary performance defeating five competitors in a row to capture a third place finish,” said Head Coach Nick Emery. “Pat DePiazza showed he is the heavyweight to beat next season in Division II. Jordan Ringler wrestled as well as he had all season but couldn’t quite break through on a tough chart. Freshman Lucus Pienton is the fifth freshman in school history to qualify for state and will contend for the title next season. I’m proud of these kids,” he added.