The Algonac wrestling team made history Saturday afternoon when it won the school’s first-ever conference wrestling championship.
It’s also the first time in nearly two decades that a team other than Richmond has held claim to the title.
“It’s a great feeling,” Algonac junior David Clemons said. “We have a lot of alumni who come back to practice, so we get to share this experience with them and it was really exciting to celebrate that first BWAC title with them.”
Clemons, a captain on this year’s team, has been nothing short of steady for the Muskrats, wrestling at 144-lbs with a one-loss season record. He won by pin at 3:40 over Yale’s Alex McMillin in the championship match, collecting 25 team points on the day with an earlier pin and major decision as well.
“I was really excited. I was really focusing on the team score and trying to see how many points I could get before I was done wrestling for the day,” Clemons said. “My coaches have played a big role in helping me stay focused before the match…and my teammates are big a part of that too because I live with them every day and we’re all putting in the same work.”
“David is one of our rocks. He did great with a pin in the finals,” head coach Brian Ranger said. “And then Josh Kasner (175-lbs) was pretty dominant with another pin in the finals.”
Kasner, also a junior, picked up 24 points on the day, winning his final match by a pin at just 42 seconds over Armada’s Zac Dykes. And Alex Bright and Chris Campbell each picked up a first-place finish for Algonac by decision as well.
But more than just championship pins, Ranger said a lot of the Muskrats’ success came in the third-place matches.
“That’s what I told them. ‘If you guys lose, you can’t hang your heads because we can’t have one loss turn into two.' A lot of those kids came back for third,” he said.
Kids like Sky Langewicz (106-lbs), Gavin Bennett (126-lbs), Julian Walker (157-lbs), and Mark Romanowski (165-lbs).
Algonac also picked up a lot of points at 285-lbs, thanks to freshman Andrew Ferrera who got a big pin for third over Imlay City’s Jaydin Hall. His senior teammate Derik Maciag was injured and unable to wrestle in the championship match. Together, the pair earned 36 points.
“Our freshman heavyweight really stepped up for us and took third,” Ranger said. “That scored a lot of points for us. That was awesome.”
And considering Algonac topped Richmond in the final team standings by just 15 points, every point mattered. The Muskrats finished with 228 points and the Blue Devils totaled 213.
“There are some amazing programs in the conference. You better bring your ‘A’ game or it can go south very quickly,” Ranger said. “There were a lot of close matches, and that’s what you expect late in the season as all teams are wrestling hard…Everything tightens up a little bit so you better find ways to get that hand raised.”
Out of the 28 first- and third-place matches on Saturday, only six were decided by pin.
Imlay City edged Yale 157 to 156 for third and fourth, respectively, and Armada finished fifth with 112. Croswell-Lexington had 77 points, North Branch totaled 51, and Almont had 10. See the full BWAC standings and results here.
Teams will now turn their attention to the district tournaments scheduled for this week. The team tournaments will take place Wednesday, followed by individual district tournaments on Saturday.
“We were excited for ourselves because we’ve never done it before,” Ranger said of the BWAC title, “but it’s just a conference title and we’ve got our eyes on bigger prizes than that.”
1st: Landon Sopha (Y) def. Grady Francek (Y) 6-0 DEC.
3rd: Sky Langewicz (ALG) def. Joey Jarvis (R) 11-5 DEC.
1st: Chris Campbell (ALG) def. Tanner Land (IC) 6-0 DEC.
3rd: Braylon Davis (CL) def. Cooper Horold (R) 5-0 DEC.
1st: Noah Harris (R) def. Lucky Gartin (ALG) 1-0 DEC.
3rd: Christopher Galiana (IC) def. Logan Winters (Y) no contest
1st: Jacob Fink (R) def. Riley Winters (Y) Fall at 4:28
3rd: Gavin Bennett (ALG) def. Luke Loomis (ALM) 9-1 MD
1st: Dominic D`Ambrosio (IC) def. Steven Shannon (ALG) 7-0 DEC.
3rd: Brian Nichol (R) def. Evan Kanniainen (ARM) 2-0 DEC
1st: Alex Bright (ALG) def. Conner Bergeon (R) 7-0 DEC.
3rd: Conner Wildie (IC) def. Johnathan Hoskins (Y) 10-8 SV-1
1st: David Clemons (ALG) def. Alex McMillin (Y) FALL 3:40
3rd: Joey Polio (R) def. Charles Luzier (CL) FALL 2:52
1st: Anthony D’Ambrosio (IC) def. Jeremy Griffith (Y) 9-4 DEC.
3rd: Wyatt Peters (R) def. Martin Knight (NB) 9-2 DEC.
1st: Kyle Coenen (ARM) def. Jaxon Gonzalez (CL) 4-2 DEC.
3rd: Julian Walker (ALG) def. Zack Pickering (R) 4-0 DEC.
1st: Logan Pung (NB) def. Cole McLaughlin (Y) 6-5 DEC.
3rd: Mark Romanowski (ALG) def. Lucas Peters (R) 5-4 TB-1
1st: Josh Kasner (ALG) def. Zac Dykes (ARM) FALL 0:42
3rd: Paul Stanczak (ARM) def. Brady Vanderploeg (IC) 6-0 DEC.
1st: Joey Scaramuzzino (CL) def. Brady St. John (R) INJ.
3rd: Tristan Lietz (ARM) def. Robbie Beyer (ARM) FALL 3:53
1st: Eddie Olson (R) def. Latham Perry (IC) FALL 3:01
3rd: Mason Knight (NB) def. Dan Ladd (ALG) 1-0 DEC.
1st: Matthew Misch (R) def. Derik Maciag (ALG) INJ.
3rd: Andrew Ferrara (ALG) def. Jaydin Hall (IC) FALL 0:31
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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