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Clutch Whitehall wrestling squad earns state semifinal berth; Hart falls in quarters

Unbeaten Vikings to face Goodrich at noon Saturday with finals berth at stake.

The Whitehall wrestling team is always a force to be reckoned with come state finals weekend.

The second-seeded, unbeaten Vikings had to work for it, but they punched their ticket to the semifinals with a 39-28 victory over seventh-seeded St. Joseph in the Division 2 quarterfinals Friday at Wings Event Center.

Whitehall (27-0) advances to Saturday’s noon semifinals, where it will face third-seeded Goodrich (30-2). The Martians defeated Mason in the quarterfinals, 54-19.

Photos courtesy of Whitehall wrestling via Facebook

First-period pins late in the match from senior Alec Pruett (152) and freshman Wyatt Jenkins (160) sealed the victory Friday for the Vikings.

Nick Blanchard (189), Ira Jenkins (215), Shane Cook (285), Dylan Osborn (112), Aiden Weiler (140) and Max Brown (145) also contributed points in Whitehall’s victory. Among those wrestlers, Jenkins and Cook won by pin.

The other semifinal Saturday pits eight-time defending state champion Lowell (21-3) vs. Gaylord (28-0). Top-seeded Lowell rolled past Birmingham Brother Rice, 68-9, while fourth-seeded Gaylord edged Monroe Jefferson, 36-35.

Whitehall is aiming for its first state title. Last season, the Vikings advanced to the state finals match against nationally ranked Dundee and placed runner-up for the best finish in program history.

State finals matches are scheduled for 3:45 p.m. You can watch Saturday’s semifinals and finals for a fee at MHSAA.TV.

Whitehall was accompanied in Kalamazoo by a league opponent. Hart made the journey to the team state finals for the third straight season, but the fifth-seeded Pirates fell to a strong, fourth-seeded Imlay City squad, 45-24, in the Division 3 quarterfinals.

Mason Cantu (145), Leo Guadarrama (215), Zane Thomas (160), Alex Hicks (171) and Julian Vasquez (112) earned victories for Hart, which closes its team portion of the season with a 30-6 record.

Photos by Amanda Cantu

Imlay City advances to the semifinals to face Dundee, which is seeking its eighth state title in 10 years. Dundee defeated Constantine on Friday, 65-11. In the other semifinal, Alma will square off with Clinton.

Alma beat Montrose (52-23) and Clinton defeated Gladstone (51-24) on Friday.

This weekend is not the end of the high school wrestling season. The individual state finals are set for next Friday and Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit, where Whitehall will be sending seven competitors and Hart four.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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