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Kalamazoo-bound, again: Hart captures fifth straight team wrestling regional title

Pirates top Remus Chippewa Hills and Gladwin to earn return trip to team state finals.

Hart’s wrestling team is pictured after capturing a Division 3 regional title Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, at Sanford Meridian. (Courtesy of Hart wrestling)

Hart’s wrestling program is used to traveling for regionals, be it north, east, northeast, whatever.

It’s all about getting the chance to travel south and that’s what the Pirates will be doing next weekend.

Hart made a four-plus-hour round trip Wednesday and captured a Division 3 team regional wrestling title at Sanford Meridian, beating Remus Chippewa Hills in the semifinals (42-22) and Gladwin in the finals (48-21).

It’s the fifth straight regional championship for the Pirates, who will return to Kalamazoo next weekend for the team state finals at Wings Event Center. Whitehall rolled to a Division 3 regional title at Belding on Wednesday and also will be headed back to Kalamazoo.

Hart (26-6 dual record) will learn its team state finals seeding on Sunday. Until then, the Pirates will prepare for Saturday’s individual regional at Kalkaska where nine of their wrestlers will compete for the chance to earn a berth in the March 1-2 individual state finals at Ford Field.

Wednesday night, Hart earned its way through the team regional.

“Our kids really limited the bonus points when we lost, and excelled at getting the bonus points in return. That was truly the difference in both duals,” Hart coach Rocky Smith said.

“Our 126-pounder, Emmanuel Ortega, lost two close matches tonight against two tough kids that pinned us last time. Against Gladwin, Ivan Lara got caught and pinned, and his brother Adrian came up with a big pin to seal the dual. I just can’t say enough about how gritty and hard these young men work no matter the outcome of a match.”

Hart wrestlers who won bouts against Chippewa Hills included Aiden Schaner, Kole Thomas, Logan Jorissen, Ty Thomas, Chico Salgado, Adrian Tice, Ivan Lara, and Adrian Lara.

Hart wrestlers who won bouts against Gladwin were Jose Chavira, Kole Thomas, Logan Jorissen, Ty Thomas, Joseluis Andaverde, Haegan Hansen, Chico Salgado, Alex Hicks, and Adrian Lara.

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

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