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Whitehall puts on clinic at GMAA wrestling tourney; Montague’s Cale Coppess reaches win 150

Vikings take eight of 14 weight classes to win going away; Wildcats also well-represented.

NORTON SHORES – Saturday’s Greater Muskegon Athletic Association wrestling tournament at Mona Shores was a nice platform for Whitehall to display its dominant, Division 2 second-ranked team.

It also served as a proving ground for the strides Montague is making.

Whitehall captured its 15th GMAA title in 16 years by winning eight of the 14 weight classes. The Vikings piled up 283 points, believed to be a GMAA record – a total that more than doubled that of runner-up Fruitport (125).

Montague just missed third place with 122.5 points, edged by Reeths-Puffer (123). Senior Cale Coppess led a strong contingent of Wildcats wrestlers by earning his 150th win in capturing an individual title.

Mona Shores was fifth (81.5), Muskegon sixth (68), Muskegon Catholic Central seventh (51.5), Ravenna eighth (50.5), Holton ninth (39), Orchard View 10th (21) and Oakridge 11th (18.5).

“I thought we had a lot of good effort today. A couple of matches early on maybe didn’t go the way we wanted them to go, but those guys rebounded well and came back and battled through the adversity,” Whitehall co-coach Justin Zeerip said.

“Overall, though, our guys were scoring a lot of bonus points and getting a lot of majors and pins and things like that. I was just really proud of the effort.”

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark and Stephanie Moore

In addition to eight champions, Whitehall had one runner-up, three in third place and another in fourth.

Taking home GMAA titles for Whitehall were Ira Jenkins (285), Shane Cook (215), Braydn VanPatten (189), Nick Blanchard (171), Alec Pruett (152), Max Brown (145), Riley Buys (130) and Dylan Osborn (112).

Ryne Christensen (119) was runner-up for the Vikings, while Nolan Taranko (103), Ryan Goodrich (135) and Wyatt Jenkins (160) were third and Caden Varela (125) was fourth.

Montague also represented very well. Coppess (135) and Tristan Winkleblack (140) both won championships, while Jimmy Thommen (103), Chris Aebig (125) and Landon Askins (130) were runners-up, Michael Moore (152) was third, and Kevin Roll (119) took fourth.

Montague senior Cale Coppess holds a banner commemorating his 150th career win after winning the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association title at 135 pounds Saturday at Mona Shores High School. (Photo by Stephanie Moore)

Whitehall’s Ira Jenkins and Montague’s Coppess both remain unbeaten on the season at 30-0 and 23-0, respectively.

Whitehall next hits the mats Wednesday in a meet at Grant. There, Whitehall will also see Fremont, which is coached by Craig Zeerip, father of Vikings co-coaches Justin and Collin Zeerip. On Saturday, Whitehall will host the Rick Champion Duals.

Also on Saturday, Montague will host the Randy Jacobs Memorial Duals.

Other GMAA individual champions included Reeths-Puffer’s Ian Cook (103), Fruitport’s Roan Cooper (119), Mona Shores’ Anthony Cage (125) and Holton’s Rice Robins (160).

Ravenna’s Zeke Thompson (160) was runner-up. Bulldogs teammates Norman Slade (119) and Brenden Forsythe (215) were third, while Damien Stafford (145) was fourth.

Oakridge’s Brayden Cunningham (130) placed third.


Montague’s girls wrestlers continued to turn heads with a strong effort Friday in the West Ottawa Girls Wrestling Tournament. Savannah Winkleblack won her third-straight tourney title, while Abby Dyer and Emma Pendell also captured championships. Presley Davis and Abby Thommen both placed second.


Hart’s wrestling team took first in its pool in a 10-team dual tournament Saturday at West Ottawa. The Pirates beat Sparta (39-31), Holland (51-30), Saranac (78-3) and Otsego (42-32). In a crossover match, Hart lost to Plainwell, the other pool winner, by a score of 49-27. Pirates who went 5-0 on the day included JoseLuis Andaverde, Mason Cantu and Leo Guadarrama.


Mason County Central’s Nyveah Wendt finished 2-0 to take first in the 105-pound weight class in the West Ottawa Girls Wrestling Tournament, winning both matches by fall. At Mio-Au Sable, MCC’s Hunter Sanford (112) and Carter Hirschfeld (140) both captured championships.

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

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