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WMC wrestling: Team state finals seedings set, 28 individuals punch tickets to Ford Field

Whitehall, Hart learn quarterfinal opponents; those teams, plus Montague, put forth strong showings at individual regionals, too.

It was a big weekend for West Michigan Conference wrestlers, but the pinnacle of the season is yet to come in the next two weekends.

Regional champions Whitehall and Hart learned of their team state finals seedings on Sunday, while a number of wrestlers punched their tickets to the individual state finals March 4-5 at Ford Field in Detroit with top-four finishes in regional action for the boys Saturday and girls Sunday.

Additionally, coaches for Whitehall and Hart received regional recognition.

Here is a roundup of everything, including a very strong showing by Montague’s girls wrestlers Sunday in sectional competition at Howell:

WHITEHALL

Photos courtesy of Whitehall wrestling

Whitehall advanced seven to the individual state finals at Ford Field with top-four finishes in the Division 2 individual regional Saturday at Allendale.

Seniors Max Brown (145), Nick Blanchard (171) and Ira Jenkins (285) were all regional champions, while junior Shane Cook earned his 100th career win en route to a runner-up finish at 215. Senior Alec Pruett (152) and freshman Wyatt Jenkins (160) both placed third, while senior Riley Buys (130) took fourth.

Whitehall’s Collin Zeerip and Craig Christensen were recognized at the regional as coach of the year and assistant of the year, respectively.

On Sunday, the Vikings learned they are the No. 2 seed in next weekend’s team state finals at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Whitehall (26-0) will square off with seventh-seeded St. Joseph (23-8) in Friday’s 6:45 p.m. quarterfinals.

The semifinals and finals take place Saturday, with the former at noon and latter at 3:45 p.m.

HART

Hart wrestlers who placed in the top four pose for a group photo with their coaches after the Division 3 individual regional Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at Tri County High School in Howard City, Mich. (Courtesy of Hart wrestling)

Hart advanced four wrestlers to the Division 4 individual state finals at Ford Field with top-four finishes Saturday in the regional at Howard City Tri County.

Senior Mason Cantu (145) and junior Trayce Tate (119) were both champions for the Pirates to lead the way. Senior Leo Guadarrama (215) placed second and junior Zane Thomas (160) was fourth to also punch their tickets to the state finals.

Also on Saturday, Hart’s Brad Altland and Rocky Smith were recognized as regional coach of the year and assistant of the year, respectively.

On Sunday, the Pirates learned that they’re the No. 5 seed in next weekend’s team state finals in Kalamazoo. Hart (30-5) will take on fourth-seeded Imlay City (27-5) in the quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The semifinals and finals take place Saturday, with the former at noon and latter at 3:45 p.m.

MONTAGUE

Montague wrestlers, from left, Tristan Winkleblack, Chris Aebig and Cale Coppess pose with their medals after they all placed in the top four in the Division 3 individual regional at Tri County Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, in Howard City, Mich. (Courtesy of Montague wrestling)

It was a big weekend for Montague’s wrestling program, as eight Wildcats between the boys and girls are headed to Ford Field for the individual state finals.

On Saturday, three boys wrestlers claimed top-four finishes in the Division 3 regional at Howard City Tri County. Senior Cale Coppess (135) was second place, while junior Tristan Winkleblack (140) placed third and sophomore Chris Aebig (119) took fourth.

Coppess sits on 167 career wins, three from breaking Matt Lipka’s all-time victories record for Montague.

Montague girls wrestlers pose for a group photo after the regional tournament at Howell on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (Courtesy of Montague wrestling)

On Sunday, Montague’s girls represented very well in the regional at Howell by advancing five individuals to the state finals. For the first time, girls wrestlers will be competing at Ford Field at the same time as the boys.

Sophomores Emma Pendell (140) and Savannah Winkleblack (110) were both regional champions, while sophomore Abby Thommen (125) placed third. Freshman Ava Pelton (155) placed sixth, while senior Presley Davis (120) took seventh.

Montague’s girls team scored the most points in the region with 76.

MASON COUNTY CENTRAL

Mason County Central advanced three boys wrestlers to the individual state finals at Ford Field with two regional champions and another top-four finisher in Division 4 action Saturday at Charlevoix.

Senior Andrew Quinn captured his first regional title by placing first in the 285-pound weight class. Freshman Hunter Sanford (112) also took first place in the regional for the Spartans. Sophomore Zane McCabe (125) took fourth place.

MCC also advanced one girls wrestler to the state finals at Ford Field with a strong showing in Sunday’s regional at Hartland. Freshman Nyvaeh Wendt (105) placed third in a strong representation for the Spartans.

RAVENNA

Ravenna advanced three wrestlers to the individual state finals at Ford Field with top-four finishes in the Division 4 regional Saturday at Ithaca.

Senior Zeke Thompson (160) placed third to pace the Bulldogs, while juniors Norman Slade (125) and Landen Goerbig (285) both took fourth.

SHELBY

Shelby advanced two wrestlers to the individual state finals at Ford Field with top-four finishes in the Division 3 regional Saturday at Howard City Tri County.

Junior Travis Boughan (189) and sophomore Nick Cano (103) both placed fourth to punch their state finals tickets for the Tigers.

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

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