By Dan Hardenbrook

The Newberry Indians Varsity Wrestling team, which includes members from Engadine through an MHSAA Co-op, returned to the mat in their first action of the season last week. The matches were the first Straits Area Conference matchups of the year as well.

Newberry was scheduled to open the night going head to head against the Rudyard Bulldogs, but widespread illness that caused Rudyard to close school late in the week forced them to withdraw from the match. The Indians did get on the mat against Pellston, and took their first team win of the season 24-18.

Neither side had a wrestler compete above the 165lb weight class, and both sides also were without team members at 106lbs and 113lbs. That meant the matchup came down to only a handful of matchups as voids ruled the evening. Quentin Bliss got Newberry on the board, winning his match in round one over the Hornets’ Wiigwass Craven. Other winners included Hayden O’Neil (145) and Kennedy Depew, who wrestled his first varsity match and defeated Liam Hebert in a 165lb matchup. Newberry only lost one head-to-head contest when Lucas Nalette came up just short against Wass Craven in the 150lb class.

The wrestlers made their way to St. Ignace for the annual St Ignace Elks invite on Saturday. Quentin Bliss won a great matchup with the Saints’ Brody Leipold and took home a runner up spot in the 120-class after falling in another solid showing against Josh Kennedy from Grand Rapids Christian.

Other top finishers included Hayden O’Neil, who won a pair of matches and reached the finals at 138, defeating Andrea Brinker (Atlanta) and Wyatt Kulik (Munising) before falling in the finals to Will Ohman from the Soo.

Lucas Nalette rebounded from an earlier loss to finish 2-1 on the day and take third in the 144lb weight class and Kennedy Depew also won multiple matches at 165. Derek Bowler (157) and Mark McTiver (138) rounded out the roster in St. Ignace.