By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry varsity wrestling team hit the postseason last week, hosting the MHSAA Team Districts at the J.L. DeCook Gymnasium. The Indians were in a four-team field that included Manistique, Munising, and Rudyard, with the last team standing punching their ticket to the MHSAA Team Regionals. Newberry drew Manistique in the semifinal round, while Munising faced Rudyard.
The Mustangs had no problem matching up with the Bulldogs, dominating the head-to-head competition and advancing with ease due to having a much larger squad. Just on the number of wrestlers alone, Munising was a clear favorite and proved it in a 68-6 win over Rudyard.
The matchup between Newberry and Manistique was much tighter and much more intense, with every matchup crucial to each side’s hopes of advancing to the final. In the end it was Newberry that moved through on a string of big wins, defeating the Emeralds 36-27.
One of the toughest matchups of the night came in the 190lb class between Kennedy Depew and Manistique’s Ross Pugh. The two went back and forth, with neither giving an inch. Their showdown went the distance until Depew won on points.
In the 120lb class, Quentin Bliss made quick work of opponent Alexia Slater, winning in 44 seconds. Hayden O’Neil (138) nearly matched the pace of Bliss by winning his match in 48 seconds. At 144lbs, Lucas Nalette had a key win, earning a second period pin over the Emeralds Kirk Slater, and Derek Bowler earned three points for his win by points against Griffin Maline. Newberry’s Gabe Hamilton also earned a win on a void to lift the team to the District finals.
The Indians fell in the finals round, but gave the Mustangs all that they could handle in a 48-24 matchup. The Mustangs advance to this week’s Team Regionals. The Indians now focus on the individuals who advanced through now that the team season is over.