Vikings clinch victory in Grayling Wrestling Invitational with win vs. Oscoda in series that came down to the final weight class
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Vikings of Grayling High School won Saturday’s Grayling Wrestling Invitational, a tournament decided by the final weight class of the final series of the day.
The Grayling Invitational featured seven teams: Grayling, Onaway, Houghton Lake, Manton, Frankfort, Elk Rapids, and Oscoda.
Grayling battled Houghton Lake in round one of the event.
It was close early in the series. The Vikings got victories by pin from Nick Green (112) and Andrew Hopkins (119), giving them a 12-0 advantage. The Bobcats won by pin at 125. Max Halstead (130) won by default for GHS. Houghton Lake won a 13-2 decision at 135. At 140, the Bobcats won by pin. The score was Vikings 18, Bobcats 16 with eight weight classes remaining.
Parker Dole (145) pinned his Houghton Lake counterpart in the first round. Logan Joseph (152), Felipe Escalante (160), Eli Bindschatel (171), Reece Ferrigan (189), Tyler Withers (215), and Zach Kelly (heavyweight) all won by default. Neither team put forth a wrestler for the final weight class of the match (103), and Grayling won by a final score of 60-16.
Next, Grayling battled the Manton Rangers in a series that had to be decided in the final bout.
The Vikings led 12-0 early in the match after forfeit wins by Green (119) and Cole Hibbard (125). Halstead (130) won due to injury forfeit. Tim Burr (135) won by default for the Vikings.
At 140, Manton won a 19-6 decision. Manton won by pin at 145.
At 152, Joseph won a 3-2 decision. Manton won by pin at 160 and 171. The Vikings led 27-22.
Ferrigan (189) pinned his Manton opponent in the first round for his 98th career victory. The Rangers scored a pin at 215. In the heavyweight division, Kelly won a 3-2 decision against a significantly larger opponent. Grayling forfeited at 103.
With one weight class remaining – 112 pounds – Grayling led by two points, 36-34. Hopkins pinned his Manton opponent in the first round, clinching a victory for the Vikings. Grayling won 42-34.
Andy Moore, Grayling’s coach, said his squad “started off a little slow against Houghton Lake” but did better vs. Manton with several good performances that helped seal a close win.
“We’re wrestling pretty good,” Coach Moore said after the Manton series. “Max’s match ended up being really huge against Manton. Zach, he’s unbelievable. There’s no quit in Zach Kelly. He’s been doing that all year. He’s got the will to win.”
The Vikings won 51-22 vs. Onaway in their third series of the Grayling Invitational.
Halstead (125), Caleb Preston (140), Escalante (160), Withers (189), Ferrigan (215), Kelly (heavyweight), and Green (119) all won by default for the Vikings. Joseph (152) won a 6-4 decision. Hopkins (112) won by pin.
Grayling’s fourth match-up of the day? The Panthers of Frankfort.
Frankfort won by pin in the first bout (135). Preston won a 7-5 decision at 140. Frankfort won a 9-5 decision at 145. Joseph (152) pinned his Frankfort counterpart in the first round. Escalante (160) and Bindschatel (171) won by default. The Vikings led 21-9.
At 189, Ferrigan scored a quick pin vs. the Panthers; it was his 100th career varsity wrestling win. Ferrigan, a junior, is on pace to challenge Grayling High School’s all-time pin record and all-time win record.
Withers won by decision for GHS at 215. At heavyweight, Kelly won by pin in the first round vs. Frankfort.
Grayling forfeited at 103. Frankfort won by pin at 112 and 119. The Vikings led by 10, 37-27, with two weight classes remaining.
Halstead (125) pinned his Frankfort opponent in the second round, clinching a team win for Grayling. The Vikings also won at 130 – the last weight class of the series – with a second round pin by Hibbard.
The final score was Grayling 49, Frankfort 27.
It came down to the last dual. Grayling vs. Oscoda. The winner would earn the trophy for the 2017 Grayling Wrestling Invitational championship.
The Owls won by tech fall (21-5, 15-point differential) at 140 vs. Gabe Ervin, earning five team points. Oscoda won by pin at 145.
At 152, Joseph pinned his Oscoda counterpart in the second round. The Owls won by pin at 160 and 171. Oscoda led 23-6 after five weight classes.
Ferrigan (189) got his 101st career win with a first round pin. Withers (215) won a close match by decision 10-9. The Owls won a 3-1 decision in the heavyweight division. The Vikings forfeited at 103. At 112, Oscoda won by pin. The Owls led 38-15 with four weight classes remaining.
The Vikings needed six points, by pin or by forfeit, in the next four matches. First, they got six from Hopkins, who pinned his Oscoda opponent at 119. Hibbard (125) won by default. Oscoda led by 11, 38-27, with two more bouts to go.
Halstead (130) won by pin in the first round. Grayling trailed by five, 38-33, going into the last weight class.
Oscoda did not have a wrestler at 130, giving Burr a win by default. Grayling won 39-38, clinching the tournament title.
“That was a heck of a dual, wasn’t it?” Coach Moore said. “We knew it was going to be tight. Gabe, he didn’t give up the pin and that was the difference. We had a number of close matches, Tyler at 215, Kelly at heavyweight. We knew we needed a couple of those to go our way.”
Grayling wrestler reaches 100-win milestone
Reece Ferrigan, a Grayling High School wrestler, posted his 100th career varsity wrestling win on Saturday with a pin vs. a Frankfort opponent during the Grayling Wrestling Invitational.
One-hundred wins is considered a milestone for high school wrestlers. Most do not reach the century mark. It is especially rare, in general, for wrestlers to achieve 100 wins prior to their senior season; Ferrigan is a junior.
“That’s cool, 100 wins at home,” Coach Andy Moore said. “Reece gives us six points every time he goes out there. He’s a valuable wrestler for sure.”
Ferrigan could challenge two all-time Grayling High School wrestling records: most career pins (Nick Petrie, 109) and most career wins (Zach Cheney, 167).
“He’s got 81 pins, he’ll blow past that record,” Coach Moore said. “He’s still got a chance for 167. That’s going to be tough.”