Three wrestlers qualify for state finals
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School had four regional qualifiers for wrestling this year, and three of them advanced to the state finals with top-four finishes during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Region 9-3 tournament on Saturday at Kalkaska High School.
“What a great day for us,” Coach Andy Moore said. “Getting three to the state meet after not getting anyone last year is pretty special. We talked as a team in the beginning of the season we wanted multiple wrestlers qualifying for the state meet this season and we did it. Now one last goal of getting at least two state medalists.”
“Going into the day I thought each of the four had a workable chance to qualify and three of them did and one fell just short,” Coach Moore said.
Grayling’s four regional qualifiers were Reece Ferrigan (215), Max Halstead (135), Thomas May (112), and Tyler Withers (189).
Ferrigan, a senior, started his day at Kalkaska with a win by pin vs. Chippewa Hills. He lost by pin vs. a different Chippewa Hills in his second match at regionals. Ferrigan won by pin vs. a Shelby wrestler to clinch a state finals berth. In his last match of the regional tournament, Ferrigan won by pin vs. the Chippewa Hills wrestler he defeated earlier in the day. Ferrigan, who now has a 43-3 overall record this season, finished third.
“Good day for Reece. He got banged up in his first match and worked through it to go 3-1 on the day and take third. He battled hard all day working through his injury. We have two weeks to get him healed and ready for the state meet. I look for Reece to do well at state,” Coach Moore said.
Halstead, a sophomore, also started his Saturday with a victory, pinning an opponent from Shepherd. He won by major decision, 8-0, vs. Whitehall to clinch a spot in the finals. In the battle for first and second, Halstead lost by tech fall, 21-6. Halstead will go into the state finals with a record of 19-7 this year.
“The first two matches may have been the best I have seen Max wrestle ever. Very determined. He was our first qualifier of the day and it happened early in the day so I think it kind of took the edge off of the day. Everyone kind of relaxed a little from there,” Coach Moore said.
May, a freshman, lost his first match at regionals. May won a 3-2 decision to keep his season alive. He defeated a Whitehall opponent 12-8 to earn a state finals berth. In the battle for third/fourth place, May lost by pin vs. a Chippewa Hills wrestler.
“Thomas wrestled great all day. He is certainly a spark plug for sure. Always moving. I believe he is only the fourth freshman ever in Grayling’s history to qualify for the state meet. With Thomas he is never out of a match. No matter what the score is he is always in it,” Coach Moore said.
May now has a record of 34-13.
Withers lost to a Reed City opponent in his first regionals match of the day. He won by forfeit vs. Boyne City and needed one more victory to qualify for the state finals. Withers lost a 7-0 decision vs. Chippewa Hills, ending his season.
“Tyler Withers ended his wrestling career one match short from qualifying for the state tournament. He ends with 89 career varsity wins. With his JV matches his freshman year, he ended up with 102 wins. Tyler will be missed next season for sure. He has scored so many team points for us the last two seasons. Sad to see him go,” Coach Moore said.
Withers had a 37-14 record this year.
The MHSAA’s 2018 individual finals for wrestling will be held at Ford Field in Detroit on March 2 and 3.