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Grand Haven wrestling squad tripped up by Hudsonville in team district finals

Josh VanDyke • Feb 8, 2019 at 1:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — After five consecutive seasons of hoisting the team district championship trophy, the Grand Haven wrestling team could only watch as O-K Red Conference rival Hudsonville celebrated on their home mat.

The Eagles, filled with veteran grapplers, got the best of a young Buccaneers squad by a score of 40-31 on Thursday night in the Division 1 district finals at the Grand Haven Fieldhouse, after both squads won their opening round matches.

Grand Haven defeated Mona Shores 52-20 in their district opener, while Hudsonville dispatched West Ottawa by a score of 54-20.

Now, the Eagles will head to next Wednesday's team regional tournament at Grandville High School. The host Bulldogs won their district championship over Jenison by a score of 44-25.

"We battled, we wrestled well, but we just didn't wrestle well enough to beat a team like Hudsonville," said Grand Haven head coach Vince Gervais. "We gave up four pins, we lost two close matches and to beat Hudsonville, you have to win those close ones and not get pinned.

"Their veteran leaders really stepped up for them and gave them an early advantage with those four wins right off the bat."

Hudsonville jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead thanks to a narrow 7-5 decision at 145 lbs, followed by three straight pinfall victories at 152, 160 and 171 lbs.

"The best part of their lineup is the Samuels twins in those middleweight divisions, so we knew coming into the match that those first couple matches were going to be difficult," Gervais said.

Skyler Greenert got the Buccaneers on the board at 189 lbs with a pinfall victory, but the Eagles quickly responded with another narrow decision in triple overtime at 215 lbs, followed by a pinfall win at 285 lbs to push their lead to 30-6 halfway through the match.

Aidan Pike scored a quick pinfall win at 103 lbs to get Grand Haven going again, while the Eagles forfeited at 112 lbs.

Kirk Marsman scored another pinfall win for the Bucs, who suddenly regained some momentum and only trailed 30-24 heading into the final stretch of scheduled bouts.

Hudsonville once again stymied the Grand Haven momentum shift, taking a pinfall win at 125 lbs to all but wrap up the match.

Senior standout Cody Miller scored a major decision at 130 lbs to give the Buccaneers a glimmer of hope with two matches remaining.

Zach Boersen scored another decision win at 135 lbs to bring the score to 36-31 in favor of Hudsonville with one match left.

At 140 lbs, Cameron Ensign scored the decisive win for Hudsonville to close out the team match and hand the Eagles the district championship trophy.

The Buccaneers finish 15-5 in team dual matches for the season, and Gervais hopes Thursday night's loss will fuel the younger grapplers in the program to come back next season ready to get past the Eagles.

"We still have 14 guys that have the ability to get through individual districts and move on to regionals, so that's our focus now," said Gervais. " I really challenged the guys after the match to put the time in this offseason. The last few years, we've run into Hudsonville in the regionals, and now the districts, and they've gotten us four straight times.

"We need that one guy to step up and get us over that Hudsonville hurdle, because it usually comes down to one match that decides the outcome. We only graduate four seniors from this year team, so we have a lot of guys coming back.

"This should motivate the younger guys. Hudsonville is a really good program, who has been in the state championship tournament two of the last three years, so I hope they see how close we are to being at that level, and I hope that motivates them to put in more time in the weight room and on the mat."

The loss snaps a five-year district championship streak for the Buccaneers, but Gervais believes his program is on the verge of something much bigger because of the character his wrestlers exhibit.

"I'm disappointed with the result, but I'm proud of the way our entire lineup competed," he added. "We've got a great group of kids that are family oriented and they care about each other. They work hard and do all the right things.

"Unfortunately, that's the way sports goes. You can do all the right things and still come out on the losing end of the scoreboard sometimes. I know these guys will come back hungry next season. If we can get a little better and clear the Hudsonville hurdle, hopefully, we'll be back here next year feeling a lot better about what we've accomplished."

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