Whitehall’s Joe Sika (right) lifts Reeths-Puffer’s Tyler Beckman into the air during their 171-pound title match at the GMAA wrestling meet last Saturday. Sika won the match by technical fall for his second straight city title.
MONTAGUE — After the Whitehall Vikings rolled through the competition on their way to a seventh straight city title at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association meet last Saturday at Montague, Whitehall coach Cliff Sandee said something that ought to strike fear into any future opponent.
“It’s a pretty disappointing day today, to be honest,” Sandee said. “It’s nice to win the city championship and all that stuff, but we didn’t wrestle very well. We need to start wrestling more like teammates.”
This was after the Vikings had won half of the 14 weight classes at the city meet, racking up 222.50 points, nearly 100 more than second-place Reeths-Puffer. If that qualifies as disappointing, especially in a meet which included a couple of Class A schools, the Vikings are likely headed for a deep postseason run.
Whitehall was led, as it often is, by the Sika twins, who each repeated as city champion. Steven Sika took the 160-pound title by beating Reeths-Puffer’s Sean McWilliams by technical fall, and Joe Sika won at 171 by topping the Rockets’ Tyler Beckman, also by technical fall.
It was Steven Sika’s third straight city title and Joe’s second, though he joked postmatch that it was his fourth in light of Reeths-Puffer’s Tyler Stenberg earning his fourth straight city championship earlier in the afternoon.
“The Sika boys are special,” Sandee said. “They’re good wrestlers, they’re good athletes and they’re better kids.”
Reiley Brown won for Whitehall at 103 pounds, beating R-P’s C.J. Colbert by technical fall. The two were the only entrants in the 103-pound class.
Other Viking winners included Logan Irey at 112, who beat Jordan Whitener of Holton by decision; Zack Cooper at 125, who topped Niko Jend of Mona Shores by technical fall; Hunter Shaw at 215, who beat R-P’s Buck Tottingham by decision; and Logan Morningstar at heavyweight, who edged Fruitport’s Chris Hendricks by decision.
Sandee was especially impressed with Morningstar, who he said is wrestling up weight classes.
“We’ve got some guys like Logan Morningstar, who sacrifices a lot for the team every day,” Sandee said. “He’s a 215-pound kid that’s bumping up to heavyweight. It’s disappointing because we have to get the whole team buying into that concept.”
Sandee also pointed to Alex Whitener, who took fourth at 130, as an example of a wrestler who is wrestling above his weight class for team benefit. Also singled out was Shaw, a running back on the football team coming off a knee injury.
“We knew he was tough,” Sandee said. “He has to clear up some mental stuff. He gets himself in some bad situations. He’s coming along.”
Overall, 10 of the 13 Whitehall wrestlers made the championship match at their weight class.
The Rockets’ second-place finish was the result of excellent depth. While only one Rocket, Tyler Stenberg at 140, won the city title, eight more placed second or third, helping the Rockets outpace Fruitport for the runner-up position.
Third-place finishers for R-P included Andrew Emmons at 112, J.J. Covington at 130, Jon Woodring at 145 and Steven Hanson at heavyweight.
“I thought they did excellent today,” Rockets’ coach Matt Brink said. “We’re all happy about finishing second.”
Brink pointed out that McWilliams and Beckman, who lost to the Sika twins in their respective finals, are both freshmen.
The Rockets have largely aced their conference tests this season and look to round into shape for the postseason.
“We’re right on track,” Brink said. “We started off pretty good, but we have a lot to work on. We’re down to the final stretch here in the last three weeks.”
Montague came in sixth place last Saturday, scoring 70 points. The Wildcats missed a top-five placement by a single point, with Holton’s 71 points earning fifth.
The Wildcats sent Sawyer Smith to the top of the podium at 152 pounds for their lone individual title. Smith defeated Fruitport’s Austin Fialek by technical fall for his title.
Montague also had five wrestlers place fourth: Brian Huffman at 140, Brandon Hammell at 160, David Sibley at 189, Luis Martinez at 215 and Collin Pineda at heavyweight.
Whitehall 2-0, Montague 0-2 at MCC Jamboree
SCOTTVILLE — Whitehall capitalized on the momentum from last Saturday’s GMAA wrestling title to snag two more West Michigan Conference victories at Wednesday’s jamboree at Mason County Central.
The Vikings blasted Montague 75-3 and defeated top rival Shelby fairly handily, 39-16. Whitehall remains undefeated in WMC action heading into next Friday’s conference tournament at Hart.
Montague fell to Hart in its second match of the day.
Sawyer Smith, at 152 pounds, posted the Wildcats’ lone individual victory against Whitehall and secured a 2-0 day with a forfeit victory against the Pirates.
Collin Pineda, at heavyweight, and Gabe Hood, at 130, also earned wins for the Wildcats against Hart in a losing effort.
Rockets 2-0 at
HOLLAND — The Reeths-Puffer Rockets swept two matches Wednesday night at the Holland Quad.
R-P defeated Union and the host Dutch. Their win over Union came by a decisive 54-24 score.
The Rockets have only lost twice all season in dual meets, winning four of them in a row since a loss to Kenowa Hills Jan. 9.