Reeths-Puffer’s Tyler Stenberg (bottom) battles Whitehall’s Dakota Hoffman and his own loose headgear during last Saturday’s GMAA wrestling meet at Montague. Stenberg won the title match over Hoffman, becoming just the fifth wrestler to ever win city titl
MONTAGUE — It’s hard to upstage an event like Whitehall’s victory for the seventh straight time at the GMAA wrestling meet, but a little bit of history can do the trick.
Tyler Stenberg, of Reeths-Puffer, created some history last Saturday by becoming only the fifth wrestler in the over 40-year history of the event to win four straight individual titles. He is the first Rocket to accomplish the feat. Stenberg joined Orchard View’s Daniel Spoolman, Orchard View’s Jimmie White, Orchard View’s David Cox and, most recently, Mona Shores’ Andrew Cribbs as the four-time champions.
Stenberg, R-P’s only individual champion Saturday, easily defeated Dakota Hoffman of Whitehall by major decision at 140 pounds to earn the historical achievement.
“That’s something else, it really is,” Rockets’ coach Matt Brink said of the feat. “He made history there.”
The senior comes from a family of wrestlers. Father Rick was a standout at Orchard View, winning a city title, and older brother Cody was a star at R-P, winning three straight city titles of his own before graduating last year.
The younger Stenberg said he was motivated by the idea of one-upping his brother coming into Saturday’s meet.
“I have a little family competition with my brother and dad,” Stenberg said. “We try to outdo each other in whatever we do, whether it’s wrestling or anything else in general.”
Stenberg, who won his first city title as a freshman at 103 pounds by beating top seed Nate Mathei of Whitehall by decision, 8-2, may have one-upped the rest of his family, but the senior also wanted to pay tribute to his family and the work they’ve done to help him get to where he is.
He did so by wearing shoes originally worn by his father Rick at past meets on Saturday. He was wearing them when he defeated Hoffman for the title.
“I wanted to win it for him using his shoes,” Stenberg said. “I wanted to have him feel like he’s part of what I do in wrestling.”
The R-P standout said it wasn’t a particularly tough day, as he rolled through his two matches en route to the title.
“I went in confident and tried to outwork my opponents and ended up beating them both pretty bad,” Stenberg said.
Stenberg added that upon hearing how rare a four-time city champ is, he wanted to achieve the milestone that much more.
“I wanted to make history and be one of those guys,” Stenberg said. “Only a few people have done that and I wanted to be remembered.”
After his victory Saturday, Stenberg surely will be.