Bucks drop semifinal match

MOUNT PLEASANT — Pine River’s first-ever venture to the state wrestling Division 4 semifinals didn’t quite end the way the Bucks had hoped.

But Coach Tim Jones and his team ended their season on Saturday morning at Central Michigan University’s McGuirk Arena with a satisfying feeling.

Pine River snuck out a 35-34 win against No. 2 seed Decatur on Friday and were looking to knock off No. 3 Hudson. But the Bucks (26-4), despite being tied 12-12 after the first four matches, lost 55-18 to the Tigers (17-14).

“In a match like this, you have to start off and you can’t lose any close ones,” said Pine River coach Tim Jones. “We lost all the close ones. With a team of that caliber and experience at this venue, they’ve been here before. You have to make sure you seal every little close match there possibly is. Once the ball keeps rolling, it’s tough to slow it down.”

After it was 12-12, Jones admitted he thought his team might have the momentum.

“Then the lightweights, that’s where they’re really good, Jones said. “We have some great kids down low and we thought if we could get in a few in here we could get some steam rolling and make things happen. We just didn’t get that energy going.”

Hudson lost 35-27 to New Lothrop in the title match later on Saturday.

“We’ll take this as a learning experience and take it into next season,” Jones said. “Maybe we can make a return trip.”

Christopher Rehkopf (152) and Joe Rigling (160) were pinned in the opening matches. Raden Holmes (171) notched a pin in 3:22 over Spencer Blanco and Josh Jackson (189) took a forfeit win. But Hudson won the next seven matches.

Tucker Fansler (135) pinned Tyler Curtis in 2:40. But Hudson won the final two matches on a pin and forfeit.

“I was just going to go out there and give it my all,” Fansler said. “We made it this far and accomplished a lot together. We worked hard and pushed as hard as we could to get here. I’m thinking we have a chance to come back.”