Coyote grapplers have strong season that ends in regionals

REED CITY  — The season is over for Reed City’s Andre Burk. But the 171-pounder enjoyed a prosperous season for the Coyotes.

Burk didn’t finish in the top four are regionals, which was required for advancing to the state finals.

Burk came out of the districts with a 28-17 overall record. He was 3-2 for fourth place.

“I was aiming for third,” he said. “I felt I wrestled to the best of my ability. I got caught in a match at the end. The first two rounds weren’t bad. It picked up. My first match was different.”

It was the first time Burk had qualified for regionals. The key to success, he said, was the bear hug and leg-lace trip.

Burk entered the regionals fully aware of what he needed to do.

“I have to keep my head and wrestle smart,” he said.

Burk has been wrestling five years. For this year “I think I’m where I thought I’d be,” he said.

Drake Walker, a senior at 140, entered the regionals at 18-21. He placed fourth a districts with a 2-2 record.

“I could have wrestled better,” he said after districts. He didn’t make it out of regionals.

Walker experienced a slump during the season but eventually snapped out of it in time to qualify for regionals.

“I’d like to go to state,” he said, prior to the regionals. “I have to be good on my feet and get takedowns.”

Walker acknowledged going to the regionals, that he would probably be nervous, but ready to go once he hit the mat.

Both Burk and Walker were happy to have four other teammates qualify for regionals to help in their preparation. It was Walker’s second year in the sport but turned out to be his best season.