Coyotes earn all-state wrestling honors

REED CITY — All three Reed City wrestlers that competed in the state finals last weekend, Thursday through Saturday, at The Palace of Auburn Hills, placed in the top eight.

But at least two of the wrestlers wouldn’t have minded if they had finished higher.

Senior Steven Ruppert was third at 135 pounds and finished the season at 58-2. He was seventh at state a year ago.

Senior Brian Michell was fourth at 160 and ends at 53-8. Senior Josh Mobley took eighth place at 285 pounds and has a 31-14 record.

Ruppert started out impressively with wins over Zacharias Tate of South Haven on a technical fall, 18-3 and had a major decision over Pat Baruh of Richmond 16-5.

But Ruppert’s hopes for a state title ended in the semifinals when he was pinned in 4:23 by John Wiggers of Fremont. He came back with victories over Brandon Treharnd of Dundee, 7-2 and over Derek Camillieri of Midland Bullock Creek 8-2 to take third place.

“Steven had his heart set on winning it,” said Reed City coach Roger Steig. “And he got caught and it was the first time ever in his wrestling that had ever been pinned. It was pretty devastating to him. I was proud of the way he was able to gather himself back up. He fell short of his goal. He regrouped and pretty much dominated those he faced in the wrestle backs and wrestled his way back to third.

“Even in kids’ wrestling, middle school and high school he had never been pinned.”

Ruppert set new school records with 220-career wins and 543 career takedowns. His 220-18 record is the school’s best lifetime record.

Michell had six matches. He started off with a 5-2 decision over Ethan Lingren of Durand. He lost his second match to Ryan Friend of Whitehall 7-3. Michell bounced back with three winning decisions over Derek Willey of Ishpeming 9-7, David Dempsey of Delton Kellogg 12-3 and Nick Allen of Mason County Central 5-3. For third and fourth place, he lost a rematch to Friend 6-4 and settled for fourth.

“I felt really good about it. I wrestled really well,” Michell said. “I beat a good kid (Allen) that had beaten me before.

“I got away from him. He couldn’t ride me.”

Michell said he was moving effectively.

“When I won, it was because I kept moving,” he said.

“Brian, like Steven, going in had his sights set on winning a state title,” Steig said. He dropped down to the wrestle backs and wrestled his way back to fourth place. He dominated them in wrestlebacks.”

Mobley lost his first match 7-2 in overtime to John Marogen of Dundee but won his next two over Jon Strain of Hillsdale 6-2 and Terry Vajcner of Ida 10-5. But he lost his next two to Ethan Gerdes of Houghton Lake 1-0 and to Cody Bergquist of Allendale 3-2 in overtime to settle for eight place.

“I was pretty excited being my first year at the finals and my second year of wrestling,” Mobley said. “It was pretty exciting for me to medal.”

He was confident of placing. “But I was going to take it one match at a time,” Mobley said. “My second day was definitely a big day for me. I was 2-0 against some pretty good people.”

The key was being patient, Mobley said “and sticking to what I practiced the last couple of weeks.”

“We were tickled just that he made it to state,” Steig said. “For him to wrestled the way he did, two of his losses were in overtime. To be an all-stater in two years is phenomenal.

“We had some outstanding practices and things went well. They all wrestled outstanding.”

Michel and Ruppert will both be academic all-staters, Steig said.