Johnson enjoys strong wrestling season for Reed City

Eli Johnson (right) takes on Big Rapids' Sawyer Meeuwes in recent action. (Pioneer file photo)

Eli Johnson (right) takes on Big Rapids' Sawyer Meeuwes in recent action. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS—Eli Johnson enjoyed a unique sophomore season at 189 pounds for Reed City’s wrestling team as one of its top performers.

He started out at 12-2.

“I’m hoping to go to state this year,” he said late in the season. “That’s my goal.”

Johnson wasn’t able to reach his goal of making it to state but will make a serious bid next season. He wasn’t able to put in a full season as a freshman.

“I wrestled last year but I broke my nose early in the season,” Johnson said.

Johnson and other Reed City wrestlers got off to a late start because of COVID-related shutdowns. Contact wasn’t allowed until Feb. 8. The state finals are this weekend for individuals.

“It’s mainly affected my conditioning,” Johnson said of the shutdown. “Early in the season, I was getting tired early in my matches. Right now, I’m all caught up and back to where I should be.”

The neutral position was a strength for Johnson this season.

Top work is a critical area where Johnson hopes to improve.

The Coyotes had one of their best seasons in several years.

“We’ve been doing pretty good actually,” Johnson said. “We have a good record so far.”

Johnson also played football but said wrestling is his favorite sport.

“In the offseason, I do football so that keeps me in shape,” Johnson said.

He and his fellow football players are hoping for a normal summer with workouts in 2021, compared to last year when practice times were extremely spotty because of COVID conditions.