Keeping the momentum
Big Rapids wrestling wins twice to keep streak goingREED CITY — For whatever reason, Big Rapids coach Dan Sleeper said his team doesn’t wrestle well against Reed City. That was why it was important for the Cardinals to come out and get a victory against the Coyotes on Wednesday. Big Rapids defeated Reed City 53-24 to cap a perfect day. The Cardinals began the night with a 37-32 victory over Montabella at Reed City High School. The Mustangs knocked off the Coyotes, 66-18. Big Rapids and Reed City were not scheduled to wrestle each other, instead were supposed to be part of a four-team event with the Mustangs and Ludington. However, the Orioles did not show up, turning the night into a triangular match. After coming off a strong day at its own invitational, Sleeper wanted his team to continue the momentum, especially against Reed City. “For some reason, we struggle with Reed City, it’s always a battle,” he said. “Last year, I felt we had a better team and they upset us. You can’t take them lightly.” Reed City started with a pair of pins at 215 (Travis French) and 285 (Dominic Garcia) before Big Rapids began to turn things around. Brandon Shuker (103) and Nick Worden (112) evened the match at 12-12 with a pair of pins. After Matt MaGahey reclaimed the lead for the Coyotes at 119 with a pin, the Cardinals went on a roll. Nate Weckesser (125) won by void, followed by a technical fall by Ahlim Muhammad (130) and pin by Brandon Butler (135). “I thought we came out and wrestled on our heels,” Reed City coach Roger Steig said. “I thought against Montabella we were a little flat and we talked about that between matches. I thought we wrestled better against Big Rapids. “I thought we wrestled flat was a combination of watching (Big Rapids-Montabella) and being a young team,” he continued. “I thought we got better as we went.” Reed City would win its last match of the night at 140 pounds as Troy Giese won by pin. The remaining five matches were captured by the Cardinals — Sam Miller, who was a 3-2 winner at 145; Brandon Buck by pin at 152; Jared Worden by fall at 160; Kyle Carter by pin at 171; and Justin McClelland, a 7-4 decision at 189. “Winning is huge because we still have half a team that’s brand new, that are still learning,” Sleeper said. “For them, to see us struggle and still come out (on top) was good for the guys to see, that it is OK to lose, but not by pin, that there are wins inside of the match.” The winning inside the match was made apparent in the final match of the Big Rapids-Montabella contest. With the Cardinals leading 34-32 going into the 160 weight class, Jared Worden was able to score a 9-5 victory to secure the win. That might not have been possible if it wasn’t for other wrestlers not getting pinned, said Sleeper. “We had seven guys out of their spots, but we still pulled it out, not giving anything up was huge,” he said. “Jorden Worden clinching it at 160 was an incredible match, but it was a team win.” Big Rapids is in action Saturday when it travels to the Central Montcalm Invite, while Reed City is in South Haven.