Pine River senior set for state mat finals

LEROY — Phil Ragatzki has picked an ideal way to end his Pine River wrestling career.

The senior wrestler is among the 11 Pine River athletes going to the state individual finals this week.

Ragatzki has been at 135 pounds this season.

He was 1-1 last month at the team regional and helped the Bucks win their first regional crown since 2008. They lost last weekend to Manchester in the state quarterfinals.

“It feels amazing,” he said after the regional. “We’ve been working hard to get over the hump and we finally did it. It’s been a lot of dedication.”

Ragatzki has been on the team four years. He advanced past the districts and regionals for the first time. 

“It feels amazing,” he said. “All the hard work, all the morning practices I’ve been going to have paid off.”

His record was 23-13 prior to regionals. He was determined to get past regionals and pointed out what it would take.

“I’ll have to practice my shots and working from the bottom,” he said. “We all need to go 120 percent in every single match.”

Top work and shots have been among the strengths for Ragatzki, who is working on his bottom movement.

Action will start Thursday at The Palace of Auburn Hills and ends Saturday.

Meanwhile, Joe Rigling finished his wresting season on a high note.

The 152-pound sophomore placed fourth at the district to make it to the regional. He won’t be at the state individual meet but still enjoyed a strong season.

It’s his second year of wrestling and marked the first time he made it to regionals.

“I put in a lot of work so I figured I’d make it,” he said after districts. “It was a lot of time out of season.”

Rigling also was elated at his team’s regional title.

“That was huge,” he said. “We hadn’t won a regional in seven years.”