Pine River wrestlers advance to state semifinals

LEROY — Several matches were critical for Pine River in Friday's 31-23 victory over Clinton in a Division 4 wrestling state quarterfinal match at Central Michigan University's McGuirk Arena.

But perhaps none were as key as a pin by Pine River freshman Tim Rizor at the 171 pound match.

The Bucks were leading 9-6 going into that match. Justin Cole (140) opened it with a pin in 1:30, but Tucker Fansler (145) and Malachi Holmes (152) lost 9-5 and 7-3 decisions.

Joe Rigling (160) beat Joel Couture 7-2 and Rizor, making his debut in a state finals, got on the mat and pinned Trent Sexton in 2:50.

“I went out there with great confidence,” Rizor said. “My teammates pumped me up. I knew I had to win that match.”

That made it 15-6.

“At 171, that was a really big match,” Pine River coach Tim Jones said. “They brought a really good 189-pounder down to 171. That was a big match.”

Raden Holmes (189) lost 16-4 to Austin Popp and Andrew Frisbie (215) fell 15-5 to Josh Brown to narrow the lead to 15-14.

The Bucs won the next two on decisions with Bryan McCurry (285) edging Don Stump 2-1 and Holly Bailor (103) holding back Nathan Darm 18-14. That made it 21-14.

“Heavyweight was a huge turnaround for us,” Jones said. “We had lost the points to them earlier this year in a match that we lost to them. We knew 103 would be a close one. All of them were great matches. These were some of the key matches.”

Christian Minard (112) decisioned Dylan Stephens 7-2 and Noah Comar pinned Tyler Signor in 4:36 for a 23-21 lead. But Jacob Roberts (125) picked up a pin in 5:27 over Riley Jeffrey and Andrew Park (130) clinched the win with a 15-5 major decision over Anthony Stockdale.

“We have a great coach,” Rizor said. “He's helped me a lot with my leg riding and throwing.”

On Saturday, Pine River wrestled New Lothrop in the semifinals.

“They've been a perennial power in wrestling for some time,” Jones said. “It will be a challenge for us.”

The Bucks, for the second straight season, lost their state semifinal match. (See related story)