Pine River wrestlers reflect on season

LEROY — Four Pine River wrestlers that did not make it out of regionals still reflected back on what was a banner 2012-13 wrestling season.

Jeffery Gross, Brady Long, Tom Miller and Robert Ragatzki placed fourth Feb. 9 in the districts to qualify for regionals. They need to place top four in regionals to make it to the state finals. They were unable to do so and their seasons ended on Saturday. But they had plenty to feel good about this season.

Gross, a sophomore at 171, was in his second year of varsity wrestling. He was 16-3 after the districts.

“I’ve gotten better but I did miss some of the season because I had a broken ankle,” he said.

Gross originally wasn’t scheduled to be in districts but made the trip and was able to qualify for regionals.

“It’s been a real good season,” he said. “I’m good at reversals.”

Long is a sophomore at 135. It’s his second varsity season and he came out of districts at 18-19. He’s been happy with his improvement. He indicated that he’s become mentally tougher. Getting out of districts was a goal.

“I need to be better on bottom and riding on top,” he said. “I’m shooting my swing singles well.”

Miller, a senior at 189, is in his second varsity wrestling season. He was 34-15 after districts. He was 21-21 the previous year.

Working with his coaches and teammates has helped him in practices  He’s had more desire, Miller added.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have a dominant position on my feet,” Miller said. “I had a match against a not very good wrestler and decided to take a risk and take a shot.  Ever since then, I can shoot those like magic.”

Miller has been working on scoring points from the bottom.

Ragatzki, a junior at 112, was 29-20 after districts. It’s his third year of varsity wrestling and he said it’s been “by far” his best year.

“Last year after the season, I worked all spring and summer long,” he said. “Going to regionals, I was excited when that happened.”

He was 3-2 in districts to qualify for regionals the first time.

Ragatzki said the strength of his wrestling has been scoring on top. Going into regionals, he wanted to work on takedowns and getting off the bottom.

The team season ended last week in a loss to Hesperia. The Bucks still had a conference and district championship season with wrestlers like Rogatzki playing a huge role.

He wanted to make it to state individuals but Ragatzki and his other teammates that are underclassmen will get his chance next season.