Ward ready for banner season with Reed City

REED CITY — Devin Ward is looking for a banner season at 171 pounds for Reed City’s wrestling team.

The Coyote senior is expected to be among the team’s most productive wrestlers this season. After a 2-0 performance at Pine River, he had an 8-1 overall record. His only loss was to a wrestler from Kent City.

“I think this is (the beginning) of my best season,” he said. “It’s turned out pretty good. I’ve got the confidence. I’ve been training hard for this. I’m ready.”

In his previous three years, Ward hasn’t made it to the state final. His goal is obvious for this season.

“Make it to The Palace,” Ward said, referring to the site in Auburn Hills of the state finals. “I’ve got the momentum and am ready to go.”

Ward noted he’s especially improved as a wrestler on his feet “a lot. My shot’s good, but I think I could do it better. A couple of my (pinning) combinations could use some work.”

The Coyotes are off until their home invitational on Saturday. They hope to do well in the Central State Activities Association’s Gold Division.

“We’re young,” Ward said. “Our lower weight classes are really young. We don’t have too much experience. Once we get through the middle of the season, we’ll start getting there.”

The CSAA and tournaments should adequately prepare the Coyotes for the postseason, Ward indicated.

“We’ve got a hard schedule,” he said.

The 171-pound weight class is the highest in Ward’s high school wrestling career, and probably the toughest. But with football and other offseason work, Ward appears more than ready to go after a banner season.