ESCANABA — Grayling’s wrestling team set the pace the moment it stepped off the bus and continued it throughout the day at the Elks Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 7 scoring 190.5 points to come away with the first place trophy. Second place Ishpeming Westwood tallied 173.
Andrew Hopkins was the leader of the pack for the Vikings collecting a pair of pins in his matches at 112 pounds and neither lasted beyond the first period. He’s edging closer to the prestigious 100 career win mark.
Zach Kelly also came away with a first place medal after finishing 3-0 on the day wrestling at 285 pounds, while Reece Ferrigan compiled a 3-1 mark at 189 for second place. Also snagging second place finishes for the Vikings were Max Halstead who was 2-1 at 125 and Cole Hibbard who went 2-1 at 130.
Capturing third place medals for the Vikings were Tim Burr (3-1 at 135) and Logan Joseph (3-1 at 152). Tyler Withers finished 1-2 and was fourth at 215, while Nick Green went 2-2 and took a fifth place at 119 and Felipe Escalante had a 1-3 record and was sixth at 160.
“Nick has found some confidence and it showed (Saturday) as he took his first medal of the season,” Grayling coach Andy Moore said. “Max wrestled well. He wrestled tough in the finals, losing to a senior from Iron Mountain.
“Tim bounced back at this tournament with a nice third place finish. He got us valuable team points by pinning all of his opponents after losing in the semifinals. Logan also got us some team points after losing a tough match in the semifinals.
“It was nice to see him come back to beat up his next two opponents to take third. He wrestled well. Felipe saw his first action of the year and wrestled well. Reece upset the second seed in the semifinals before losing a tough finals match. Tyler had a tough weight and lost a close match in the semifinals.”
Kelly has continued to dominate the heayweights despite being outweighed every time he steps on the mat. Coach Moore says that Kelly has shown a lot of heart and never backs down from anyone. He scored a team-high 28 points on Saturday with three consecutive pins. Coach Moore considers the tournament a big confidence builder for the Vikings.