HOUGHTHON LAKE — Once again, the Houghton Lake wrestling team is battling a numbers problem like it does every year. But, experience is one thing the Bobcats are not short of.
Four of the eight wrestlers on the roster have been in the program for three years and are expected to be contending for berths in the MHSAA state finals when March rolls around this year.
The Bobcats picked up one wrestler who transferred from Roscommon and went to state last year, but unforunately broke his leg playing soccer. He’s not expected to return until January.
Returning wrestlers are David Johnson at 119 pounds, 135-pounder Greyson Tyrrell, Tyler Haggert at 145 pounds and Jordan Naylor, who also wrestles at 145 pounds making for a spirited competition within the small squad.
Sergio Alfonso will wrestle at 112 pounds, Payton Daugherty likely will be competing at 130 and Greg Pelton is listed at 175. Pelton is a freshman who has not wrestled before.
Johnson (a junior) made it out of the district and then wrestled his way to the state finals with his showing at the regionals. Haggert (also a junior) advanced to the regional tournament as well, but that was as far as he got. Naylor (a junior) did not make it out of the district.
Deklin James is the wrestler who moved from Roscommon, but is out for a large chunk of the regular season and will be hard pressed to wrestle his way into contention for a berth in the state finals. Fortunately, he’s a junior and will have another season remaining.
Technically, foreign exchange student Alfonso is the Bucks’ only senior. But, he’s never wrestled before, having been involved in Judo back in Spain, and isn’t familiar with wrestling.
Although he competed in youth wrestling some years ago, Daugherty is pretty much a beginner because he hasn’t wrestled in a long time and has to shake off some of the rust from the years of inactivity.
“I’m pretty happy with the kids I have right now,” Bobcats wrestling coach William Tyrrell said. “They really know how to wrestle. We’ve been having really good practices. Five of them expect to go to state this year.
“That would be pretty cool, to have a pretty small squad and take most of them to state. If we can keep them healthy, get them into the right weight classes, I think we have a good chance at it.”
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