CAPAC — Eighth-rated Capac ran into a buzzsaw, dropping a 56-13 verdict to second-ranked Richmond in a Division 3 dual regional championship wrestling confrontation last Wednesday night.
Montrose High School is where the action unfolded.
With the result, Richmond (45-4) moves on to a Friday, February 26 quarterfinal matchup scheduled for 1 p.m. at Battle Creek. Capac sees an outstanding 38-7 campaign draw to a close.
"I really don't know what to say about the Richmond match," Capac Coach Jason Klink said. "I thought our kids wrestled their hearts out and I am extremely proud," he noted.
"We had to go up against ninth-rated Birch Run first, who we had beaten a couple weeks ago in a tight match. We had to mix our lineup a little but the kids came through and we were able to get a 33-24 win. It just shows the unselfish attitude of our guys and how they are willing to do whatever it takes for the good of the team. I'm really proud of the team we had this year, as we had to go through some adversity and the kids just stepped up, battling and improving all year. Six straight district championships and being in the regional final match for the fifth year are great accomplishments. We also set a new school record for dual wins in a season. I think our kids should be very proud of each other and they will have a lot of great memories to look back on."
The regional title clash got underway with the 112-pound class.
Capacís Chris Bly (L) and Birch Runís James Hartley (R) square off in a Div. 3 team regional. photo by Kevin Kissane.
It was there Richmond produced the first team points, thanks to Dustin Pitcel's 22-5 win against Mykle Dedenbach. The outcome gave the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead.
The next six weight classes would favor Richmond as well. Garrett Edwards picked up a 14-3 victory over Josh Nemecek at 119 pounds; Justin Russo registered a 21-13 triumph against 125-pound foe Gideon Gaiter; Casey Martin took 57 seconds to pin Brandon Schalm at 130 pounds; Sean Clancy pinned 135-pound counterpart Dan Cornish with 1:21 elapsed; Preston Treend claimed a 20-5 win against Joshua Kaiser at 140 pounds; and Brian Henke pinned 145-pound rival David DeBouvre with 24 seconds gone.
Those aforementioned outcomes increased Richmond's advantage to 36-0.
Brian Kulman then collected Capac's first team points of the regional championship, accomplishing the feat with a 12-3 victory over Austin Kratt at 152 pounds.
The next bout would see Richmond bounce back, capitalizing on Adrian Morang's 12-4 triumph against 160-pound adversary Aaron Smith.
That staked Richmond to a 40-4 edge at the time.
The next two matches ended with Richmond wins. Roger Crump notched a 21-6 victory over Curtis Patton at 171 pounds and Dakota Boldrey pinned Ed Niemi with 1:28 gone.
That made it 51-4, Richmond, with three encounters remaining.
The 215-pound weight class saw Capac's Thomas Bolday obtain a 6-1 win against Richmond's Greg Sebastian.
Capac then made it back-to-back victories when Pat White pinned Richmond heavyweight Josh Younk with 3:11 elapsed.
The 14th and final weight class saw Richmond's Austin Cattera secure a 20-5 victory over Capac 103-pounder Nick Helzer.
That left Richmond with a 56-13 to celebrate.
Earlier that night, Capac earned a 33-24 semifinal win against ninth-ranked Birch Run.
There Capac battled their way back from a 24-9 deficit after nine weight classes were complete to prevail.
A group consisting of Kulman Josh Tucker, Niemi and Chris Bly led Capac with wins via the pinfall route. Kulman needed 2:40 to stop Tyler Sova at 145 pounds; Tucker required 2:52 to conquer 160-pound foe Forrest Connors; Niemi took 1:35 to upend Joe McGrandy at 171 pounds; and Bly needed 4:31 to beat 189-pound counterpart James Hartley.
Capac also received victories by decision courtesy of Gaiter, Bolday and White. Gaiter registered a 10-4 triumph against 125-pound rival Damian Johnson; Bolday claimed an 8-2 win over Aaron Brown at 215 pounds; and White notched a 4-3 victory against heavyweight adversary Trevor Timmreck.
Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.