2010-02-24 / Sports

Raiders claim Div. 4 team regional wrestling title

Four MHS wrestlers also will go to individual finals
BY DALE BALL SPORTS EDITOR

For just the second time in the program’s history, the Marlette wrestling team captured a team regional title last week at Mayville. The Raiders move on to the quarterfinals in Battle Creek this Friday night. (Photo by Dale Ball) For just the second time in the program’s history, the Marlette wrestling team captured a team regional title last week at Mayville. The Raiders move on to the quarterfinals in Battle Creek this Friday night. (Photo by Dale Ball) MAYVILLE - After nearly a decade, the Marlette wrestling team has added a second regional championship.

The Red Raiders claimed team regional by defeating Madison Heights-Bishop Foley and Saginaw Nouvel Cathloic for the Division 4 title at Mayville last Wednesday night. Despite owning 17 district titles over the years, the only other team regional win came in 2001.

“It’s been awhile,” said coach Cal Hayward, who has directed the Raiders to four district crowns in his seven-year stint. “I thought we could win this, but you never known until it happens.”

Marlette, which will play in the state quarterfinals this Friday night against No. 2 seeded Hesperia (33-1) at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena, had little trouble disposing of Bishop Foley, 60-24, in the semifinals at Mayville.

Senior Tyler Steinkopf won this key match at 152 pounds in last Wednesday night’s Division 4 team wrestling finals. Steinkopf scored a major decision, 12-4, against Saginaw Nouvel’s Dan Rosales. (Photo by Dale Ball) Senior Tyler Steinkopf won this key match at 152 pounds in last Wednesday night’s Division 4 team wrestling finals. Steinkopf scored a major decision, 12-4, against Saginaw Nouvel’s Dan Rosales. (Photo by Dale Ball) Then, the Raiders were expecting to face Burton Bendle in the finals instead of Nouvel, which finished a distant third in the GTC behind Cass City and Marlette. Nouvel, though, squeezed out a tight win over the Tigers in the other semifinal match.

The Panthers, in the title match, won three of the first four matches. After the Raiders won the next five to go up, 33- 16, Nouvel battled back with three straight pins in the 135, 140, and 145 weight classes and went up by five, 33-28.

Marlette’s fate then rested in seniors Tyler Steinkopf and Justin Shaver.

Coach Cal Hayward of the Marlette Red Raiders raises up the Division 4 regional trophy for the fans after Wednesday night’s awards presentation at Mayville. (Photo by Dale Ball) Coach Cal Hayward of the Marlette Red Raiders raises up the Division 4 regional trophy for the fans after Wednesday night’s awards presentation at Mayville. (Photo by Dale Ball) “I felt pretty confident going into those last couple of matches,” said Hayward. “They had beaten those kids before. In fact, Tyler beat his kid three times in the last week or so.”

Steinkopf escaped trouble a couple times in Wednesday’s match with Nouvel’s Dan Rosales, but then won a major decision, 15-6.

Shaver, ranked in the state in Division 4 at 160, was never threatened by Nouvel’s Tony Calabrese on his was to the clinching 9-2 decision.

Two key wins early helped lead the Raiders to a win. At 103, Travis Noble dropped down in weight to pick up a pin. Three matches before that, senior Patrick Dischinger, who has often wrestled at 215, scored an 11-4 decision at 189.

“The real key to the match,” Hayward noted, “was winning the coin flip. Having the choice to send Dischinger in at 189 made a big difference.”

The Raiders are now set for their first appearance at State since ‘01 when they lost to New Lothrop in the quarterfinal round.

Hayward, whose team was ranked in the Division 4 top-10 early in the season, said his team will practice hard this week. Then, he’ll just see what happens.

“We got to the dance,” remarked Hayward. “ What more can I ask for?”

An opening match with Hesperia will be a major challenge, but Hayward, whose squad will be the underdog, added, “We’re there. I’ll just tell the kids to buckle it up and give everything they’ve got. We’ll see what happens.”

Division 4 team quarterfinals at Battle Creek, Kellogg Arena, Fri., Feb. 27, 7:45 p.m. - No. 1 Hudson (34-3) vs. Martin (25- 16); No. 4 New Lothrop (26-2) vs. Iron Mountain (19-3); No. 3 Addison (27-7) vs. Constantine; #2 Hesperia (33-1) vs. Marlette (31-8). Semifinals (11:45 a.m.) and Finals (4 p.m.) on Sat., Feb. 27 at Kellogg Arena.

Individual regionals

Marlette had eight wrestlers compete at the Division 4 individual regional at New Lothrop on Saturday, but only four will move on to the State Finals.

Sophomores Matt Mata and Travis Webster each placed second in their respective weight classes while senior Travis Noble and junior Robert Fingerle had third place finishes for the Raiders. All will compete at the MHSAA Individual State Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 4-6.

Mata (54-2), third at State a year ago at 103, came in with just one loss all season. He pinned two opponents to reach the 112 pound championship match where he lost a 10-5 decision to Leslie’s Brandon Fifield (50-1).

“That kid (Fifield) is ranked No. 4 or 5 overall in the state. The kid’s tough,” said Hayward. “He put Matt in a cradle and got him on his back twice.”

Hayward added that Mata could have wrestled better and that a rematch is possible at State.

Hayward was impressed with Webster’s performance Saturday in the 119 pound weight class. Webster (40-14) scored a pin and a major decision to advance to the title match last Saturday. He then lost to Dansville’s Luke Ragnon. At the Dansville Invitational earlier this seadson, Ragnon (46-5) scored a quick pin against Webster.

“Travis really wrestled well Saturday. He’s come a long way.”

At 103, Noble (23-4) fell into the consolation bracket in the second round and came back to place third with pins over Brown City’s Jon Dueweke and Carson City-Crystal’s Keith Dittenber.

Finally, Fingerle won his opening match, lost in the second round to Aaron Moody of Mayville, squeezed out a 9-7 decision winb over his opponent from Bendle and wrapped up third with a 6-0 decision over Wade Ehrardt of New Lothrop.

“Robert wrestled pretty well,” noted Hayward. “He beat a kid (from Bendle) who beat him the week before, and he he took it to the New Lothrop kid.”

Four other Raiders claimed one win at regionals. Marcus Noble (125) and Justin Shaver (160) each had first round victories before dropping the next two. Shaver lost a heartbreaker, 6-5, to Bruce Rau of Valley Lutheran on a last second reversal. Luke Steinkopf (152), who suffered an injury at thee team regional on Wednesday, and Collins (285) each lost their opening match, came back with a victory, and then had their season end with a loss in their following match.

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