MHSAA team wrestling tournament: Westwood falls to Norway in Div. 4 regionals
MANISTIQUE – They came, they saw, they conquered.
The Norway Knights retained their Division 4 regional wrestling title Wednesday night, posting a 58-18 triumph over the Westwood Patriots.
Norway snapped an early 6-6 tie by winning the next six bouts, including three by pin. Its advantage reached 34-6 when junior Taylor Bonetti pinned Westwood senior Tyler Villeneuve two minutes, 43 seconds into the 160-pound match.
The victory sends Norway to the state quarterfinals Feb. 21 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
“Westwood always wrestles us tough,” said Norway coach Nick Burkland. “We knew we couldn’t take anyone lightly.”
The Patriots trimmed their deficit to 34-12 when senior Cooper Guidebeck pinned freshman Joe Comstock in 56 seconds.
Junior Travis Moon (189) then sealed the verdict by pinning sophomore Ryan Johnson in 62 seconds.
“These kids didn’t go down without a fight,” said Westwood coach Dan Carlson. “We were going for the win. We knew they were tough in the middle. We knew we were going to have to pull some upsets to win it. The Gonzalez brothers are tough and Bonetti is a quick, elusive kind of kid.”
Norway sophomore Tim Huddleston (119) pinned freshman Wyatt Makosky 2:42 into the opening match.
Westwood then tied the count at 6 when senior Trevor Swanson (125) pinned freshman Izaak Degenaer at 1:06.
The Knights regained the upper hand when senior Don Houle (130) took a 5-2 decision from junior Vincente’ Carlson.
Westwood opened with a 42-32 triumph over Rudyard.
Rudyard led by as much as 32-12 when junior Nic Drake (152) pinned Westwood junior Kendal in just 18 seconds.
The Patriots trimmed their deficit to 32-18 on Villeneuve’s pin of freshman James Emrich in 1:21, then took forfeits in the next four weight divisions.
Norway reached the title round with a hard-fought 39-24 victory over the Rogers City Hurons.
The opener was tied at 18, but an escape in the final four seconds by Bonetti enabled the Knights to take a 21-18 lead.
Senior Jared LaFleche (171) pulled the Hurons even at 21 by taking a 5-1 decision from Moon.
In the next bout, senior Jorden Neumann pinned Rogers City senior Matt Rohde in 65 seconds, giving the Knights a 27-21 lead.
Junior Shane Brasil (285) followed with a pin of junior Jon Molzan in 3:21, putting Norway up 33-21.
“Jorden came off injured reserve and got a big pin,” said Burkland. “Shane also had a big pin. The Rogers City match was huge. We went through every situation and circumstance anyone can imagine. It was nip-n-tuck the whole way.”
Rogers City senior Andrew Selke (285) then took a 5-0 decision from senior Kasey Siegle. But the Hurons were still trailing 33-24 and mathematically eliminated with just one bout remaining.
“We tried to match up with them, but it wasn’t meant to be,” said Rogers City coach Pat Lamb. “We knew they were going to be the team to beat in order to go to state. We just didn’t have enough firepower. I can’t fault the kids’ effort at all.”