BRIGHTON — Greenville’s wrestling team started the season with two quality teams Wednesday night.
The Yellow Jackets went to Brighton for a quadrangular meet with the host Bulldogs. They lost both of their matchups, losing to Hartland 37-25 and Brighton 49-18.
Still, Greenville coach Paul Johnson wasn’t too concerned about those losses.
“We always preach it’s not how you start the race, it’s how you finish,” Johnson said. “This part of the year I don’t give a rip if we win or lose. We had a couple kids wrestle well and get wins, and we had a couple of kids wrestle and get beat. We were happy to have been invited and happy to compete. We learned a lot about what we needed to work on.”
Both the Bulldogs and Eagles were ranked in Division 1 of the MichiganGrappler.com preseason rankings. Brighton is No. 4, Hartland is No. 5. Greenville is No. 3 in Division 2.
“I would say they’re certainly good teams. They were better than us (Wednesday night),” Johnson said.
The Jackets (0-2) had only three wrestlers win two matches. Mike Schmidt (112 pounds), Devon Lehman (145) and Jordan Thomas (189) were all double-winners.
Getting a single win on the night were Nate Baker (103), Alec Ward (130), Jake Hopkins (152) and Luke Gilmore (160).
“We don’t expect to be in top form the first meet,” Johnson said. “We’ve only had two weeks of practice. We fought hard and we got the short end of the stick this season. It doesn’t make a difference.”
One of the things Greenville has on their team is young wrestlers, Johnson noted.
“We got a lot of new kids in the varsity lineup,” he said. “We got an idea as to how kids would do in competition. We’re rough around the edges. There’s a lot of teams that are doing club wrestling before this, and I’m not going to sponsor anything like that prior to wrestling season.”
The Jackets will now be off until their own invitational Saturday. Johnson said the team has a lot to work on.
“There’s no way we’re going to have things ironed out by Saturday,” he said. “We’ve got new kids in the lineups. They’re just trying to get the basic mechanics down. We’re fiddling around with that. The kids that don’t do any extra wrestling outside of the season, they have to dust themselves off and move smoothly on the mat. It’s a work in process. If the postseason was at the beginning of the season we would be in trouble.”