BELDING — The Comstock Park Panthers have a strangle hold on district wrestling championships.
The Panthers defeated the Belding Redksins on Wednesday night 35-33 in the semifinals and then topped GR Catholic Central 36-27 to win their fourth straight district title.
Comstock Park has won nine of the last 10 district titles in Division 3. The Redskins, though, made the Panthers work for the ninth title.
“We had a lot of guys that did some good things,” Belding coach Travis Meyer said. “We had some wrestlers that went out against their studs and held them to major decisions at 112 and 140.
“We weighed in some guys at different spots to try play as much a game as we could to make it tight. A couple worked out,” he added.
Dillon Riches, who typically wrestles at 152 pounds, weighed in at 160 and wrestled at 171. Zach Johnston, normally 171, weighed in at 189 and wrestled at 215. Both earned wins (Riches earned a pin) for the Redskins.
Johnston’s decision came against Tyler Gruska. Gruska is ranked No. 3 at 215 in Division 3 by michigangrappler.com.
Johnston is listed as an honorable mention at 171 in Division 3.
Starting at 112 pounds, the Panthers opened up leads of 29-3 and 35-9 before the Redskins made a strong closing run.
Belding got to within 35-27, which allowed the Panthers to forfeit their final match for a 35-33 win.
In addition to Riches and Johnston, Jesse Scheidel (decision, 119), Cody Douglas (pin, 152), Curtis Rich (pin, 189), Todd Haller (dec, 285) and Nate Cooley (void, 103) all earned wins.
“We had a rough stretch from 112 to 145,” Meyer said. “Our only win was Scheidel. We did wrestle our butt off during those matches and didn’t give them bonus points.”
The Redskins finish the season with a 17-8 record.
“It was one of those situations where you’re pleased with the effort, but it’s OK to be bummed out about the score,” Meyer said. “I think we wrestled enough to give ourselves a shot.”
Comstock Park will host Whitehall on Wednesday in the regional semifinals. Allendale will face Lakeview in the other semifinal and the winners will meet for a chance to go to Battle Creek.