AUBURN — The Greenville Yellow Jackets wrestling was focused and determined to make it back to Battle Creek this year.
Battle Creek is home to Kellogg Arena, which is home to the MHSAA team state wrestling tournament. And for the third straight year and sixth time in school history — all since 2001 — the Yellow Jackets have punched a ticket to the “Cereal City.”
At Bay City Western High School on Wednesday, Greenville defeated Gaylord in the regional semifinal 49-26 and then topped Escanaba 69-6 to become regional champions.
The Yellow Jackets defeated Sparta last year and Escanaba in 2009 to win regional titles.
The finals started at 285 and featured individual district champion Dalton Perron-Spear (38-1 coming in) of Escanaba and Greenville’s Luke Laidlaw (third at districts and 25-12 coming in). The two did not meet at districts.
Down 2-1 after two periods, Spear was called for a few penalties, which ended up giving Laidlaw a 4-2 win and a 3-0 lead.
“I just wanted to go out and wrestle a smart match,” Laidlaw said. “He gave up a few points for two true full-nelsons and a stalling call, which was his fourth penalty so I got two for that. I tried to not get into any bad spots.”
Laidlaw was easily giving up 60 pounds in the match. He has wrestled at heavyweight all season long, but really weighs in at 215.
“I’ve gotten used to it over the season,” Laidlaw said. “At first it was a little different getting use to wrestling heavy (weight) because I’ve weighed in at 215 all year.”
The Yellow Jackets reeled off four pins in their next five matches by Nate Baker (103 pounds), Michael Schmidt (112), Tate Jeffrey (119) and Alec Ward (130) for a 30-0 lead.
Will Parmelee sandwiched a comeback win in there at 125. Parmelee got two-points for a reversal with just 14 seconds left in the match to win.
“I thought Will Parmelee wrestled well. He got two wins,” Greenville coach Paul Johnson said. “The second one was against the kid fourth at 125 at districts. To get the win was a good accomplishment for him. He felt good about it.”
Jeffrey’s pin was his second of the night.
“Tate Jeffrey, he is a freshman and has been coming along really well,” Johnson said. “He came into this thing at 14-20 and he pinned a district champ in the first match and in the second match a kid that was fourth at districts in his weight class.
“He is really coming on, a bright spot and is really working hard,” he added.
Escanaba’s only win came at 135. Travis Heber pinned Greenville’s Nate Arnsby to make the score 30-6.
Greenville won the final seven matches with three pins (Devon Lehman, 140; Reed Cox, 152 and Jordan Thomas, 189), two voids (Luke Gilmore, 160 and Kaleb Bell, 171), an injury default (Carter Magirl, 215) and a decision by Keaton Johnson at 145.
Lehman’s pin came in just 10 seconds against Martie Gillis. Lehman, who has had an eight second pin before, was happy to make it back to Battle Creek.
“It feels good to make it back. It will be the third time for me,” Lehman said. “We are pretty pumped and excited. St. Johns and Lowell and the powerhouses, but we are going down there and will work our hardest.”
Greenville jumped out to a 26-3 lead against Gaylord, which gave them a chance to get some wrestlers in that typically don’t get the chance on the varsity team.
“Sometimes they are not ready for that,” Johnson said. “They worked hard and I thought they did a nice job.”
The Yellow Jackets will find out who they face in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 6 p.m. The pairings will be announced on mhsaa.com.
Quarterfinals take place on Feb. 24 with the semifinals and finals on Feb. 25.
The Yellow Jackets are 25-7 overall this year. All seven losses have come to teams that have qualified for the team state finals.
GREENVILLE 69, ESCANABA 6
285: Laidlaw (G) dec. Spear (E), 4-2
103: Baker (G) pinned B. Larson (E), :26
112: Schmidt (G) pinned D. Slaga (E), 5:05
119: Jeffrey (G) pinned Pribe (E), 2:45
125: Parmelee (G) dec. Adams (E), 7-5
130: Ward (G) pinned T. Larson (E), 1:10
135: Heber (E) pinned Arnsby (G), 1:54
140: Lehman (G) pinned Gillis (E), :10
145: Johnson (G) dec. Maycunich (E), 7-5
152: Cox (G) pinned Felish (E), 1:39
160: Gilmore (G) won by void
171: Bell (G) won by void
189: Thomas (G) pinned J. Draga (E), 1:08
215: Magirl (G) inj. def. Olson (E)
GREENVILLE 49, GAYLORD 26
215: Mason (GA) dec. Magirl (GR), 6-2
285: Laidlaw (GR) pinned LaRose (GA), 5:26
103: Baker (GR) won by void
112: Schmidt (GR) major dec. Iseler (GA), 14-3
119: Jeffrey (GR) pinned Lashuay (GA), 3:29
125: Parmelee (GR) major dec.Heinz (GA), 9-1
130: Hall (GA) T-fall DeVries (GR), 15-0
135: Reamer (GR) T-fall Bell (GA), 16-0
140: Lehman (GR) pinned Jenkins (GA), :46
145: Hunt (GA) pinned Miyazato (GR), 3:05
152: Webber (GA) pinned Johnson (GR), 1:42
160: Bontrager (GR) won by void
171: Gregory (GA) pinned Eyer (GR), 2:34
189: Sherrick (GR) pinned Holloway (GA), :41