GREENVILLE — It was the type of start the Greenville Yellow Jackets wrestling team was looking for.
The host Yellow Jackets earned two convincing wins to start the year on Wednesday night. First they topped Reed City 62-16 and then Rockford 46-19.
The scoreboard read 63 against Reed City, but the Yellow Jackets lost one point for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, because a Greenville wrestler removed the straps of his singlet before leaving the mat.
“I was happy with it to get the first two wins of the season,” Greenville coach Paul Johnson said. “I thought we had a couple of individuals that did a really nice job.”
The Yellow Jackets had seven wrestlers finish the night with two wins.
Michael Schmidt, Tate Jeffrey, Will Parmelee, Alec Ward, Jake Hopkins, Dakota Sherrick and Carter Magirl each went 2-0. Luke Bontrager earned a pin in his only match.
As always, with any early season match, there will be some things to work on and refine.
“I’d like to think everything went well, but it never does this early in the season,” Johnson said. “I’m sure we will see more things we will have to work on. Overall, I’m pleased.”
Schmidt, Sherrick and Jeffrey each earned two pins.
“I pulled off two pins tonight and that was pretty awesome,” Sherrick said. “It was a good start to the year and I hope to keep it up. I’m going to work on a couple of more moves so I pull out some pins later in the year when it counts more.”
Schmidt’s pins both came midway through the first period. His first pin took 60 seconds and his second pin 61 seconds.
“I haven’t had a pin in a while, but I feel I started very well,” Schmidt said. “I’ve been working on my conditioning to go three periods. I’ve been working out a lot, more for endurance, but strength too and I’ve been wrestling all year round since I didn’t play football this year.”
The Yellow Jackets had seven pins in the first match against Reed City and five pins against the Rams in the second match.
“We had great matches both times by the entire team,” Sherrick said. “It feels good to beat Rockford. When you mention their name you think good sports teams, so when you come out on top it’s a good feeling. Looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Greenville has lost a lot of wrestling talent the last two years, but still have plenty of talent left.
“They should know they have a lot of potential,” Johnson said. “We have, just like everyone else I’m sure, the flu bug and injuries right now, but we think that can really finish strong.”
To better prepare for the late season push, the Yellow Jackets load up with tough competition all season long with tournaments across the state. In January, St. Johns — No. 1 in Division 2 — will travel to Greenville. By that time the two teams will have already faced each other, as well.
The first goal from all the preparation is to win the O-K Bronze title.
“Our first goal is to win conference,” Johnson said. “Then we aim for each level of the state tournament, district, regional and then it’s a different ballgame at the state finals. We like to think we can get back there (state) this year.”
Greenville will host its annual invitational on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Hastings, Jenison, Caledonia, Wyoming and Spring Lake will be in attendance.
“It’s very competitive. I think everyone will have a full lineup, which is very important,” Johnson said. “It is anyone’s race, which is great. It’s a good early season match.”
Saturday will feature a five-year reunion of Greenville’s 2008 state championship team. A short ceremony is expected to take place around noon.
Greenville defeated Eaton Rapids for the title.