LOWELL — The Carson City-Crystal Eagles wrestling team has already won the regular season Central Michigan Athletic Conference championship.
With that title wrapped up, the Eagles turned their attention Friday night to preparing for an extended postseason run. They did so by traveling to face two larger schools, one of which is a perennial powerhouse.
Carson City lost its first match on Friday to Division 1 Forest Hills Central 38-34 and the second match 46-24 to the the Lowell Red Arrows, the No. 2 rated team in Division 2.
It wasn’t about wins or losses, but preparing and improving for the upcoming conference tournament and a potential tough district final match against rival Montabella.
“We knew we would have a tough road with these schools,” Eagles coach Kacy Datema said. “It certainly increases our level of competition, which will do nothing but make us better.”
The Eagles opened up with the Rangers and quickly went down 12-0. Four straight wins put the Eagles ahead 16-12, but the Rangers won the following two for a 23-16 lead.
Garner Cusack, Dillon Decker and Darren Decker all earned pins for the Eagles for a 34-23 lead. It wasn’t enough as the Rangers won the next two matches to pull within 34-32. Carson City voided the final match giving the Rangers the win.
“A lot of these kids came into tonight without a lot of ‘competition this week,” Datema said. “We matched up decent with Forest Hills Central. We are facing good competition this time of the year to get better for the postseason.”
Before facing the Red Arrows, Datema told his team to go after them, but to have fun.
“We knew they were a tough squad,” Datema said. “I told them to go after them and have fun. This didn’t impact our season at all. We wanted to get matches in and see how we shake out.”
Lowell opened up with a 15-0 lead, before the Eagles chipped away and pulled to within 25-24 after a Darren Decker pin.
The Red Arrows finished the final four matches with two pins, a void win and a technical fall.
“I think we wrestled real well,” Datema said. “We put up 24 points on Lowell, which is decent. All in all, it was a good night. We faced great competition and had fun.”
Kenneth Dittenber (119 pounds), Dillon Decker (145) and Darren Decker (152) each won both matches.
Carson City is at the Leslie Invitational today and then will host the CMAC tournament on Feb. 2.
“We are hoping for good solid practices all week long,” Datema said. “Then we can taper off toward the end of the week and get ready for the conference tournament. We hope to win that and be sole conference champions.”
The Eagles are 25-6 overall.