Home mat advantage, Montabella takes first

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 9:41 am on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Montabella’s Zach Taubitz, top, tries to roll Ithaca’s Keisha Clark on her back during the fourth round of the Mustang Duals Saturday.

BLANCHARD — Montabella’s wrestling team was the best team at its own invitational Satuday, and they had no problems proving it.

The Mustangs won all five matches they wrestled and allowed a combined 50 points in the wins.

“We’ve only given up 43 (bonus) points in seven duals, so I’m pretty happy with that,” said Montabella wrestling coach Shaun Balhorn. “That means we’re staying off our back, we’re not giving up cheap bonus points.”

The Mustangs (25-4) started out with a 60-15 win over Breckenridge, then knocked off Chippewa Hills 67-3 and Grand Rapids West Catholic 70-9.

The two toughest matches were against Ithaca — a 57-21 win — and Leroy Pine River — a 54-22 win.

“They (Ithaca) have a full roster, they have a young team, in many ways but we’re still a pretty young team too,” Balhorn said. “We’re carried by a lot of sophomores and junior. But I knew they were going to put up some points. We wrestled real well in the lower weights to take those points away from them.”

Ithaca finished second at 4-1, with its only loss coming to the host Mustangs.

Montabella’s Dalton Kuklewski, top, looks to put a chicken wing on Grand Rapids West Catholic’s Casey Norder during the third round of the Mustang Duals Saturday.

“They (Pine River) are always scrappy,” Balhorn said. “They stay off their back pretty well, they don’t give up a lot of pins. That’s a testament to their program.”

Pine River also gave up five voids in the middle weight classes in the final meet.

Balhorn had a lot of wrestlers win all five of their matches. Joey Durham, Jonny Durham, Logan Burns, Zach Taubitz, Dalton Kuklewski were 5-0.

“I had a lot of undefeated wrestlers because I moved some kids around,” Balhorn said.

Balhorn thinks the duals were a good warm-up for the Central Michigan Athletic Conference tournament next Saturday.

“We hope so,” he said. “We have a week off now.”

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