STANTON — Central Montcalm’s wrestling team not only is going down in the record books as a district champion, but also as the best team in school history.
The Green Hornets won the Division 3 district they hosted Wednesday night by beating Shepherd 52-19 and Alma 44-27.
“It feels really good,” Central coach Dan VanderVlucht said. “The coaching staff behind me was supportive and the kids are just peaking at the right time, right now.”
The Hornets had no problems with the Bluejays, as Shepherd won just four matches in the dual meet.
“I knew that because they had a couple voids,” VanderVlucht said. “Their (Shepherd’s) kids are decent but I prepared our kids to be ready for the match.”
Tyler Rydahl, Zach MacDonald, Aaron Loew and Jesse Judge pinned their opponents for Central.
While the Hornets were beating the Bluejays, the Panthers were handing Ithaca a 50-21 loss in which the Yellowjackets won only three matches.
But when the meet with Alma started, things got tight. After a pair of major decisions for the Hornets, Alma came back with a shutout win and a pin to make it 9-8 Panthers.
Central’s Dakota James got a pin at 160 pounds, only to see that given back at 171 when Loew got pinned.
But the Hornets got consecutive pins from Judge, Cory Kindle and Logan King for a 32-15 lead, and finished with a pin by Cody Veltkamp and a disqualification by Alma’s Damian Castillo to Zach Bogue sealed the district title.
The Alma win put Central at 24-8. That broke the record for most dual-meet wins by a Central wrestling team, set in 2004 at 23.
“It was amazing when we set the school record in front of our home crowd,” VanderVlucht said.
VanderVlucht noted his team has been wrestling inspired.
“They (Central) had a positive attitude since we beat (Lake Odessa) Lakewood at (Grandville) Calvin Christian,” he said.
Next up for the Hornets is the individual district tournament Saturday. But VanderVlucht had an idea as to who he might see in the first round of regionals next week.
Individual districts and team regionals will be held at Lakewood High School.
“I think we’re going to meet Leslie in the first round of the semis,” he said. “I just want to keep my kids focused and see what happens. I have my coaches drilling the heck out of the boys.”