CARSON CITY — For the first time since 2004, Carson City-Crystal’s wrestling team brought home a conference title.
Even though they ended up tied with Montabella after the Central Michigan Athletic Conference tournament, the Eagles could claim a title in the regular season.
Overall CC-Crystal was 26-7, which pleased coach Kacy Datema.
“We had a good season,” he said. “I think we gained a lot of experience this year, we went pretty far in the team tournament, a lot of kids coming back next year. I think it was good to get the team experience in order to compete next year. They’ll have that bond to carry on.”
Datema knew he had a “solid team this year,” he said.
But a tournament gave the Eagles some confidence.
“One particular tournament was the Alma tournament,” he said. “We beat (LeRoy) Pine River by a couple of points Pine River had been in the top 10. That’s when I think the team started to believe in themselves and started to have faith in the way we moved the lineup and competed as a team.”
Datema had his usual stable of great wrestlers like Ken Dittenber and Garner Cusack. But there were others who contributed also.
“Andre Collins did an awesome job this year. He’s a senior this year,” Datema said. “We referred to him as a six-minute man because he’d go six minutes with anybody.
“Brad Austerman was a heavier kid. We moved him in and out of the lineup with Tyler Brillhardt and Austin Hopkins. He’s a tough kid and he’s a horse. A lot of times we’d hide him and not show him as much as we could. He has the potential to be really good next year. Same with Austin Hopkins.”
All that gives Datema a good feeling about next season.
“I hate to make any predictions, but I would hope we would do a little better than we did (this) year,” he said. “We’re good enough to. We took 10 kids to regionals and only one was a senior. I think we could have taken more. So next year We’ll be bringing a bus down to the individual state tournament. I think they have a potential to make it a long ways. We certainly have a bunch of talented kids.”