Johnson had lots to like about Greenville’s year

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 9:29 am on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Greenville’s Alec Ward positions himself to take a shot during the individual state finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

GREENVILLE — Greenville wrestling coach Paul Johnson would have loved to get deeper into the Division 2 state finals than the Yellow Jackets did.

However, their season ended in the quarterfinals to Lowell. But that didn’t diminish the year, he said.

“Yeah, we would have liked to have gone further in the end,” he said. “To win the O-K Bronze (Conference) was nice. We had good opponents in the districts so to get the victory there was nice. To get back to the state finals was fantastic. We would have liked to have won the first round but I wasn’t disappointed with the effort.”

Greenville hadn’t won a conference title in wrestling in a few years.

The Jackets finished the season 28-5 in dual meets, but even then Johnson was fine with that.

“With the five losses, we lost three of those in one day, then we lost to St. Johns and the dual in the state finals” against Lowell, he said. “I know in the past we had more kids get to the state finals. But we had a difficult regional. I’m proud of the guys that did place and proud that two got a win before bowing out.”

There were a lot of wrestlers who did well and got the publicity, but Johnson mentioned a few who were unsung heroes on the team.

“Tate Jeffrey, who wrestled 125 and 130, he had a losing record last year. He turned around a losing record to 22-16,” Johnson said. “He was dependable for us.

“Will Parmalee was a regional finalist. Jake Hopkins was a pleasant surprise. We knew he could do well and he ended up having to injury default after getting hurt at the team regional.

“I think most people know about Dakota Sherrick. He’s a great example of having someone come out with desire. Kyle Reamer was a conference champ and qualified for state finals.”

Greenville will find a way to reload for next year, Johnson noted.

“Every year we lose five or six key wrestlers which we’ll do this year,” he said. “We have a good freshman class and some starters who will be coming back next year. We’re excited for the upcoming season again.”

But the wrestlers will have to find a way to get some wrestling in while playing in other sports, Johnson said.

“Kids do something all season long. There’s a lot more weight training,” he said. “That type of thing has been paramount in our success. It’s continuing to work to get better and the more wrestling you do the better you get.”

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