BELDING — For the first time since 1988, Belding’s wrestling team went to a state quarterfinal.
The trip to Battle Creek was part of the Redskins’ 20-9 season in dual meets, which coach Travis Meyer was proud of.
“It’s fun to see your hard work pay off,” Meyer said. “We had a whole bunch of selfless guys, guys that didn’t want individual credit for how the team did.”
Meyer noted his team had just one senior in the starting lineup but a lot of experience.
“We were awfully excited going into the season considering we had only one senior in the lineup,” he said. “We had 10 guys wrestling varsity before.”
Belding had two individual placers in the Division 3 state tournament. Michael Walker placed fourth in the 152-pound class while Todd Haller was seventh in the state in the 215-pound division.
“We have some strong upperclassmen,” Meyer said. “Neil McCully wrestled 189 and Todd Haller wrestled 215. They had a heavy load on their shoulders every time they went out on the mat. They knew what they had to do.”
The underclassmen came along also.
“We have five sophomores in the lineup that came into the season with varsity experience,” Meyer said. “So those guys are the guts of our team that every day had to get it done and they did a great job with it.”
Meyer said next year’s team will be young and will have some holes to fill.
“Our final roster included three seniors,” he said. “But the rest of our roster, we have one junior and that handful of sophomores that stepped in in big roles. But I hope our performance this year will get a couple of kids out of the hallways into the wrestling room.”
If there is students who will wrestle next season, there’s a lot of things to work on in the offseason.
“I think a lot of our guys understand even though we wrestled out tails off we were given some opportunities,” he said. “They know they have to continue to improve just like we did last year. If we do that again there will be a scary group of boys going out on the mat.”