Belding places nine at O-K Blue tournament


By Chip Burch • Last Updated 9:59 am on Monday, February 03, 2014

Belding’s Neil McCully, top, tries to get his hands together to turn Allendale’s Jon Nielsen during the finals of the 189-pound class at the O-K Blue Conference championships Saturday.

BELDING — Belding’s wrestling team had nine of the 14 wrestlers it entered into the O-K Blue Conference wrestling championships place.

Despite having only three conference champions, that was good enough for coach Travis Meyer.

“We’ve wrestled well lately, we wrestled well (Saturday) and hopefully it carries over into the district week,” Meyer said. “Obviously, we’d like to do better, but it’s pretty accurate.”

The three conference champions, who were named all-conference by virtue of winning their weight classes, were Nate Cooley at 125 pounds, Jesse Scheidel at 135 at 215.

The Redskins had only one second-place finisher, and that was Michael Walker in the 160-pound division.

“Nate Cooley’s match at 125 ended in a fall, kind of a fluky fall, but he wrestled well and deserves to get that match,” Meyer said. “Jesse at 135, we moved him for the sake of the team. He was selfless enough to jump up a weight class and open up a weight class for a competitive kid. Neil at 189 wrestled exceptionally well. Michael Walker, while he wasn’t a champion, wrestled like he’s ready for districts.”

Overall, Belding finished in third place in the conference championships with 144 ½ points, which trailed only conference champion Allendale’s 222 and Sparta’s 198 ½. Belding finished third in the conference when all the conference meets were added in.

“That’s the stuff we want to see at this point,” Meyer said. “Conference championships are fun but being ready for the postseason is a big deal.”

Belding’s Michael Walker competes during Saturday’s O-K Blue Conference tournament at home.

Meyer thinks his team is ready for districts, but has its work cut out for it.

“We have a pretty big hurdle in front of us,” he said. “(Grand Rapids) Catholic Central is a tough, tough squad. We’ve looked at It, we have a plan, we know we have to go out on the mat and take care of business and the kids know that too. There’s one way to keep wrestling and that’s to win and that’s our goal.”

Meyer also noted the individual wrestling districts should see many Redskins on the podium.

“Individually we have a lot of kids that really look forward to this part of the season, but they’re ready to go.”

The team district for the Redskins will be at home on Thursday even though Division 3 is supposed to wrestle on Wednesday. Because of conflicts the date was moved.

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