LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview Wildcats wrestling team started off the new year on the right track, earning two team victories in its first home dual meet of the season Wednesday.
Lakeview beat Newaygo, 54-18, and Reed City, 51-21, to improve its team record of 3-8 on the year. Big Rapids was also participating, beating Reed City, 60-19, and Newaygo, 34-30.
On a night that included a dedication ceremony to wrestling program founder and coach Pat Boyd, in which the school renamed the wrestling room in his honor, eight Wildcats went 2-0, including senior 215-pounder James Smith, a four-year varsity wrestler.
“I loved being able to be in front of our hometown, especially on a night when we’re honoring Pat Boyd. That’s big,” Smith said. “It puts an electric feel in the air. Gives you that good feeling. And for the team to pull out two team victories, that’s pretty big.”
Other Wildcats wrestlers who went 2-0 include junior Dan Steele (152), senior Sandon Myers (160), junior Ryan Saxton (189), sophomore Curtis Perry (103), sophomore Jordan Knapper (112), freshman Brendan Kurtze and freshman Austin Hancock (135).
Those who earned one win include freshman Brad Case (145), senior Alex Parker (171) and freshman Mason Myers (285).
Coach Dan Barton said his young team did well by not letting the holiday break linger.
“We are a young group and extremely inexperienced,” Barton said. “But we did pretty good tonight. We pulled through a lot of our mistakes. A lot of the times, we slowed it down and went back to basics.”
Barton praised a few of his wrestlers, including Saxton.
“He’s been struggling all year. But he didn’t make many mistakes tonight and he worked himself out of a few things and got some pins out of it.”
With Smith being his only wrestler with four years of varsity experience, Barton’s hoping he can lead the rest of the team by example.
Smith said he’s working up to go deep into this year’s state finals.
“I obviously want to stand pretty high on the podium this year, that’s where I’m setting my goals,” Smith said. “I pretty much worked on what I wanted to work on tonight. I was a little sloppy with some of my moves. I need to tighten some stuff up. I’ll definitely have it tightened up by state finals.”
The Wildcats travel to Mount Pleasant Saturday for an invitational.