In the past three years, Ryan Lee has made a transformation most people only talk about doing. With hard work and dedication, Lee has gone from an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle to a healthy, physically active life full of CrossFit, triathlons, fat bike riding and more. CrossFit is an extremely popular strength and conditioning program for fitness buffs across the world. The program is a mix of aerobic exercise, calisthenics and Olympic weightlifting.
The dream of a Michigan High School Athletic Association individual state wrestling championship is still alive for 21 area grapplers. On Saturday, a trio of seniors were able to capture regional championships: Tri County’s Nick McGhan at 112 pounds in Division 3, Carson City-Crystal’s Taylor Barkley at 119 pounds and Dallas O’Green at 130 pounds in Division 4. In Division 3, the Belding Redskins qualified five wrestlers, which tied a school record for most individual qualifiers in a single season.
A strong finish was more important than the slow start. With the Forest Hills Eastern trying to ruin the O-K Bronze championship hopes of Greenville, the Yellow Jackets shot lights out in the second quarter and sealed the game with free throws in the fourth quarter of a 60-47 win over the Hawks at home for senior night Friday. Landon Kemp led three Yellow Jackets in double figures with 19 points.
Offense was at a premium. Trailing after the first quarter, the Carson City-Crystal Eagles made a switch defensively and cruised to a 32-16 win over MSAC rival Montabella at home on Thursday. The Mustangs opened the game with a pair of baskets by Ashley Swarts for a 5-2 lead. After the Eagles bounced back with a one-point advantage, Hanna Stockwell finished the first quarter with five straight points for a 10-6 lead.
The first meeting went to overtime. The second meeting comes in less than two weeks when the Greenville Yellow Jackets and Forest Hills Central Rangers square off in the opening round of the Class A district basketball tournament. Paige Hallock scored 23 points, 17 of those in the second half and overtime, as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Rangers 59-55 in overtime on Tuesday.
In December, the goal every wrestler is to reach the Michigan High School Athletic Association individual state finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills. On Saturday, 36 individual wrestlers still have that goal intact after placing in the top four at their respective individual tournaments. Five area wrestlers won district championships while earning a high seed for regional tournaments this Saturday.
Katie Wood played her final game at home. Wood, a four-year starter, went out in style, scoring 28 points while leading the Belding Redskins to a 75-60 win over Comstock Park on Friday. “We wanted her last game to be really special,” Belding coach Brad Wilson said. “She led us offensively and defensively. She just has the drive to win and she will do anything it takes to do that. As a coach, it’s fun to watch and sit back and marvel at her talent.”
Now that the Greenville has secured an 11th consecutive district championship, the Yellow Jackets wrestlers turn their attention to the individual aspect of the tournament. On Saturday, Greenville will compete in the Division 2 individual district tournament with 14 other teams at Lowell. Greenville senior Tyler Kuiper will be looking to get to regionals for the first time with an eye toward reaching the individual state finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills in March.
On paper, Tri County should have won. On the mat, Tri County did not win. In stunning fashion, the Belding Redskins upset the No. 8 ranked Vikings with a pin in the final match to knock off the favorite 33-32 in the semifinals of the Division 3 team district wrestling tournament at Central Montcalm on Thursday.
Mike Hallada made two steals to preserve Lakeview’s lead and two free throws to seal Lakeview’s win. In a defensive, physical game, it was the Wildcats using defense to edge the Reed City Coyotes in a 39-38 non-conference win at home on Tuesday.
Holding a 37-35 lead, Hallada had steals on back-to-back Reed City possessions to retain that lead. Then with 36 seconds left, Hallada hit two free throws to give the Wildcats a 39-35 lead, which was enough to win.