Such a wide range of emotions can be found at the state wrestling finals where even winning is sometimes met with disappointment. Tears can stream from the faces of winners and losers. Winners can feel exhilaration, shock and relief. Losers can feel heartbreak, anger and even contentment. Without a doubt, no other sport displays as many emotions as wrestling does. After three days, just 56 wrestlers out of 896 will be crowned individual state champions, although 448 in four divisions will walk away with All-State honors.
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A few matches that could have gone either way ended up being the difference for Belding’s wrestling team. In the first round of the Division 3 regionals at Tri County High School, the Redskins were ousted by Grand Rapids Catholic Central 38-33. The result was not what Belding coach Art Ward hoped for.
Montabella’s boys basketball team had to hold off a resilient Belding team. But hold the Redskins off the Mustangs did, winning 64-57 after leading by 18 after three quarters. “They (Belding) played a tough fourth quarter, hit some tough shots that got their motivation going, got a little bit of momentum,” Montabella coach Jared Simon said. “They carried that and did a good job of making a run back. You have to credit them.”
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.”
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.
Five down, five to go. The Belding Redskins girls basketball team reached the midway portion of the O-K Blue season with a perfect 5-0 record intact. In their latest victory, the Redskins used a strong first quarter and got a game-high 23 points from Katie Wood in a 60-39 home win at Sparta on Friday.
Greenville’s wrestling team got a pair of wins it wanted Wednesday night. The Yellow Jackets won their O-K Bronze matchup with Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, winning 57-24. They then beat arch rival Belding 53-15. It was good enough for Greenville coach Paul Johnson.
The Belding Redskins wrestling team put on a good showing at the Lakeview Invitational on Saturday. Belding placed third out of 14 teams behind Grandville (ranked No. 6 in Division 1 by michigangrappler.com) and Chippewa Hills (ranked No. 3 in Division 3). In all, nine Belding wrestlers placed out of 12 at the individual tournament.
The competition at the individual Lakeview Invitational was noticeably tougher than past seasons. With the additions of Grandville (ranked No. 6 in Division 1) and Chippewa Hills (No. 3 in Division 3), the individual talent featured many 2015 state placers, including defending state champion Cameron Mahlich of Ionia. Chippewa Hills and Grandville dominated the competition with six individual champions and six runner-ups in 14 weight classes. Chippewa Hills, though, edged Granville in total points 250-233.5.
Belding’s wrestling team had one easy match and one hard one at their only home meet of the season Wednesday night. The Redskins’ hard match was the one they lost. Sparta beat them 56-15. The easy match was Wyoming High, which the Redskins won 71-6.