Chippewa grapplers place second at Russ Wresinski Invite

Manistee’s Hakeem Culberson (below) struggles to get off the mat during the Russ Wresinski Invitational meet on Saturday. Culberson won this match, against Fife Lake Forest Area, by a pin. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Hakeem Culberson (below) struggles to get off the mat during the Russ Wresinski Invitational meet on Saturday. Culberson won this match, against Fife Lake Forest Area, by a pin. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee continued its remarkable rebuilding year at home on Saturday, placing second in the five-team Russ Wresinski Invitational meet.

The Chippewas won their first three matches against Rogers City, Fife Lake Forest Area and Benzie Central before falling in the de facto championship match to Holland West Ottawa. Benzie Central finished third.

For a team that started the season with just eight wrestlers, Manistee has put together some impressive team results, including those in Saturday’s home invitational, under first-year head coach Darrell Burchfield.

“Today is the first of what we hope to be many team trophies to come during my coaching tenure,” Burchfield said.

The Chippewas breezed through Rogers City 47-16, faced a stiff challenge from Benzie Central before downing the Huskies 34-23 and downed Forest Area 54-18 before falling to West Ottawa 51-26.

Manistee had five wrestlers go 5-0 on the day, Makayla Alcayde-Wiltze (103 lbs.), Isaac Reynolds, Alvaro Sarabia (130), Ryan Rochman (135) and Bryson Jensen (160).

Freshman Keaton Ensley went 3-1 on the day at 140 lbs., Connor Barke also won three of four at 152, Keith Barke went 2-2 at 171 and Hakeem Culberson went 2-2 at 189.

“We continue to improve both as a team and as individuals,” Burchfield said. “We have won seven of our last 10 team dual meets. As individual performance is concerned we are really starting to step up both in aggressiveness and consistency which is great to see in a small and mostly inexperienced team.”

Next up for the Chippewas is a trip to the Lakeview quad, along with Ludington and Ravenna, on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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