Chippewa Hills, Big Rapids open 2014-15 season with CSAA quad meet

Warriors start season 2-0, Cards go 0-2

BIG RAPIDS — High school wrestling teams across the state returned to the mats on Wednesday night, with Big Rapids and Chippewa Hills opening the 2014-15 campaign at Big Rapids High School in a quad meet with Grant and Central Montcalm.

The Warriors, who made it to the state quarterfinals as a team last season, scored two victories on Wednesday, defeating Grant, 58-13, and beating Central Montcalm, 59-10, to open their Central State Activities Association (CSAA) slate.

IN CONTROL: Chippewa Hills’ Kaden Ellis (center) tries to keep his opponent down long enough for a pin as the referee counts down at a Central State Activities Association (CSAA) quad meet at Big Rapids High School. The Warriors opened the season with two victories while Big Rapids went 0-2 in its first action of the 2014-15 season. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

IN CONTROL: Chippewa Hills’ Kaden Ellis (center) tries to keep his opponent down long enough for a pin as the referee counts down at a Central State Activities Association (CSAA) quad meet at Big Rapids High School. The Warriors opened the season with two victories while Big Rapids went 0-2 in its first action of the 2014-15 season. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

The Warriors started their night in a 9-0 hole against Grant after a void and a loss, but they responded with five-straight wins, including pins by Kaden Ellis at 119 pounds and Jaycob Sharp at 140, to take a 26-9 lead.

David Spedowski lost at 145 to a competitor that placed in states last season, but the Warriors won out the rest of the way and added four more pins to take the win, 58-13, over the Tigers.

The Warriors continued their winning ways against the Hornets to close out the night, with Ellis, Sharp, Brendan Barry (215), Kyle Vandenbrooks (heavyweight), Austin Spedowski (130), Slade Todd (135), Mason Dey (152), Kevin Briscoe (160) and Austin Young (125) all picking up their second wins of the night.

Eric Russell and Derek Strobel split time at 171, each picking up one win apiece.

“We’re not 100 percent right now and we’ve got a lot of young kids in the lineup, but I thought they came out and competed really hard,” Chippewa Hills coach Nate Ethridge said. “I’m proud of them. They did a good job and opening night is a tough night.”

With two decisive victories and a pile of two-match winners, Ethridge was proud of his team, especially the youngsters.

“I was happy with my freshmen (Wednesday),” Ethridge said. “Austin Young is a freshman and I thought he handled bigger, older kids well. David Spedowski lost once to a state placer (against Grant) but then he came back and beat a kid that had 37 wins last year. We’re real happy with our young kids.”

The Cardinals started out 0-2 with a 45-36 setback to Central Montcalm followed by a 60-15 loss to Grant, with the majority of the Big Rapids roster seeing varsity action for the first time.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys, but it’s not only young guys, we’ve got a lot of first-year juniors, first-year sophomores,” first-year Big Rapids coach Ben Kosmalski said. “We have a lot of first-year guys that are showing some promise.”

The Cardinals got pins from Brandon Hatchew at 103, Hunter Jacobs at 130, DeSean Griffin at 152 and Kam Robinson at heavyweight in the loss to Central Montcalm before they surrendered all but three matches to Grant.

“We’re taking steps forward. At least now, even the kids who weren’t expecting to lose that lost, maybe it’ll be a wakeup call,” Kosmalski said. “I think suffering a couple losses at the beginning of the year isn’t the worst thing in the world. It gives us something to look forward to and something to build upon.”

Big Rapids got wins from Aaron Repke at 119, Nick Worden at 140 and Griffin against the Tigers. Griffin, who pinned both of his opponents, and Worden were the only two-match winners for Big Rapids.

“There were some good things that we can build on,” Kosmalski said. “I feel like we could’ve won against Central Montcalm if things would’ve went our way a little more. We’ve just got more off the mat issues that we’re having that are leading to the holes in our lineups. Hopefully we can get those straightened out.”

The Cardinals voided three matches against both Grant and Central Montcalm, but Kosmalski was still excited by the work he saw on the mat, especially by Griffin and Jacobs.

“DeSean wrestled hard. He’ll be able to do real well,” Kosmalski said. “He’s coming along and putting some things together and sticking to the moves he knows.

“I was very impressed with Hunter Jacobs (Wednesday),” he continued. “Unfortunately he didn’t wrestle his sophomore and junior years, but he’s a good athlete. This is his first match in three years and he pinned his kid and then wrestled real close and lost by one in the second one.”

Both squads are in action again on Saturday with Chippewa Hills at the Jackson Area Wrestling Showdown while Big Rapids will host its Cardinal Invitational tournament at 9:30 a.m.

Reed City goes 1-1 in opener

HART — The Reed City wrestling team opened the 2014-15 season by going 1-1 at a double-dual at Hart on Wednesday.

The Coyotes lost to the host school in the first match, 41-34, before rebounding with a 61-18 victory over Benzie Central in the nightcap.

Going 2-0 on the night for the Coyotes were Devin Yokin (112), Jacob Toles (125), Matt McGahey (130) and Devin Ward (189).

Going 1-0 were Dylan Christell (215) and Joseph Gerring (heavyweight).

Reed City returns to action Saturday to take part in the Kent City Classic.

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