Pine River falls in thriller

BUCKS: Pine River’ Brady Long (green) looks to make a move against Manchester’s Trevor Humphrey on Friday at Kellogg Arena. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BUCKS: Pine River’ Brady Long (green) looks to make a move against Manchester’s Trevor Humphrey on Friday at Kellogg Arena. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

Bucks’ wrestling loses on eighth criteria in Division 4 state quarterfinal

BATTLE CREEK ― This was a wrestling battle that didn’t just come down to the last match. It came down to 10 minutes after the last match.

Pine River lost its Division 4 quarterfinal match 33-33 to Manchester on Friday at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena, but it took officials 10 minutes after the match to figure out who won by criteria.

When the dust settled, Manchester won on the eighth criteria by having the most first takedowns during the match, 8-6. The two teams were tied in the higher seven criteria.

Pine River’s dual season ended at 25-6, while Manchester advanced to Saturday’s semifinal at 29-6. Manchester was seeded fourth and Pine River fifth, and the two teams wrestled tight the entire match.

“We knew everything was really close,” Pine River coach Tim Jones said. “When it gets that far down in criteria, we weren’t keeping track of who scored the most first takedowns.”

The Bucks came back from a 30-9
deficit to win five matches for a 33-30 lead going into 119 pounds. Jordan Stone battled Manchester’s Brendan Abrigo, who tried for a major decision to get four points and the team victory. But Stone held out for an 11-4 loss to make it a 33-33 tie. But the team criteria went to Manchester.

Trailing 30-9 the Bucks rallied with pins by Tyler McCurry (189) over Hunter Carson in 4:41 and Dominic Garcia (15) over Dylan Novak in 5:53.

“I guess you can say I caught him,” McCurry said of his win.

Chase Morrison (285) got a 3-1 decision over Steve Sullman, and when Andrew Park (103) pinned Reese Fry in 31 seconds, it was 30-30.

His brother, Nate Park (112), got the Pine River fans excited with a 7-4 decision over Nick Jackson.

But Manchester came back with Abrigo’s victory.

“We knew it was going to be a tight dual,” Jones said, “and there were a lot of things we had to make work out. A turnaround pin we had at 215 was big. There were a couple of others we expected to have a bigger spread in score, but that didn’t happen. We were looking for majors and techs and other weights. A regular decision wasn’t enough.”

Tony Moore (125) lost 7-2 to Ethan Woods to open the match, but the  Bucks came back when Tucker Fansler (130) scored a 7-3 decision.

Pine River fell behind 24-3 with four straight loses. Phil Ragatzki (135) was pinned in 2:41 by Nick Dettling (135), Andrew Alberts (140) was pinned in 2:42 by Brock Vicek. Brady Long (145) lost  4-1 to Trevor Humphrey, and Joe Rigling (152) fell by pin to Matt Cuevas.

Jeff Gross (160) notched a pin in 4:20 over Garrick Ockerman to make it 24-9. Pine River’s Raden Holmes (171) was pinned by Trevor Humphrey to give Manchester its 21-point lead.

“We had some matches that went the opposite way we thought they would go,” McCurry said. “They had more criteria than we did. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

“It was real even teams,” Jones said. “We knew that going in. We knew we’d have to upset one of their guys better than us on paper. We didn’t do that and they didn’t do that.”

Pine River will compete March 5-7 at the individual state finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills.


Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at

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