Monday, December 11th, 2006
Cavaliers impressive on the mats in debut meet of the season
By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER - Going into the first meet of the season, Coldwater wrestling coach Chuck Alig was a little concerned about how his team would compete against the competition at the Bob Sielski Memorial Coldwater Duals on Saturday at The Palace.
Turned out, things look bright for the Cavaliers as they went 4-0 in pool play, then snapped Troy's two-year hold on the championship with a 52-21 win in the championship matches.
The 31-point margin of victory was actually the closest margin all day for Coldwater, which beat Lincolnview 64-6, Allen East 52-16, Edgerton 66-18 and Miamisburg 54-22 in pool action.
"We didn't expect this at all," said Alig. "We thought it would be a battle from the aspect of looking at everybody's teams and everybody coming with full teams. We didn't know we could stand up as well as we did. We thought fourth or fifth, maybe even to win it. We came out pretty strong."
Troy has beaten Coldwater in the final the two previous years and the Cavaliers have either won or finished second in the first four years of this wrestling meet.
After Trojan Zach Sturwald took the opening bout at 145 pounds, pinning Ryan Kaiser, Coldwater responded with four straight wins.
Alex Uhlenhake scored a pin over Conner Haren at 152 to tie things at 6-all. Gregg Homan added a 13-6 decision at 160 over Brad Pierce to make it 9-6 and then returning state qualifier Tyler Kunk made it 13-6 in favor of the Cavaliers with an 11-2 major decision over Eric Lennartz.
Troy snapped the Cavalier winning streak at 189 as Brandon Massie decisioned Lucas Homan 5-0, but Coldwater got back to its winning ways as Nick Uhlenhake scored an 18-5 major decision over Andy Blankenship.
The big turn came at 275, as Adam Grieshop battled Joe Brading through two periods before pinning Brading with 40 seconds left in the match.
Then at 103 pounds, Matt Grandstaff, trailing Blade Stradling 12-1 in the second period, got a reverse and held on for the pin that had all the Cavalier fans on their feet.
"I'm so proud of Matt because he has worked so hard to get down to 103 pounds," said Alig. "All the hard work is paying off for him."
Riley McCormick snapped the Cavalier run with a pin of Dale Hamberg at 112, but Jarred Kohn got the momentum back in a big way by pinning Adam Sturwald at 119 pounds.
Brock Timmerman followed up with a 17-0 technical fall on Ian Brush before Tom Blackmore got the final Troy win of the day with a pin on Trevor Kunk at 130 before Corey Kuether (135) and Trent Muhlenkamp (140) got pins for Coldwater to end the day.
"When you get the momentum, all of the sudden everything goes for you," said Alig. "You get all the momentum, you don't stop.
"It's a good building block," continued Alig. "Hopefully we can grow from this. We've got places to improve, no doubt about it, but it's a good start."
St. Marys had a chance to face the Cavaliers in the championship match, needing only to beat Troy in their final pool match to get the 4-0 record to move on.
St. Marys trailed 36-19 with four matches remaining. Needing to win all four, with two of them by pin, the Roughriders put together a valiant effort.
Josh Cisco and Zach Hendrick started things in the right direction for the Roughriders with back-to-back pins and Jordan Price followed with a decision to make it 34-36 with just the 130-pound match remaining.
Josh Toler looked to have things under control, but got reversed and was pinned to put Troy in the finals.
St. Marys coach Larry Gruber said that it wasn't just the last match that kept his team out of the finals.
"You could say it came down to the last match," said Gruber. "But so many things happened in between. It shouldn't have been that close to begin with."
St. Marys recovered to capture third place with a 57-15 win over Allen East.
"Not bad. I would have liked to have been wrestling over there, though," said Gruber, motioning to the mat where Coldwater and Troy were wrestling. "It was possible."
Sixteen wrestlers earned awards for going 5-0 on the day. Coldwater and St. Marys each had three. Grieshop, Nick Uhlenhake and Trent Muhlenkamp led Coldwater while Cisco, Hendrick and Daryl Mabry went unbeaten for St. Marys.
In the other placement matches, Tinora beat Miamisburg 46-30 for fifth place with the Rams' Green Meadows Conference rival Edgerton taking seventh with a 39-30 win over Milton-Union. Carey took ninth place with a 42-36 win over Lincolnview.