Tie in final gives Coldwater
second consecutive Sielski Duals title
By GARY R. RASBERRY
COLDWATER — Just as it was in the first year, the second
annual Coldwater Bob Sielski Memorial Wresting Tournament provided
an exciting final.
And also like last year, it came down to the last match for
the Coldwater Cavaliers.
Coldwater scored seven big points in the final two matches to
earn a 32-32 tie with Tinora in the championship final. That
allowed the Cavaliers, who went 4-0 in pool play, to retain
the team championship. The Rams, who went 3-1-1 overall on the
day, took home second place honors as Milton-Union placed third.
Coldwater coach Chuck Alig took a lot of pride in winning the
tournament, named after the founder of the Cavalier wrestling
program and coached both Alig and assistant coach Rob Schmidt
in the early 1980s.
“That’s what makes wrestling fun,” said Alig.
“Kids love it. The fans love it, and we love it.”
Coldwater took an early 25-10 lead to start the final but the
Rams took the advantage starting at the 125-pound match. Matt
Blonairz started the comeback with a pin on Ryan Kaiser to cut
the lead to nine. Dan Bastelman followed up with four points
of his own with a 9-0 major decision on Gregg Homan at 130 pounds.
At 135, Craig Knoth put up a strong fight in trying to deny
Jacob Snyder a pin but Snyder was finally able to put Knoth’s
shoulders down for the required amount with seven seconds to
go in the match to give the Rams a 26-25 lead.
Things looked gloomier as Mark Blonairz pinned Bryce Schlater
in 1:08 to push the lead up. As Andy Schmidt came out for the
145-pound match, Coldwater needed a win to keep hopes going.
Any sort of win by Tinora’s Shane Leonard would put the
match on ice for the Rams.
Schmidt came through, scoring enough to earn four points for
the 15-5 major decision, setting up a final stand.
“That was a big question for us,” said Alig. “We
didn’t know where that one would go. Andy came though
big. He wrestled aggressively all day.”
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Chris Vogel, a four-year letterman and one of only two seniors
on the Cavs, took on Paul Rose in the 152 match. Vogel jumped
out early 4-3 and using a reversal and backpoints pushed the
lead to 8-3 as time would down. Rose got a takedown in the final
seconds but could not get Vogel over for points to end the match
at 8-5 and give the Cavaliers the title.
“It was a team effort,” said Vogel. “I knew
I had to win, but you can’t credit it to just one person.”
Last year only one Cavalier earned undefeated honors for the
tournament. This season, six — Schmidt, Vogel, Travis
Kunk, Kyle Uhlenhake, Kyle Oswalt and Craig Homan, earned medals
for not losing a match in the tournament.
“It’s experience,” said Alig. “Those
freshman (from last season) have a year under their belt. We
have more experience this season. That’s the key.”
“It’s the competition,” said Vogel. “They’ve
pumped up the schedule this season. Having all those guys undefeated
means that we’re getting stronger.”
Coldwater started the day with a 57-15 win over Lehman in pool
play. Next up was Van Buren with the Cavaliers downing the Black
Knights 57-18. Coldwater made it 3-0 with a 64-17 win over Edgerton,
setting up a showdown with Milton-Union for the top spot in
the pool and a spot in the finals. Coldwater to battle the Bulldogs
throughout before cinching the win 43-28 to keep their record
The Cavaliers travel to Middle Point on Saturday for the Lancer
Invitational at Lincolnview High School. The Cavaliers placed
second at the 2002 invitational.