Blue Devils Compete in Northern Michigan Championships

Over the weekend, the Sault High Blue Devils sent two wrestling squads to compete in tournaments in Gaylord. Friday night, the JV Tournament welcomed wrestlers from all over northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Head Coach Jacinto Arreola shared the benefit of being able to send some of the team’s wrestlers to this tournament. “JV tournaments also contribute to the overall development of the wrestling team by providing opportunities for all team members to compete and support each other’s progress. Success in tournaments can boost wrestlers’ confidence, motivating them to continue training and improving their skills. Overall, wrestling in JV tournaments is an essential component of a wrestler’s development, helping them build skills, gain experience, and prepare for future competitions.”

Sophomores Jonah Rishmawi (165) and Marc DeWildt (175) placed first in their respective groups in this round robin style tournament. Rishmawi got the gold by quickly pinning Clarence Oliveros of Standish Sterling (0:40), then with a decision over Tre Arnold of Glen Lake (10-3). Rishmawi sealed the deal in an excellent match against Mason Norling from Alcona (5-4). DeWildt earned his title with a pin over Boden Fisher of Glen Lake (1:35), decision over Leland Korona of Gaylord (4-0) and then decision over Jefferson Gay of Traverse City West (3-0).

Junior Chase Tracey (106) and freshman Sam Kiekhaefer (144) both took second Friday night. Tracey pinned his way to a silver medal, first pinning Levi Ellis of Marquette (3:19), then Preston Nash from Oscoda (1:04) and John Nord from Munising (0:50). His only loss for the night was by decision during a close match against Treyson Nyland from Traverse City West (12-7). Kiekhaefer won by decision over Cooper Gaines of Traverse City West (5–1), a fall over Frenando Cuesta of Inland Lakes (3:33) and another fall over Paul Batavia of Atlanta. His only loss of the night was by decision against Aiden Shutler of Traverse City Central (7-2). 

Freshman Brady Rondeau (157) took third in the tournament in his group. His win came by decision over Joshua Haydon of Traverse City Central. Rondeau lost by decision against Phillip Lemcool of Traverse City West (3-1) and was pinned by Keith Crompton of Frankfort. 

Saturday a group of nine Blue Devils competed in the Northern Michigan Championships. Six Blue Devils placed in the tournament. “Having 6 out of 9 wrestlers medaling at one of the premier tournaments in Northern Michigan is exciting, taking 11th out of 39 teams is the highest the Sault has placed in years. With a strong showing we showed that we’re improving towards tougher competition, in time for team and individual districts.”

Sophomore Wyatt Peabody (22-9) placed third in the 132 lb weight class. He had a first round bye, then beat CJ Hermanson of Cadillac by decision (7-2). In the quarterfinal round, Peabody beat Howard Bliss of Newberry, also by decision (6-2). In the semifinal match, Peabody was pinned by Drew Hansen of Gladstone. Peabody won the third place match over Jaymes Wildfong of Mancelona. Wildfong was disqualified after using an illegal move, ending the match. 

Senior Will Ohman (32-4) also placed third, but in the 138 lb weight class. He had a first round bye, then won by fall over Will Helppi of Negaunee (2:56). In the quarterfinal match, Ohman won by sudden victory over Robert Patrick of Petoskey (5-3). The semifinal round paired Ohman with Gavyn Merchant of Kingsley, where Merchant won by decision (7-3). In the third place match, Ohman pinned Brady Slocum of Traverse City Central (2:22). 

Junior Sawyer Kuenzer (31-4) placed fourth in the tournament in the 285 lb weight class. He started with a bye, then pinned Brayden Delvalle from Charlton Heston Academy (3:15). In the quarterfinal match, Kuenzer won by decision over Ryan Kincaid of Benzie Central (1-0). The semifinal match ended with a pin by Kaiden Sides of Gaylord. The third place match was a close one, but in the end Sawyer Blasczyk of Charlevoix won by points (2-1). 

Junior Calvin Aldrich (17-9) placed sixth in the 215 lb weight class. He started off the day with a first round bye, then pinned Aubree Croasdell of Escanaba (1:34). In the quarterfinal match, Aldrich lost a close match to Robert Johns of Munising (6-5). Aldrich then won in a tie breaker (3-0) over Hunter Vance of Traverse City Central. The fifth place match paired Aldrich with Walker Borchers of Roscommon. Borchers won by decision (9-2). 

Junior Cody Russo (27-7) placed seventh in the 175 lb weight class. He had a first round bye, then won by fall over Parker Masch of Standish Sterling (3:05). In the quarterfinal match, Russo was pinned by Lorcan Keatley of Gladwin. Logan Wolf of Gaylord won the next match in a close decision (8-7). In the seventh place match, Russo pinned Hunter Fagon-Moyer of Reed City (1:18). 

Senior Chris Kiekhaefer (23-6) placed seventh in the 190 lb weight class. He had a first round bye, then won by decision over Mitchell Gregory of Petoskey (6-2). In the quarterfinal round, he was pinned by Max Herrick of Tawas Area. In the next round, Curtis Houghton of Marquette won by a close decision (8-7). Kiekhaefer won the seventh place match due to medical forfeit by his opponent. 

“Wrestling against tougher opponents forces wrestlers to adapt and refine their techniques to be successful. It exposes weaknesses that they can work on improving in subsequent training sessions. Scouts and college coaches frequently attend hard tournaments to recruit talented wrestlers. Impressive performances in these tournaments can increase a wrestler’s visibility and open doors to collegiate wrestling opportunities, including scholarships. Overall, participating in hard tournaments offers wrestlers a challenging and rewarding experience that can contribute significantly to their growth and development in the sport.”

The Blue Devils wrap up the conference duals with a rescheduled match in St Ignace on Tuesday night, and will close out the regular season with a tournament in Inland Lakes on Saturday. 

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