Blue Devils Finish Strong in Elks Tournament 

The Sault High Varsity Blue Devils wrestling team brought the heat in the 51st Escanaba Elks Tournament over the past weekend. The tournament brought talented athletes from 22 different schools across the state, and although it’s considered an individual tournament, wrestlers still earn points for their team. Staying on the top half of the leaderboard throughout the tournament, the Blue Devils ended the day in sixth place overall, racking up 130 points. Benzie Central dominated the tournament winning it with 284 points, Lakewood had 186, Gladstone had 153, Iron Mountain had 147.5 and Grayling finished just ahead of the Sault with 138.5. Head Coach Jacinto Arreola talked about the benefits of bringing the team to this tournament. “Competing in a large individual wrestling tournament offers several benefits. It provides a chance to face diverse opponents, hone your skills against varying styles, gain experience in high-pressure situations. Additionally, it can be an excellent platform to challenge and push yourself to reach new levels of performance.”

Six Blue Devils wrestled their way to the podium, earning individual medals. Junior Sawyer Kuenzer (23-2) was runner up in the 285 lb weight class. He pinned his way there, taking down Brodie Gross from Grayling (5:09), Slayden Luna from Lakewood (5:41) in the quarterfinals match and Jaden Manhart also from Lakewood (3:16) in the semifinals. In the end, Kuenzer was pinned by Logan Malonen of Grayling. Senior Will Ohman (24-2) earned silver in the 138 lb weight class. He quickly pinned Emily Kelley of Munising (0:35), and advanced through the quarterfinals because of a medical forfeit. The semifinals match was hard fought, but in the end Ohman outscored Bryson Boucher from Lakewood (2-1). In the finals, Ohman had another tough battle against Eli Gardner from Escanaba, going all three periods. Gardner won by points (6-4). Senior Chris Kiekhaefer (16-3) placed third in the 190 lb weight class. He started off the day by pinning Nick Beaudry from Negaunee (2:30), then beat Levi Frizzel from Lakewood (14-1) in the quarterfinals match. Kiekhaefer was pinned in the semifinals by Jake Huspen of Grayling, but won the third place match when he beat Owen Mattonen of Gladstone by points (5-2). Sophomore Wyatt Peabody (16-6) placed fourth on the day in the 126 lb weight class. In the first round, he pinned Camden Wright from Lakewood (5:28). In the quarterfinals he matched up with Caleb Barstow from Menominee, and won in OT (10-8). Peabody lost to Cade Krueger from Escanaba by a technical fall (15-0) in the semifinals and then lost by points in the third place match to Nathan Higgins from Benzie Central (4-1). Sophomore Caleb Klier (17-6) also placed fourth, wrestling 144, starting out his day with a pin over Jomar Rosario from Iron Mountain (1:37). He beat Korbyn Smith from Munising in the quarterfinals match by points (8-6) and was pinned by Hayden O’Neill of Newberry in the semifinals. In the third place match, Klier was pinned by Owen Cruden of Benzie Central. Junior Cody Russo (20-4) was the final medal winner from the Sault, wrestling in the 175 lb weight class. He pinned Eli Cody from Negaunee (1:46), and then beat Connor Dalton from Gwinn by points (10-4) in the quarterfinals match. Russo was pinned by Fulton Stroud of Iron Mountain in the semifinals match, and then pinned by Isaac Paull of Rogers City in the third place match. 

Several other Blue Devils had great matches and contributed to the team’s score, and sixth place finish. Junior Max VanDoren (17-8) pinned Keelan Hase from Munising (2:38) in the 126 lb weight class. Wrestling 157, sophomore Jonah Rishmawi (14-13) pinned Chase Potes from Gladstone (0:49) and Brady Johns from Munising. Sophomore Marc DeWildt (17-8) pinned Adam Jaczewski from Powers North Central (1:56) in the 165 lb weight class. Junior Calvin Aldrich (12-5) pinned Gunner Nisch from Grayling (2:21), wrestling 215. Freshman Sam Kiekhaefer (7-8) won by major decision over Rodrigo Lazaro (10-1) of Grayling, and pinned Blake Martin of St Ignace (0:43) in the 144 lb weight class. Freshman Brady Rondeau (7-10) had two wins on the day in the 150 lb weight class, pinning Michael Brady from Gwinn (2:40) and Skylar Southwick of Norway (0:29). Arreola was assisted by Coach Matt Vieira during the tournament. 

The team (17-2) will travel to St Ignace on Wednesday to resume the weekly Straits Area Conference duals. 

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