by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Cardinal wrestler Matthew Grant was within a few points of adding his name to the state championship roll at Onaway High School.
The sophomore won three consecutive matches and competed for a state title at 135 pounds Saturday at Ford Field. He took on defending title holder Skyler Crespo of Mendon, who was 58-1. “I felt confident going into the match, I felt good,” said Matthew Grant, who was 48-5 before the match.
He did everything he could to score in the first-time meeting between the two, but it was Crespo getting the early points.
“In the first period, he took me down and he did a move called a leg ride. I know the defense to that, but he ran it well, and very tough,” said Matthew Grant. “I just was not able to get out from it.”
Crespo led, 2-0, to start the second period and Matthew Grant chose down. “I thought I could get out of that leg ride, because I knew he was going to go right back to it,” he continued. “I was ready for it, but he ran it so tough the whole two minutes, I could not get up. He turned me over for a really quick near-fall toward the end of the period. I could hear (the official) say ‘one, two.’ It was close.”
Crespo chose top going into the third and went right back to the leg ride. Matthew Grant got a reversal with 15 seconds left.
“My desperation moves were not working…and there was nothing I could do,” he said of the final seconds.
The Cardinal wrestler finished fourth as a freshman last season.
“He stayed cool under pressure in some early matches, because we all know, there are no easy matches down there,” said Onaway wrestling coach Mark Grant. “He survived his first match, where he did not wrestle well, and he knew that.”
Matthew Grant defeated junior Josh Bunn of Manchester in the first round, 9-5, and pinned Dakota Knieper of Addison at the 3:02 mark. The semifinal match was close, but Grant won a 5-3 decision over Kyle Blake decision to earn the chance at a state title.
“First was the goal this year — I did not get it done — next year, first will be the goal again,” he said.
“At the end of the day, second is not all that bad,” said coach Grant.
Of the six wrestlers from Presque Isle County, sophomore Teddy Peters (130) of Onaway was the only other wrestler to win a match. Peters got pinned in his first match before coming back with a pin in the consolation bracket at 1:53. The next match was a 7-1 loss, and that’s where his tournament run came to an end.
“He needed the win,” said coach Grant. “Like Matthew, he came out a little flat in the first round. The room for error down there is small.” It was Peters’ second trip to state.
Junior Coty Ionetz was involved in a high scoring bout, only to fall, 15-13, to open the first round. The consolidation round was a 11-2 loss. “He wrestled phenomenal,” said coach Grant. “If (Ionetz) wins his first match, then I think his route would have been a little different.”
Sobeck family run comes to an end, freshmen get a taste
Rogers City’s state qualifiers were senior Sam Sobeck (119) and freshmen Austin Bielas (125) and Isaac Hein (130).
Sam Sobeck lost to fellow senior Nik Andaverde of Medon, who went on to place third. “Sam competed well, and was aggressive,” said coach George Sobeck. “His attitude was good, he just ran into a better wrestler.”
The second match was a 9-4 loss to a wrestler who claimed fifth overall. He is the final of four brothers to compete for Rogers City wrestling, and while the final tally of the Sobeck boys has not been added up, it will probably be well over 600 wins.
Bielas got the eventual state championship to start his day Friday, losing via a first-period pin. He was eliminated from the tournament when he lost again in the consolation round.
Hein was pinned in the first period of his first match at state and lost 6-2 to end his season.
“It is quite a big venue, and kind of overwhelming,” said coach Sobeck of his freshmen, competing for the first time at state.