By Mark Blentlinger
The Schoolcraft wrestling team had won conference and district championships in the past. But until Feb. 13, it had yet to win a regional. That’s when the Eagles arrived at Watervliet High School. They first defeated Niles-Brandywine, then went on to beat the White Pigeon Chiefs, 40-33, to take the school’s first-ever regional championship.
The Eagles had faced the Chiefs earlier in the season and were defeated. This time it was for more than just a mark in the win column. The Eagles started out strong with wins by Hunter Martens, Jett Gott, Riley Watts and Mark Fox. Trailing by 12 points, it was River Fox’s turn to face off against the Number 2 ranked wrestler in the state. River was able to show why he is ranked number 1, answering the call with a pin. Lane Deloof then pinned his opponent, which brought the score to a tie. Last to wrestle was Caden Sukich. Caden was able to lock up the regional title win with a pin.
Schoolcraft was seeded 8th on its first-ever trip to the state championships. That meant it had to face the number-one seeded Clinton High School team Feb. 22, at Kalamazoo Wings Event Center. Clinton showed why it was ranked number one. Only two of the Eagle wrestlers were able to take away wins: River Fox pinned his opponent quickly. Caden Sukich took his bout all the way to the end, winning with a 17-7 decision.
Head Coach Rob Ling was awarded the Regional Coach of the year by the Michigan Wrestling Association. He said it was an honor and a direct reflection of his assistant coaches James Bippus, Zach VanZile and Vaughn Copeland. Rob said how proud he is of the young men and one young lady, Silver Fox. He is humbled to be part of such a great wrestling family.