Only the strongest, quickest and most technically-sound prep wrestlers in the state have matches left.
And each bout from here on out will only prove more difficult, as grapplers try to punch their ticket to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Individual State Finals through the regional round on Saturday.
A total of 49 local wrestlers will be at sites accross the state, each hoping to advance to The Palace of Auburn Hills on Feb. 28 for the start of the Finals. The top four from each regional will move on for a shot at All-State honors or possibly an individual state title.
In the area, Bronson has the largest continent still alive. The Vikings Jake Littlefield (119 pounds), Hunter Machus (125), Kahle Scheenks (130), Joe Albarran (140), Brandon Losinski (145), Jukoda Sexton (152), Dan Erwin (160), Leo Mora (171) and Brett Burtrum (189) will represenent their school at the Division 4 regional at Bangor.
Another large crop of locals will be at the Division 1 regional at Grand Haven. Lakeview advanced seven grapplers — Lal Sang (103), Thay Thet (130), Ross Pennock (145), Max Pennock (152), Jacob Harvey (160), Rodney Harvey (189) and Ranuel Packer (215) — who will be joined by four from Battle Creek Central in DeAndre Webb (140), Steven Caldwell (152), Jacob Taylor (171) and Jace Trevino (285).
COMPETITIVE CHEER TOURNEY BEGINS
The Michigan High School Athletic Association Competitive Cheer Tournament opens with district rounds accross the state on Friday and Saturday.
All local schools will be in action on Saturday, with the top four teams moving on to regionals on Feb. 23.
Gull Lake will be at the Division 2 district at Middleville-Thornapple Kellogg, beginning at 3 p.m.
Harper Creek and Pennfield will be at the Division 3 district at Allegan, set to start at 3 p.m.
Athens, Bronson, Colon, Delton Kellogg, Homer, Quincy and Union City will be at the Division 4 district at Gobels, beginning at 1 p.m.
Maple Valley will compete at the Division 4 district at Webberville, starting at 10 a.m.
The top four teams at each regional will advance to the MHSAA State Finals, March 2-3 at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids.
LOCAL SQUADS EARN STATE RANKINGS
Several area teams have been recognized among the top squads in the state, according to the latest rankings.
* Boys’ basketball: Climax-Scotts is No. 1 in Class D, according to the Michigan Associated Press high school basketball poll.
* Girls’ basketball: Harper Creek is No. 10 in Class B, according to the Michigan Associated Press high school basketball poll.
* Boys’ swimming & diving: Lakeview is No. 6 in Division 2, according to the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association rankings.
* Wrestling: Lakeview is No. 10 in Division 1, according to the Michigangrappler.com rankings.
* Girls’ bowling: Pennfield is No. 1 in Division 3, according to the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association rankings.
* Boys’ bowling: Coldwater is No. 8 in Division 2, according to the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association rankings.