To earn its sixth district wrestling title in eight years, Eaton Rapids had to come from behind in the championship match to post a 41-28 win over Charlotte on Wednesday night.
The Orioles jumped out to a 25-3 lead after the first six matches, but the turning point came in the seventh match, at heavyweight, when Greyhound freshman Trent Hurd pinned Charlotte’s Logan Bulmer.
In the next match, Eric Anderson took six points for Eaton Rapids with another pin, over Dan Doty, and the Greyhounds triumphed in five of the last six matches to take the district crown.
“We made a good choice at heavyweight, putting up a 215-pounder, and he won a big match for us,” Eaton Rapids coach Joe Ray Barry said. “And 103 (pounds) was a crucial match for us. That was the key right there.”
The Greyhounds improved to 23-9 in dual matches even though there are 11 freshmen and sophomores among their 14 starters.
“I was hoping, but thinking we were a year, two years out,” Barry said. “I’ve told my guys all year, the more I see them wrestle, the more I think we’re closer than that.”
In the district semifinals, Charlotte (20-10) won 41-31 over Waverly, while Eaton Rapids posted a much easier 73-3 rout of Sexton.
Orioles coach Bill Blair said that enduring the tougher match did not put his team at a disadvantage.
“If anything, it maybe helped us,” Blair said. “You get warmed up, get some momentum going.”
Eaton Rapids will travel to Fowlerville on Wednesday and face the Jackson Northwest district winner in a Division 2 team regional semifinal match. Fenton and Lansing Eastern district winners will also compete there.