Battle Creek Central’s Brandon Crum was in a position Thursday where he could either be the hero or the goat for the Bearcats.
Entering the last match of the Division 2 district championship vs. Parma Western at the BCC Fieldhouse, Crum stepped on to the mat with his team clinging to a 3-point lead.
Fifty-five seconds later, Crum pinned his opponent, prompting teammates to rush the mat and lift him in the air, as the victory secured a 42-33 win and gave Battle Creek Central its first wrestling district championship since 2006.
“It was wonderful to see young kids like (Brenton) Collins step up and Crum step up, they are both sophomores. I told them they would remember this for the rest of their lives,” said BCC head coach Louis Politte. “It took a lot of hard work in the offseason program. Just the kids working hard, we peaked at the right time I think.”
The Bearcats (13-11) advance to next Wednesday’s Division 2 regional at Harper Creek, where they will face Edwardsburg. Three Rivers and Niles also advanced to the regional.
Collins posted a big win at 145 pounds, holding on for a 6-4 decision to cut Parma Western’s lead to 33-30 with only two matches remaining in the championship. The Bearcats’ Kenny Grayer followed at 152 pounds with a pin in 4:48, setting up Crum for the dramatic finish.
BCC opened the district tournament with a convincing 57-24 win over Harper Creek in the semifinal.
The Bearcats were led on the night by Jacob Taylor (171 pounds) and Jace Trevino (285 pounds), who each registered a pair of pins. Also going unbeaten on the day for BCC were Collins, Grayer, Crum, David Smith (103 pounds) and Jameson Browne (125 pounds).
In the loss to BCC, Harper Creek received pins from Mitch Coon (112) pounds, Joey Ramos (135 pounds) and Jacob Bishop (140 pounds).
“We knew we had our hands full. The kids worked hard, and we’re getting better,” said Harper Creek head coach Dave Studer. “I was disappointed, I would have liked it to have looked a little better up there (on the scoreboard), we lost a couple I thought we could’ve won, but other than that we’re wrestling about where I thought we would be at this time. Compared to the beginning of the year to now, we’re way, way better.”
In the other district semifinal, Parma Western defeated Marshall by the same score, 57-24.
Marshall was led by pins from Brendan Hankey (160 pounds), Corey Dexter (171 pounds) and Jadon Austin (152 pounds).
“We had a couple close matches with them this year, but today we were giving up too many spots, too many empty spots in our lineup,” said Marshall head coach Nick Zuehlke. “But the kids that went out there wrestled well and I was proud of them. They didn’t give up and fought through some tough matches.”
MORE PREP WRESTLING DISTRICTS
Division 4 at Homer: The host Trojans defeated Union City in the semifinals by a score of 51-22. The Trojans went on to defeat Quincy in the finals, 55-13.
In the semifinal win, Homer received pins from Justice Haigh (103 pounds), Shawn Hoaglin (145 pounds), Austin Yeakey (152 pounds) and Wyatt Stout (160 pounds).
Union City was led in defeat by Matt Vaccaro, who earned a pin at 125 pounds.