On Wednesday, Holt beat Grand Ledge handily to take the regular-season CAAC Blue title. On Saturday at the league meet, the Rams were pushed until the final rounds of individual weight classes.
But the final result was the same.
The Rams responded with seven wins in championship and consolation matches, overcoming the Comets to take the conference title with 220.5 points. Grand Ledge finished with 206.5 points.
“Going into the finals they were up by five points. They had 13 kids left (going into the finals) and we had 13 kids left and the kids did what they do,” Holt coach Rocky Shaft said. “I think we only lost three matches in the final round. We won 10 and we won a lot of the head-to-heads, which were all important and we were able to surpass them. …
“We did not have a good day in the morning. We lost some matches that were just tight, but those things happen and I’m just happy the way they came through in this final round.”
The Comets actually extended their lead at the beginning of the final round, with Cole Janes winning at 103 pounds after the finals began with the 285-pound weight class.
Holt and Grand Ledge traded individual champions in the next two weight classes as the Rams’ Benny Gomez won at 112 pounds and Jay Jay Brickley won at 119 pounds for Grand Ledge.
But then Holt started to take control. Shaft said on Wednesday after the Rams beat the Comets that his middle weights had been supplying most of the damage in his lineup this season and they did once again.
Martin Rodriguez won with a pin at 125 pounds and Mino Trevino won a 10-6 decision over Dylan Steward of Grand Ledge at 130 pounds. Kolin Leyrer posted another win at 135 pounds over Grand Ledge’s Andrew Castenada.
Kyle Granger beat the Comets’ Tommy Cox by technical fall at 145 pounds and A.J. Pressley made it five Holt wins in six weight classes with a victory at 152 pounds.
The overall title had already been decided, but the best match came in the final at 215 pounds.
Tim Fischer of Holt was tied with Grand Ledge’s Aaron Riley as the clock wound down in the third two-minute period, but Fischer earned one point for an escape and then put the match away with a takedown in the final 10 seconds.
Fischer had pinned Riley on Wednesday when the two teams faced off in a heads-up match.
“Last year, he lost to Riley I think two or three times and it was at the end of the year and this was big for him,” Shaft said. “This was another big confidence booster for him.”
Still, the Comets put up a solid fight with a roster that had far less experience than the Rams.
“Our kids wrestled so much better than they did on Wednesday,” Grand Ledge coach Steve Delaney said. “We wrestled above and beyond today. For as young as we are — we’ve got three seniors in the lineup, I think Holt has seven or eight, maybe — so for as young as we are to be able to compete and be that close, I think next year the sky is the limit for us.”
Every school other than Jackson took an individual title. Eastern’s Jerek Crim won at 160 pounds, East Lansing’s Brian Darios won at 285, Sexton’s John Norton won at 171 and Okemos’ Malcolm Evans won at 140.
The win for Evans was the 100th of his varsity career. He improved to 36-4 on the season.
“It was more of an inspiration than it was pressure,” Evans said. “I just wanted the 100th win. I’ve worked really hard for it all four years.”