Lutheran Westland’s wrestling team was almost the host with the most during Saturday’s six-team Warrior Invitational.
Fueled by MVP Caleb Richter’s 5-0 performance, the Warriors finished 4-1 in the team dual tournament, which was won by 5-0 Flat Rock.
The Warriors gave the Rams all they could handle in the final dual meet of the day before dropping a 44-28 decision.
Earlier in the day, Lutheran Westland upended Crestwood/Edsel Ford, 66-18; Redford Union, 40-33;, Southfield “B”, 75-6; and Dearborn Divine Child, 69-9.
Prior to the tournament, a moment of silence was held for former coach and the school’s wrestling program founder Dennis Tuomi, who passed away last fall.
Warriors head coach Joe Schmidt said he was proud of his team’s effort on Saturday.
“We had a lot of kids wrestled extremely well,” said Schmidt. “We kept it close against Flat Rock until the 171- and 189-pound matches, but we just didn’t have quite enough to stay with them.”
Richter was one of three Warriors to finish the day with a perfect 5-0 slate. Now 20-2, Richter pinned his state-ranked Flat Rock opponent in the 140-pound match. Overall, he notched four pins and one decision.
“Caleb’s work ethic and love for the sport are what make him so successful,” said Schmidt. “I can’t really pin-point his No. 1 strength; he does everything well.”
Lutheran Westland junior Wes Warren’s five wins at 152 and 160 included a fall against the Rams.
“I expected big things out of Wes this season,” Schmidt said. “He was having a great sophomore year until he got hurt toward the end of the season.”
Freshman Christian Zimmerman also sparkled for the Warriors, going 5-0 at 112 and 119. Zimmerman pinned all five of his foes.
Junior Andy Cross carved out a 4-0 mark at 160 and 171.
“Andy is a grinder,” said Schmidt. “He never quits, no matter what the situation is. If he gets you on your back, he’s going to pin you.”
Among the Warriors’ 4-1 competitors was 215-pound/heavyweight standout Thomas Krueger, who notched three pins and an impressive 4-0 victory over a tough Flat Rock opponent.
Also going 4-1 for the hosts were junior Manny Rankin (119 and 125), sophomore Andy Faith (125 and 130), senior Matt Parent (135) and senior Connor Even (145 and 152).
Freshmen Seth Lambart (112), Joshua Tuttle (119) and Nathan Ivy (152 and 160), and sophomore Nick Glinn (215) all went 2-0 for the Warriors.
Redford Union’s underclassmen-dominated squad turned in a stellar 3-2 day on Saturday, which pleased head coach Rob Rankin.
“We were wrestling a little more aggressive than we had been; we’re attacking more, which is something I’ve been stressing,” observed Rankin. “We’re going after take-downs and getting more points as a result.”
The Panthers’ victories came against Southfield “B”, Divine Child and Crestwood/Edsel Ford. They lost a narrow decision to Lutheran Westland and were upended by Flat Rock.
Freshman Isaac Grant earned MVP honors for the Panthers after pinning all five of his opponents at 189.
“Isaac wrestled in middle school and he put in a lot of work during the summer and the off-season,” said Rankin. “What he did was impressive considering he’s a freshman and he was wrestling in a grown-man’s weight class. A lot of his matches were against juniors and seniors.”
Also contending for RU’s MVP honors was freshman Blake Meyers, who chalked up a 5-0 record at 130 and 135. Meyers’ triumphant day included four pins and a void.
“Blake is very tenacious,” Rankin shared. “He knows what he knows and he goes after it. He knows how to finish his take-downs.”
Three Panthers excelled with 4-1 records: sophomore Larry Elliott (130 and 135), sophomore Bobby Dixon (171) and freshman Tavian Groves (152).
“Larry is phenomenal at getting in position,” noted Rankin. “Bobby had three pins, so he is really coming on.”
Rankin also heaped praise on junior James Beaubien, who had a solid day at 215 and 285.
“James was in every match,” said Rankin.