Glenn wins NEMC for second straight year
Andrew Funsch becomes third 4-time champion
WEST BRANCH — John Glenn wrapped up its second straight North East Michigan Conference title Saturday, winning nine individual league titles to complement its unbeaten regular-season league dual meet mark to outdistance second-place Pinconning. Though the Bobcats won their first league title last season, this was the first time Glenn won the NEMC tournament title.
The Bobcats ran up 206.5 points to Pinny's 178.5, followed by Ogemaw Heights (152.5), Whittemore-Prescott (78) and Standish-Sterling (52).
At the individual level, Ogemaw Heights' Andrew Funsch became just the third wrestler in NEMC history to win four career league titles, while Pinny's Adam Pawelski and Glenn's Brandon Wrzesinski each won their third.
It was Glenn, though, that walked away with the team tournament and league titles, a sweep that escaped the Bobcats last year.
"I'm very happy," said Bobcat coach Jerry LaFlure. "To do this with the group we had today, we overcame some adversity. We had two guys who weren't on time for the bus, and we have a rule ... we just had to grit our teeth and leave.
"But the 12 guys we brought all placed (in the top three)."
Glenn advanced eight wrestlers to league title matches and went 8-1 in those bouts, outduelling Pinny, which was 5-2 in championship matches. Ogemaw Heights had a shot at the tournament title but was just 1-7 in championship matches.
Winning for Glenn were Zach Hughes (103 pounds), Alex Albaugh (112), Kooper Martinez (125), Dennis LaPan (152), Devin McCulloh (160), Ryan LaFlure (171), Brandon Wrzesinski (189) and Nick Moore (189). Steve Guigar (119) took while Aaron Harveli (130), Bruce Rau (145) and Larry Williams (285) finished third.
"Last year we were kind of banged up, and we didn't want a repeat of that," Jerry LaFlure said. "We had a dual this week we sent our B team to so we could keep guys healthy, and it paid off. The kids just gave a great effort on the mat and had great attitudes."
Pinny coach Wayne Purtell had little to complain about as the Spartans had seven in title matches and were 3-0 in third-place bouts.
"The kids performed well," he said. "We needed to get more kids to the finals than Glenn did, but that didn't happen. They didn't slip up."
Adam Pawelski (119), Tyler Wieland (130), Seth Haas (140), Charles Burch (145) and Coty Swinson (285) won titles for the Spartans. Arthur Espitia (103) and Taylor Pomaville (112) took runner-up spots while Mark Walworth (125), Tyler Espitia (135), Brian Hardy (152), Colton Lucynski (160), and John Stark (171) finished third.
Ogemaw's big highlight was Funsch's fourth league title. Only Gladwin's Adam Manninen (1998-2001) and Pinny's Kyle Woodruff (2003-6 and a current Spartan assistant coach) had achieved that previously.
"He works hard and wants to please," said Ogemaw coach Craig Funsch, Andrew's father and whose older son, Josh, won three individual titles and was part of the Falcons' state championship squad in 1998. "I can't count how many matches he watched between Josh and (when Craig Funsch coached) at Whittemore.
"Josh gives him a lot of critique, too. He's done pretty well."
The Falcons, as a team, didn't have much luck in medal-round matches. Second-place finishers were Chris Hebert (125), Aaron Dougherty (130), Kyle Scott (140), Michael Lentz (145), Alex Kimball (160), Anthony Carollo (189) and Josh Burton (215). Drew Dukaj (103) and Taylor Little (215) finished third.
Lentz's semifinal victory was the 100th of his career.
"We can't send eight kids to the finals, have only one win and expect to win a championship," Funsch said. "Somewhere we're not doing something right. It's how we've been all year; we'll get kids through to the finals and only have a couple of them perform well. It's almost like we're just happy to be there.
"We have a lot of inexperienced kids, even some of the older ones like Carollo. They're getting better, but you can see the inexperience in those key matches."
Whittemore-Prescott improved on last year's last-place finish, advancing three to the finals. Chance Rattie (135), Scott Garnett (152) and Koeddie Prince (285) each took second place while Ella Manyen (112) and Greg Draves (140) took third.
Standish-Sterling's youthful team was shorthanded as well as medal contender Jacob Bialobrzeski and defending champ Machylle Porter were nursing injuries. Jesse and James Bashor were the Panthers' lone medalists, with James (171) taking second and Jesse (189) finishing third.
District tournament competition begins this week, with team duals taking place Wednesday and Thursday. Pinny hosts Division 3 and opens against Standish-Sterling on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at home.
Whittemore-Prescott hosts a Division 4 district on Thursday, Feb. 19, and takes on the winner of the Mio vs. Clare semifinal.
Ogemaw Heights travels to Mt. Pleasant for a Division 2 district on Thursday, while John Glenn is at Arthur Hill for another Division 2 tourney.
2009 NEMC Medalists
1. Zachary Hughes, JG
2. Arthur Espitia, PIN
3. Drew Dukaj, OH
1. Alex Albaugh, JG
2. Taylor Pomaville, OH
3. Ella Manyen, WP
1. Adam Pawelski, PIN
2. Steve Guigar, JG
3. Ashley Hebert, OH
1. Kooper Martinez, JG
2. Chris Hebert, OH
3. Mark Walworth, PIN
1. Tyler Wieland, PIN
2. Aaron Dougherty, OH
3. Aaron Harvell, JG
1. Andrew Funsch, OH
2. Chance Rattie, WP
3. Tyler Espitia, PIN
1. Seth Haas, PIN
2. Kyle Scott, OH
3. Greg Draves, WP
1. Charles Burch, PIN
2. Michael Lentz, OH
3. Bruce Rau, JG
1. Dennis LaPan, JG
2. Scott Garnett, WP
3. Brian Hardy, PIN
1. Devin McCulloh, JG
2. Alex Kimball, OH
3. Colton Lucynski, PIN
1. Ryan LaFlure, JG
2. James Bashor, SSC
3. John Stark, PIN
1. Brandon Wrzesinski, JG
2. Anthony Carollo, OH
3. Jesse Bashor, SSC
1. Nick Moore, JG
2. Koeddie Prince, WP
3. Taylor Little, OH
1. Coty Swinson, PIN
2. Josh Burton, OH
3. Larry Williams, JG