Sturgis produced a trio of top-four finishes at Saturday’s Division 2 individual wrestling district at Vicksburg.
In his second year wrestling, sophomore Anthony Neal is moving on to the regional round for the first time after claiming third at 160 pounds. A first-round bye pitted him against St. Joseph’s Alex Gould in the quarterfinals. Neal dug deep for a pin late in the third period to set up a semifinals clash with ninth-ranked Shawn Brew of Three Rivers.
Brew bested Neal in a 2-1 battle, but Neal came back through the consolation bracket with a 5-0 decision against Edwardsburg in the blood round and 10-0 major decision against Coldwater’s Sam DeMeester in the third-place match.
“I feel like I wrestled really well,” said Neal, who is now 29-10. “There was great competition but I fell short by one point to [Brew] and after that the best I could do was third, so I went out there and wrestled to the best of my abilities.”
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Fellow sophomore Luke Carver posted a third-place finish at 152 pounds after entering the tournament with a 36-5 record. It was a busy day filled with five matches, including first- and second-round victories by technical fall.
Carver lost a 4-3 decision to Battle Creek Central’s Kenny Grayer in the championship semifinals, forcing him to take on Vicksburg’s Hayden Waterhouse in the blood round. Carver won by pin in 3:26 and went on to beat Edwardsburg’s Joey Hess by technical fall the consolation finals.
Senior Austin Smith fought through all the turbulence the 130-pound bracket offered Saturday with a fourth-place finish. He beat Coldwater’s Zack Horter by pin (3:07) in the opening round and Mattawan’s Hunter Cochrane by fall in 4:41 in the quarterfinals.
Smith ran into Darek Bullock-Mills (Niles) in the semis and got stuck in 4:43 to slip into the consolation gauntlet. With a blood-round victory over Edwardsburg’s Keathley Marks (pin in 4:49), Smith lost to Parma-Western’s Chase Veydt 7-3 in the third-place bout.
“It was a pretty tough day,” said Smith, who now boasts a 31-11 record. “I had some good competition, but overall I couldn’t be happier.”