By Robert Tomlinson
KALAMAZOO — In one of the most unusual endings to a match possible, Constantine’s wrestling team is off to the semifinals after their opponents from Clinton were disqualified.
The Falcons were down 23-18 to the Red Wolves going into the 190-pound match when they sent out Gregg Reed to take the mat, while Clinton’s 215-pound wrestler then checked in. The match began; however, the whistle blew just one second in to stop the match. After a lengthy discussion between officials and the scorer’s table, it was determined that because the match had begun, Clinton had an ineligible wrestler.
Per MHSAA rules, Clinton was disqualified, sending the Falcons to the semifinals in a way head coach Dale Davidhizar didn’t necessarily want.
“It was a wacky finish. It’s not how we want to win; If we want to win, then we really want to earn it,” Davidhizar said. “We still had two horses left, we had Troy Demas left at 215 and we had Bennett Vandenberg at heavyweight. We pin in those two weight classes, the dual’s over anyway.”
The final score of the match will go down as a 1-0 forfeit in favor of Constantine.
Starting off the match, the Falcons were off to a good start, getting a pin by Preston Like at 120 pounds over Clinton’s Brenden Benschoter with 52 seconds left in the third period. However, Clinton won the next four matches, defeating Constantine by decision at 126 (6-3 over Bear Geibe) and 132 (11-7 over Collin Featherstone), by major decision at 138 (14-0 over Michael Featherstone) and a pin at 144 against Skyler Locker in the first period. Down 16-6, Constantine got back on the board with a pin by Brody Jones at 150 pounds to be down 16-12.
After a major decision loss by Carter Godfrey 12-0 at 157 and decision loss by Dathan Smith 3-0 at 165, Julian Hawthorne got a first-period pin over Clinton’s Landon Lakatos at 175 pounds, setting the stage for the awkward finish to the dual.
Constantine will have a tough test Saturday at noon back at Wings Event Center, facing off with top-ranked Dundee in the state semifinals, who defeated No. 8 Hart in the quarterfinals Friday, 64-15. Whoever wins that matchup will face the winner of No. 2 Algonac and No. 3 Whitehall in the state finals at 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
“Tonight, we’ll enjoy ourselves a bit, but I’m gonna tell the kids we still got work to do. We got business tomorrow,” Davidhizar said. “Dundee is a horse, but we’re gonna come at them swinging. We’re not gonna lay down for anybody.”
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or email@example.com.