Lessons in defeat

Alpena gains confidence despite losses in home quad

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena's Matt Barrett (top) wrestles Petoskey's Dawson Gregory in a 145-pound match during a quad meet at Alpena High School on Wednesday.

The Alpena High wrestling team didn’t earn wins on Wednesday, but the Wildcats are hopeful that with four weeks before team districts, they gained a shot of confidence at the right time.

Alpena lost to Petoskey 60-22 and to Oscoda 45-31 during a quad meet at Alpena High School. The Wildcats struggled mightily out of the gate against Petoskey, but finished the night with a solid effort against the Owls.

“Oscoda, we came out a lot better. Against Petoskey we came out flat; just came out like we didn’t want to wrestle, like we didn’t know what we were doing,” Alpena coach Matt Hepburn said. “When we wrestled Oscoda–they’ve got the same level of talent as Petoskey–we just came out better. We came out strong and we came out to wrestle.”

The Wildcats took an early lead against Oscoda and wrestled hard, but lost some close matches down the stretch. Dominque Agar (135) won 10-0 and Izaack Patterson (140) earned a pin in 2:55. A fast start by Patterson earned him five points before he pinned Oscoda’s Elijah Williams to give Alpena a 13-12 lead.

Matt Barrett (145) earned a 13-second pin and Josiah Matuzak (152) nearly went wire-to-wire in his match before earning a pin with 27 seconds left in the third period.

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena's Izaack Patterson, top, wrestles Petoskey's Peter Kubowski in a 140-pound match.

With a 25-12 lead, Alpena got off to a good start, but the Owls proved to be resilient. Alpena’s Darin Lucaroni (160) was pinned in 1:37 and Wyatt Romero (171) was pinned in 2:57 to trim Alpena’s lead to one, 25-24.

Oscoda took the lead after Arthur Paad (189) was pinned in 3:28 and also earned wins at 215, 285 and 112 pounds.

A pin by Alpena’s Kilee Fender (103) in 2:37 made it 39-31, but it proved to be Alpena’s last win.

“She came up huge with a pin at the end. That was huge out of her, seeing her coming alive and seeing her wrestle,” Hepburn said of Fender.

Nate Harbson (215) had one of the closest and most intense matches of the night for the Wildcats. Wrestling Oscoda’s Jimmy Hohl, Harbson came out on the offensive, but ultimately lost 6-4. Harbson trailed 5-2 after two periods and got a late takedown, but ran out of time to rally back.

“Nate Harbson, he’s a first year senior. He’s a solid kid. I wish he wasn’t a senior, I wish he was a freshman; I wish I had three more years with him,” Hepburn said. “He’s a senior and he kept on trying to push and he kept battling until the end.”

Heidi Garant earned a pin for the Wildcats in an exhibition after the quad and Alec Zielaskowski was pinned in his exhibition match.

The Wildcats couldn’t get much going against Petoskey and only won four matches. Bruno Mucciante (112) earned a pin in 1:11; Rose Cornelius (125) earned a void win; Barrett (145) won 15-3 and Noah Connon (285) earned a pin in 3:41.

Barrett’s win made it 24-16 early in the match, but Alpena didn’t score another win until Connon’s pin.

Oscoda defeated Onaway 48-36 and Petoskey defeated Onaway 50-21 in the quad’s other matches.

Brittany Wolgast (112), Joey Galvez (119) and Teddy Peters (130) all earned pinfall wins for Onaway against Petoskey and Matt Grant (135) also had a win.

Aidan Fry (103), Galvez (119), Peters (130), Grant (140) and Seth Enos (145) all had pitfalls wins for the Cardinals against Oscoda and Brendan Fenstermaker (152) earned a void win.