Small steps forward
Alcona sees some success in first home meet
LINCOLN–Wednesday was a night of firsts for the Alcona wrestling program.
The Tigers hosted their first meet as a program, two Alcona wrestlers earned the program’s first dual meet wins and several Tiger grapplers wrestled their first varsity matches.
Added all up it was a successful night for Alcona coach Jeff Dameworth and his program as the Tigers hosted Onaway and Rogers City, two storied local programs with plenty of success under their belts.
Alcona won just four matches all night, all by forefit, but more importantly most of the Tigers’ roster finally got some on-the-mat experience.
At this point, it’s all about taking steps forward as a first-year program and Wednesday was filled with excitement as Alcona’s grapplers took to the brand new mat–emblazed with Alcona on the sides and with a big Tiger logo in the middle–in black singlets with Alcona written on the side as well as yellow and blue headgear.
“They did good. They were super nervous in the first match, being at home, but by the second match they were sayng ‘I feel better now and I’ll get better,'” Dameworth said. “I told them there’s no need to be discouraged. We’re brand new. Yes, losing (isn’t fun), but it will get better and they’re willing to work.”
Jasmine Magalski (130) earned the distinction of earning Alcona’s first individual dual-meet victory, picking up a pair of wins by forefit as did Noah Mercer (heavyweight).
Alcona’s grapplers struggled in their opening dual with Onaway, losing 60-12 and lasting a combined 2:16 on the mat in four matches. But the Tigers faced some tough competition right away as Slava Belychenko (171) and David Williams (160) faced off against Seth Enos and Brendan Fenstermaker, two wrestlers who both won district titles last season and were pinned in 29 and 40 seconds respectively.
In all, six of the eight opponents Alcona faced on the night were district qualifiers last season and four of them finished in the top four of their respective weight classes in districts.
Fallon Hux (152) was pinned by Blake Decker in 17 seconds and Jaycee Grulke (189) was pinned by Alex Arkwood in 50 seconds.
The Tigers fared better and extended their matches a little longer against Rogers City, ultimately falling 42-12.
Williams fared the best in the fourth matches that were wrestled, lasting 2:08 against Anthony Paull before being pinned. Hux was pinned by Jacob Pomranke in 1:13; Belychenko was pinned by Austin Bielas in 1:34 and Grulke was pinned by Clayton Henry in 55 seconds.
First-time struggles were to be expected from Alcona and several of the Tigers’ opponents offered words of encouragement at the end of matches.
“Those are two very good programs were wrestled and I know the kids will get better,” Dameworth said. “They’re willing to work hard and that’s encouraging.”
In addition to the three varsity duals held on Wednesday, Alcona hosted more than two dozen youth wrestling matches, which were well-recieved by fans and the wrestlers alike.
“They didn’t want to stop. I had several wrestlers asking me if they could have another match, so I was very happy about that,” Damewrth said. “The support tonight was great to see. I was kind of nervous about it, but it was great to see all the parents come in and watch.”
Rogers City edged Onaway 30-24 in the night’s first varsity dual. Rogers City got victories from Caden Fenstermaker (112), Hayden Hentkowski (103), Isaac Hein (145), Bielas (152), Paull (171) and Henry (189).
“I felt like we came to wrestle and all the boys came to wrestle,” Rogers City coach Rob Kortman said.