Updated: Bobcats close out regular season with easy victory

Brandywine’s Ryan Buchar pins New Buffalo-Bridgman’s Ben Mercer Wednesday. (Leader photo/RON HARNER)

Brandywine’s Ryan Buchar pins New Buffalo-Bridgman’s Ben Mercer Wednesday. (Leader photo/RON HARNER)

Brandywine is ready to kick into postseason gear after a regular season that saw the Bobcats are face some of Michigan’s high-octane high school wrestling squads.

“We’re peaking at the right time of the season,” Brandywine coach Rex Pomranka said after watching Sam Burge (189), Alex Shell (171), Garrett Lerner (160), Ryan Buchar (145) and Kaci Lintz (130) win for Brandywine on the mat Wednesday, Feb. 3, in a 53-18 BCS Conference dual win against visiting New Buffalo. “We strive every year to get everybody firing on all cylinders at the end of the season. It doesn’t matter how we start at the beginning of the year.”

Next up for Brandywine is the BCS Conference Championships Saturday, Feb. 6, at Brandywine, team district Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Eau Claire (the Bobcats meet the winner of Eau Claire vs. River Valley), and individual district Saturday, Feb. 13, at Cassopolis.

As is the custom for the Cats, the first two weekends of the regular season saw them face five ranked opponents (Climax, Decatur, Schoolcraft, Springport and Manchester).

“Those are pretty good programs,” Pomranka said. “We wrestle tougher competition and that pays off at the end of the year for our kids.”

Against New Buffalo, Pomranka watched his aggressive Bobcats win in less than an hour.

Burge had a first-period takedown and started on top in the second period before booking a pin in 2:34.

Burge is No. 10 at 171 in Michigan Grappler’s Week 7 Division 4 rankings. Honorable mentions are Brandywine’s Michael Kachur (119) and Jesse Lochmundy (135), who both received forfeits Wednesday.

“The kids tell me about those rankings,” Pomranka said. “Those are nice, but the ranking we care about is at the end of the year on the podium. We’re striving at getting everybody to state.

“After the weekend, we’ll talk about ‘loading the bus’ (on the way through the state tournament series). That’s our mentality. That’s been working for several years and the kids are buying into it.

“Our kids are going out aggressive and that’s what we ask our kids to do. Take it to them and don’t sit back.”

Team Regional Feb. 17 at New Lothrop and Individual Regional Feb. 20 at Bronson.

Team State Finals Feb. 26-27 at Central Michigan University’s McGuirk Arena in Mt. Pleasant and Individual State Finals March 3-5 at The Place of Auburn Hills.

Also Wednesday, Shell held a 5-0 advantage through the first period and tallied a second-period escape and takedown on the way to an 8-0 lead before getting a late third-period pin.

Lerner pounced off the opening whistle with a headlock and posted a 29-second pin.

A late reversal allowed Buchar to lead 3-2 at the end of the first period and led 5-3 before producing a second-round pin.

Lintz racked up two takedowns, a reversal and nine near-fall points on the way to a 15-0 technical fall victory.

J.R. Sheriff (285), Josh Kaminski (215), Nate Paholik (140) and Rickie Williams (125) triumphed for New Buffalo on the mat.

After a scoreless first two periods, Sheriff put up an escape and takedown in the third period to win 3-0.

Paholik led a 2-1 at the close of the first period, scored seven second-period points and won a 9-6 decision.

Kaminski and Williams both earned first-period pins.
BRANDYWINE 53, NEW BUFFALO 18

At Brandywine High School

103:  Searra Inman (BW) wins by forfeit; 112: Double forfeit; 119: Michael Kachur (BW) by forfeit; 125: Rickie Williams (NB) p. Dallas Fahey 1:11; 130: Kaci Lintz (BW) t.f. over Trent Hoffman 15-0; 135: Jesse Lochmundy (BW) wins by forfeit; 140: Nate Paholik (NB) d. Corbin Eckenberger 9-6; 145: Ryan Buchar (BW) p. Ben Mercer 3:29; 152: Peyton Pruitt (BW) or Jacob Kimbrough (BW) wins by forfeit; 160: Garrett Lerner (BW) p. John Wohler :29; 171: Alex Shell (BW) p. Jonah Bussa 5:59; 189: Sam Burge (BW) p. Jim Butler 2:34; 215: Josh Kaminski (NB) p. Joshua Jones :28; 285: J.R. Sheriff (NB) d.. Aaron Casto 3-0.

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