Eddies eliminated by Lakeshore in semifinals
Published 5:13 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023
EDWARDSBURG — Jesse Becraft and his Edwardsburg Eddies have faced more than their share of adversity on the wrestling mat this winter.
Despite having to battle numerous injuries and illnesses throughout the season, Edwardsburg still managed to compile a 15-6 record in dual meets.
Along the way the Eddies earned its fourth district crown in the past five years before losing 48-22 in Wednesday’s Division 2 Team Regional semifinal match at home to Lakeshore.
Lakeshore (20-5) ended up beating Richland-Gull Lake 39-30 in the finals. Gull Lake defeated Jackson County Parma Western in the other semifinal, 46-30.
Lakeshore advances to the state quarterfinals at Wings-Events Center in Kalamazoo on Friday, Feb. 24.
After winning the coin flip, the Lancers were able to get the favorable matchups and the momentum.
“I thought we could win matches at 165 and heavyweight, but Lakeshore ended up winning them both. That was a really big point swing right there,” Becraft said. “It’s not those kids’ fault. It’s just that we’re a little inexperienced at those weights without a lot of mat time.”
The Eddies were also missing senior starter Brenden Seabolt (175) who tore his ACL a couple weeks ago.
Edwardsburg posted victories in four of the first seven matches while building an early 22-9 advantage.
Eddies’ senior 144-pounder Andrew Castelucci fell 5-0 to Braedyn Bary in the night’s opening bout. The Eddies’ Colten Strawderman then pinned Dustin Piehl in 3:06 at 150. Edwardsburg’s Carson Eaton (157) dropped a 11-4 decision against Luke Ponton.
Lakeshore’s Andrew Grau pinned Edwardsburg junior Zach Zache (165) in 3:56.
Edwardsburg senior Nathan Andrina (175) earned his 100th career win after he pinned Zach Meachum with 0:37 left in the first period.
“This is definitely something I’ve worked hard for. I’ve done a lot of training. Because of Covid, I only wrestled 12 matches my sophomore year so I had to work a little harder to reach 100 wins. I’m real happy the work paid off,” Andrina said.
Andrina is one of six Eddies to advance to compete in Saturday’s individual regionals at Jackson Northwest.
“Nathan has been tough his entire career. Getting just six wins his sophomore makes reaching 100 wins even more impressive. He’s a leader on our team and a returning all-state wrestler. We look for some big things out of him these next couple weeks,” Becraft said.
Also qualifying are Caden Manfred (113), Keegan Parsons (126), Strawderman, Austin Mark (190) and A.J. Harris (215).
Mark (190) topped Lakeshore’s Logan Niccum by major 16-6 decision. Edwardsburg’s Harris (215) won by pinfall over Andrew Byerle in 0:38.
The momentum, however, quickly swung in Lakeshore’s direction with the Lancers earning wins in the final seven matches.
The Eddies’ Jaylin Bowden-McClair (285); Brady Halfman (106); Manfred (113) and Taurin Zimpleman (120) all lost by pinfall.
Lakeshore’s Logan Boyle caught McClair in 1:11. Joelen Coyer pinned Halfman in 2:20. Brady Baker stuck Manfred in 3:54 and Zippleman was pinned by Vernon Riggins in 0:41.
Eddies’ sophomore Christian Peacock (126) lost 5-2 to Brady Muha. Edwardsburg’s Parsons (132) fell to Jo’Waun Wilson 6-4.
Edwardsburg forfeited the night’s final match to Lakeshore’s Aaron Lucio (138).
Becraft stated his group of 11 seniors will be missed.
“Our seniors are a great group of kids who work hard and have overcome a lot this season and these last four years. Injuries derailed a few of them but they’ve come around to finish strong,” Becraft said.
Despite coming up short, Becraft is incredibly proud of how his team battle through a tough schedule and all the injuries.
“We’ve overcame a lot of adversity to get to where we are. With a ton of injuries, health issues and other things beyond our control, I still thought we fought hard the entire year. I’m incredibley proud of these kids,” Becraft said.
Scott Hassinger is a contributor to Leader Publications.