Linden – Jared Callahan wasn’t in the mood for celebrating.
Sure, he and his Holly varsity wrestling teammates had just finished beating Linden and Fenton in two key Metro League duals with himself earning the clinching victory on the mat, but he spent half of his “celebration” time over a garbage can hoping he didn’t have to use it.
Callahan (125) was ill and probably didn’t feel like wrestling at all. However, the senior was able to defeat Linden’s Ethan Soff by a 4-1 decision to put the Bronchos up 34-22 with only two matches left in the dual. When Griffin Rose (130) earned a forfeit victory seconds later, the Bronchos were on their way to a 44-22 victory, earning Holly an 8-0 Metro League dual meet record. Holly also defeated Fenton 44-30 in the night’s first dual at Linden High School. Linden had to beat Fenton in the middle dual to have a chance to tie Holly in the Metro League standings in the final dual. The Eagles did just that, beating Fenton 49-30. However, the loss to Holly put the Eagles at 6-2 in the Metro, a pretty decent distance behind the Eagles entering today’s Metro League meet. All the Bronchos have to do is take second at Saturday’s Metro meet and they will have assured themselves of their second straight outright Metro League title.
“This team put me on their back and I thought it was time for me to take charge,” Callahan said. “I may be sick, but we have worked our butts off in the room and they worked their butts off today. I wanted to prove to everyone that I can work my butt off today even when I’m sick. We all work as a team. We are 8-0 in the Metro League and we can go in and win a championship (today).”
The three teams at Friday’s dual at Linden High School have proven themselves to be the top three teams in league play, making the event a pretty entertaining affair among the three rivals. However, it seemed in both Holly matches, the Bronchos ended up the stronger program in many critical matches. Against Linden, the Bronchos trailed at one time 16-6, but it took four wins for Linden to get those 16 points, meaning even when they lost, Holly wrestlers were making it tough to earn big victories.
After a Wyatt Gocha (171) victory against Holly’s Tyler Hild, the Bronchos went on a three-match win streak of their own, but each were strong victories. Colton Steele (189) won by void, enabling Cade Dallwitz (215) to give the Bronchos the lead for good with a pinfall win against Colton Powell. Holly’s Blake Querio (285) earned a major decision win against Preston Parker and Holly led 22-16.
Linden earned one more tie score when Michael Lescelius (103) earned a void victory, making it 22-all, but Holly won each of the final five matches to earn the win. Andrew Kolman (112) earned a tech fall victory against Linden’s Adelia Carr and Brian James (119) earned a major decision against Linden’s Kennedi Gocha. Callahan followed with the match-clinching win. Nate Young (135) earned Holly its final victory when he earned a major decision win against Caleb White.
Early on, Jacob Gonzales (140) gave Holly a 6-0 lead with a pinfall win against Jaylon Berry, but then Linden’s Mitchell Kerr (145) earned a decision win against Jeff Preston and Linden’s Jimmy Roti (152) earned a major decision win against Garrett VanGilder. Linden led 7-6, and the lead grew when Uzziah Delgado (160) earned a pinfall win against Holly’s Scott Hermann followed by Wyatt Gocha’s (171) 2-1 decision win against Holly’s Tyler Hild. Linden had its 16-6 lead, but it wouldn’t last.
“It’s big. It’s sweet,” Dallwitz said of the undefeated Metro League dual record. “We know we can relax a little bit, but we still have to push ourselves (today). It was a whole team effort, everyone. Guys knowing they needed pins, got pins. People knowing they couldn’t get pinned, didn’t get pinned.”
Callahan would love to see the team parlay the 8-0 record into a league title today.
“(Winning back-to-back) Metro League titles would mean the world to me,” Callahan said. “Not everyone gets to win one much less get a chance to have the possibility of winning them back-to-back. It just means a lot.”
Against Fenton, Holly clinched the win when Kolman (112) defeated Ella Turnblom by fall in the third-to-last match. With Holly leading 44-18 at that point, the Bronchos voided the final two matches to allow their wrestlers to rest up for Linden.
Gonzales (135/140), Steele (189/215), Dallwitz (189/215), Querio , Kolman and Young (130/135) earned 2-0 nights for Holly.
Linden won its match against Fenton by winning nine of the 14 matches, including earning pinfall wins by Roti (152), Delgado (160), Wyatt Gocha (171), Parker (285), Lescelius (112) and Soff. Others winning matches for Linden against Fenton were White by forfeit, Kerr by major decision and Powell (215) by decision .
“We were very happy with the performances of most of our guys,” Linden varsity wrestling coach Kyle Summerfield said. “We battled our butts off. But I have to give credit to (Holly varsity wrestling coach) Don (Pluta) and Holly. They wrestled well. … They won the swing matches.”
Fenton’s winners against Holly were Jayden Rittenbury (145) by pinfall; Trey Hale (119), Luke Thornton (125) and Kendra Ryan (103) by forfeit; and Dalton Wagner (171) and Mario Ramirez (152) by decision.
The Tigers’ victors against Linden were Rittenbury, Hale and Thornton by fall; and Ryan and Blake Baird (189) by forfeit.
“I thought we battled hard in the first dual against Holly and we had some moments against Linden,” Fenton wrestling coach Brad Beverly said. “We are not there yet, but I’m proud of the effort, for the most part, of our kids. … Linden and Holly are the two best teams in the league right now, and they showed it today.”
Holly’s winners against Fenton were Young, Gonzales, Querio and Kolman by pinfall; Charlie Curtis (140) by forfeit; Dallwitz and Steele by technical fall; and Hermann by major decision.
“Our goal is the same as it always is,” Pluta said. “We want to win the tournament, be league champs outright and go from there.”