Pelham is runner-up at state
One of Tecumseh High School’s best individual high school wrestling careers of the past nine years came to an end on Saturday, March 1, at the Palace of Auburn Hills with heavyweight Preston Pelham finishing runner-up behind Chris Hendricks of Fruitport.
Hendricks, also a senior (45-1), defeated Pelham with a 6-3 decision in a hard-fought battle, for the second time this season. He handed Pelham (55-2) his only two losses this year.
Pelham was down 2-0 after the first period and 4-0 late in the second period before setting the score at 4-3 early in the third. Hendricks scored a two-point takedown to set the score at 6-3 with less than a minute remaining and held on for the big win.
But the very physical match wasn’t without controversy. Pelham had to have his head wrapped due to head-to-head contact and had a point deducted for what the referee deemed as head butting.
With just four seconds remaining in the first period, Hendricks scored a takedown and went into the second period up 2-0. Between the periods Pelham’s head was wrapped due to blood found on his forehead.
Hendricks increased his lead to 3-0 in the second period and then 4-0 when a technical was called on Pelham for excessive head contact with 29 seconds left in the second. After the call Pelham was sent to the sideline to have his head rewrapped.
In the third and final period Pelham scored a point and was awarded a point with Hendricks called for locking his hands. Pelham was also given a point by Hendricks to start out in the neutral standing position with approximately three minutes remaining in the match. Hendricks scored a takedown to end all scoring with 45 second on the clock.
The team’s assistant coaches, George Lesko and Nick Conklin were in the corner for the championship match. Tecumseh’s head coach, Josh Lindeman, watched from the sideline.
The last time the Indians sent a wrestler to the championship bout was in 2011 when Jeff Jenkins competed at 130-pounds and finished runner-up.
The last time Tecumseh recorded individual state titles was in 2005 with Chris Jenkins winning at 130-pounds and John Ahern placing first at heavyweight.