Clinton wins Onsted wrestling tournament

Mickey Alvarado

Clinton High School's varsity wrestling team. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

Clinton’s varsity wrestling team traveled to Onsted on Saturday, Dec. 12, and went 5-0 to place first in the team tournament. 
The Redskins started by defeating Quincy 74-0 and then beat White Pigeon 47-15. 
Webberville lost 72-4 to Clinton before the hosting Wildcats went down 72-3. 
In the final against Monroe-Jefferson, the match started with Clinton having to void 112-pounds, giving their opponents a 6-0 lead. 
At 119-pounds, freshman Noah Comar took a 18-3 win to set the score at 6-5. 
Clinton senior co-captain Evan Shovels started his third period at 125-pounds trailing 2-0. However, he rallied with two late takedowns to tie the score and then cap his comeback with a takedown in overtime to win 6-4 and give Clinton an 8-6 lead. 
Clinton junior Fletcher Mellinger lost at 130-pounds and gave Jefferson a 9-8 lead. 
Senior Nick LaCoss secured a win by injury default to give the Redskins a 14-9 lead they would not surrender. 
After a void to junior Jake Phillips at 140-pounds and a close loss by sophomore Eathan Hicks, Clinton led 20-12. 
Seniors Nick Rolland and David Chantelois took the mat and got a pin and win to push the lead to 29-12. 
Monroe-Jefferson didn’t give up and secured two back-to-back pins and followed with a close decision at 215-pounds to pull within two points at 29-27. 
Senior heavyweight Ethan Vaughn took the mat needing a pin to secure the win for the Redskins and he delivered at the 4:27 mark to push the meet out of reach with the score at 35-27. 
Jefferson closed the dual with a pin at 103-pounds to set the final 35-33 score. 
Going 5-0 were Clinton’s Shovels, LaCoss, Rolland, Vaughn and Comar. 
Jake Phillips went 4-1 for the day while Fletcher Mellinger, Eathan Hicks, Verneri Korkee, Trent Sexton and Austin Popp each added three wins.
Clinton opened the season at home on Wednesday, Dec. 9, and defeated both Michigan Center (54-15) and Manchester (37-36). Clinton coach Jeff Rolland said it was the first time the Redskins beat Manchester since 2005.
Wrestlers going 2-0 on the night were Comar, Phillips, Rolland, Chantelois, and Austin Popp. 
Coach Rolland said in a preseason interview that he expected his team leaders to include returners Rolland (152/160), a 41-match winner last season, Chantelois (152/160), a county champion, Popp (215/Hwt.), a state qualifier, and Vaughn (Hwt.), LaCoss (130/135) and Sexton (189/215), regional qualifiers. He also mentioned returner sophomore Hicks (140/145) as a potential standout as well as junior Phillips (135-140).
Last year the Redskins finished 19-11 after falling in district action. “That was disappointing for us,” said coach Rolland. “We return most everything and we filled a couple holes with some younger guys. So, we’re pretty excited about this year.”
In the 2013-2014 season, Clinton advanced to the state meet as a team for the first time. The Redskins closed the season with a loss to Hudson in the state quarterfinals.
While Rolland can’t predict if his team will advance again this season he said it certainly is a goal.
“It’s probably too early to get into that,” he said. “We have to go through Hudson, which is a pretty daunting task... It’s going to depend on how some of the younger guys fit in, freshmen and sophomores, and if those guys can come around quick and our seniors do what we hope they do, then, hopefully we’ll be in the mix in the end.”


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