By Brendan McMahon | 1/11/17 8:48pm
The Grand Valley State men's club wrestling team concluded the semester by splitting two duals hosted by Davenport University Sunday, Dec. 18.
The Lakers first dual of the day was against Calumet College (Indiana), a severely inferior opponent. The Lakers won the vast majority of the bouts only allowing Calumet College points from forfeits.
Sophomore Kyle Benkarski and senior Harun Bogdanic were key contributors late in the dual, putting it well out of reach with their performances. The Lakers ended up beating Calumet College handily 40-12.
"We rolled right through them," said junior Nick Reddy. "We wrestled really well from top to bottom and the score showed that."
The Lakers were just getting warmed up for a much more challenging dual against Davenport University. Although they are a relatively new club, they do not lack strength and competitiveness.
Davenport got out to an early 18-6 lead. Dylan Dwyer, a freshman and No. 1 ranked wrestler in his weight class (157-pounds), narrowed the lead by winning a bout with multiple takedowns.
Kasey Garvelink | Grand Valley Lanthorn
GVL / Archive Trenton Hunt holds his opponent during the club wrestling match on Saturday Feb. 6, 2016 in Allendale, MI.
The effort was too little too late, as Davenport would go on to win 31-20, in what was considered by players and coaches, one of the most frustrating losses of the season.
"We had a lot of people out of the lineup that day," Reddy said. "Had they not been, the result likely would have been different."
A few of the Lakers' key contributors were not at the event. This event was not originally on the schedule, but was added late. With inclement weather and the semester ending, certain wrestlers could not compete, resulting in numerous forfeits for the Lakers.
The forfeits, which were an afterthought versus Calumet, haunted the Lakers against Davenport.
"Even though it looks like an individual sport, it's very much a team sport," said GVSU coach Rick Bolhuis. "It's hard to win without contributions in all weight classes."
Bolhuis was frustrated with the forfeits but happy with the way the wrestlers that were there competed, especially Reddy, who was put in a tough position against Davenport.
Reddy was winning the match by a wide margin, but knew he had to attempt some riskier moves to gain more points to make up for the forfeits. Reddy ended up getting pinned, which resulted in Davenport claiming an unreachable lead.
"It would have been a whole new meet if we had all of our guys," Dwyer said. "I definitely believe we were the better team."
The Lakers ended the first semester with a 7-3 record and find themselves ranked No. 5 in the NCWA according to TheOpenMat.com rankings.
The Lakers are focusing their attention onto the second semester of competition. Bolhuis is confident in his wrestlers' abilities to compete at a national level, but first he must solve his team's attendance problem for the Lakers to reach their full potential.
"As long as we stay focused and work hard, we have a chance to compete for a national title," Reddy said.
The Lakers will be back in action Sunday, Jan. 15 at the GVSU Fieldhouse.