Allegan wrestling gets past Otsego, falls to Lakewood

By: 
Leo Martonosi

It wasn’t that long ago that Allegan was not only the top wrestling power in the Wolverine Conference, but also a state power under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Murray Rose.
Rose, who coached the Tigers for more than 30 years, retired following the 2017 season and second-year coach Phillip Joseph is trying to get the Tigers back to that level.
Longtime Otsego coach Brian Spark remembers some tough battles with Rose’s teams.
“We lost to them three times by one point,” Sparks said after his team lost 54-22 to the Tigers on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Having seven voids like the Bulldogs did versus the Tigers didn’t help matters for Otsego.
“We’ve been hit hard with injuries and some kids who came out but decided to quit,” Sparks said.
Otsego actually held its own in the contested matches, taking four of the seven bouts.
“I feel sorry for Brian,” Joseph said,” Like so many coaches in the Wolverine Conference and in the state, he puts his heart and soul into a very demanding sport.”
Sparks likes what Joseph is doing.
“He’s got his kids believing they can win again,” Joseph said.
Sparks, Joseph and their wrestlers have to work twice as hard these days now in the county now that Plainwell has come on like gangbusters.
“Those guys have really been coming on.” Sparks said. “They’ve worked their tails off to get their kids to believe in what they are teaching.”
Three of Otsego’s wrestlers—Dayman Southerland (103), Josh Sunnerville (125) and Jakob Slater (285)—went 2-0 for the evening as the Bulldogs also fell to Colon..
The Tigers gave it everything they had in the win over Otsego and the loss to top-ranked Lakewood.
“No complaints, “Joseph said. “Our guys wrestled hard and wanted to win. We just came up short against two good teams.”
Allegan’s Tristan Mohrland (160), Tyson Mead (152) and Tyson Emmons (135) each went 2-0.
“All of our guys wrestled up to the best of their ability,” Joseph said.
The two officials working the double dual meet—Hamilton graduates Marv and Dan Heasley—were impressed with the performances of the four teams that clashed in the eye-catching Allegan gymnasium.
“This is a beautiful gym. It was easy to tell that the kids here that wrestled couldn’t wait to get on the mat,” Marv Heasley said.

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