Fennville drops pair of league matches
Steve Fries, 29, and his younger brother Mike, 26, are starting to see the benefits of their hard work pay off.
“We started the season with 24 wrestlers and still have around 20, which is an all-time high since we’ve been coaching together for the past nine years,” Steve Fries said.
Despite losing a double-dual match to Coloma (42-32) and Watervliet (45-21) on Wednesday, Dec. 19, the Fries brothers were pleased with the way the Blackhawks battled from the first match to the final match.
“I was very happy by the way we competed,” Steve Fries said.
Steve and Mike Fries were disappointed that their grandfather, former Saugatuck head boys’ basketball coach Wayne Fries, wasn’t able to make it to the matches.
“I thought for sure he would be here,” Steve Fries said, looking up into the stands to make sure he didn’t overlook him.
“Something must have come up,” added Mike Fries.
It’s too bad that their grandfather missed the action as the youngest of the Fries brothers, Nick, won both of his matches.
“Nick is having a great season,” said Steve Fries of his younger sibling, who is a senior.
Nick Fries has won 12 of his 15 matches to date, including wins over Coloma and Watervliet at 189 pounds. He would like nothing better than to qualify for state this season.
“I came up just a little short from qualifying last year,” Nick Fries said. “My goal is to reach state this year.”
Nick Fries wrestles at what has long been considered one of the strongest of all weight classes.
“Even though I haven’t dominated wrestling at 189, it has made me a better wrestler in the long run,” Nick Fries said.
Xavier Mendoza, one of four freshmen on Fennville’s roster, roared back from a four-point deficit to pin a wrestler from Coloma with time running down.
“That was a good win for Xavier against a good kid,” Steve Fries said.
Mendoza weighed 150 when the season started but is competing at 135 pounds after dropping 15 pounds.
“Xavier came in a little out of shape after not wrestling last year in middle school,” Steve Fries said.
Mendoza doesn’t look past any of his opponents when he takes to the mat.
“You can’t take anyone lightly,” he said. “You just never know.”
Winning one match on the evening for Fennville were Tyger Rastall, Dylen Pendergrass, Mauricio Bedolla and Mario Fernandez on a pin.
Fennville, which forfeited six matches on Dec. 19 due to various reasons, won two matches earlier in the season against Kelloggsville and Grant.
“We have a lot of remaining matches, but winning those two matches back-to-back was definitely a highlight for us so far,” Steve Fries said.