Light-hearted approach, hard work pays off for Mendon wrestlers

AUBURN HILLS — Skyler Crespo admits he’s not that adept at operating a drone.
But the Mendon freshman showed why he’s one of the best Division 4 high school wrestlers in the state at Thursday’s state finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Crespo, the Hornets’ standout 125-pound grappler, pinned Roscommon sophomore Deklin James in 1:58 to advance to today’s state quarterfinals.
Crespo (49-1) was scheduled to face Burton Bentley’s Jack Brandt in this morning’s quarterfinals.
No Mendon freshman has ever won a state title, but Crespo intends to change that this weekend.
“Robert LeFevre of Erie-Mason is really good. We had a close match at regionals so he’s one of my top competitors here this weekend,” Crespo said.
“I’m just looking to widen the margin. I just need to keep wrestling harder. The guy I faced today was good but I was able to end the match pretty quickly.”
Crespo credits his success to teammates Wyatt Diekman and Kaden Frye along with coach Caleb Stephenson and other members of the coaching staff.
“I think what sets me apart from other freshmen is that I never take any time off from the sport. I’m always wrestling or lifting weights and working out,” Crespo said. “When I take the mat, I try to remember all that time I put in. Because of that no one deserves to win more than I do. I just need to go out and prove how good I am.”
Crespo says a loose atmosphere in the wrestling room and off the mat also helps in the team’s success.
“Wyatt Cool sometimes brings his drone to practice and flies it around. At home he’ll fly it around his dog, it’s pretty funny,” Crespo said.
It was a successful first day on the mats on the big stage for Mendon’s four state qualifiers.
Cool, a junior and returning state placer, also won his opening match by technical fall 20-5 in 4:22 over New Lothrop’s Austin Wendling.
Cool faces Payton Hunt of Martin/Climax-Scotts/Athens in today’s quarterfinals.
Mendon junior Nik Andaverde, another returning state placer, earned a 13-4 major decision in his match against Leroy Pine River’s Dylan Stephens.
Andaverde (46-3) faces Hart’s Noah Cantu (50-1) in today’s quarterfinals.
“He (Stephens) was a little bit stronger than most kids I wrestle at 112. This year I am a lot more calm and it’s nice getting a win and a good warmup to get the jitters out of the way. I want to get back to the semifinals, win and reach the finals,” Andaverde said.
Freshman 215-pounder Emmettt Bingaman lost his first match to Clinton senior Austin Poppi 6-2.
Bingaman faces Gabe Sterm of Roscommon in today’s wrestleback.
“Emmett wrestled a great match against a senior and returning state placer. He still had a chance to win it with 25 seconds left. He just needs to come back confident,” Stephenson said.
“All of our kids prepared for the finals the way they should’ve. Their weights were awesome and they bought into what they’re supposed to do. They all have the experience and believe in themselves.”
It was a perfect day on the mat for White Pigeon with Hunter Rummler (171), Kyle Black (130) and Nate Weber (135) all earning first-round victories to remain in championship contention.
Rummler defeated Daniel Smith of Carson City Crystal 10-2 on a major decision. He’ll face William Hartz of Sand Creek in the quarterfinals.
Black, a returning state placer, pinned Jordan Tuff of Climax/Scotts/Athens/Martin in 0:39. He’ll meet Burton Bentley’s Robert Rogers in the quarterfinals.
Weber pinned Aris Morgan of Mancelona in 2:43.
Weber faces Austin Wolford of New Lothrop in today’s quarterfinals round.
“Our three guys just have to continue wrestling one match at a time. They all looked really composed and ready today,” said White Pigeon coach Jay Sosinski.
Schoolcraft senior and three-time state qualifier Spencer Fox kept his unbeaten record intact at 46-0 by pinning Brian Paquette of Bloomingdale in 2:29.
“It feels amazing to go out there and get that first match. Being undefeated puts a big target on my back. I need to go out there and wrestle 110 percent all the time and not let up,” Fox said. “I just saw a couple moves that kid I faced today didn’t know so I capitalized on them. My goal is to win my quarterfinals match and get to the semis and finals.”
Fox faces Matthew Grant of Onaway in the quarterfinals today.
Eagles’ teammate Justin VanDyken (140) was an 8-4 winner over Andy Simaz of Traverse City St. Francis. VanDyken meets Justin Carnahan of New Lothrop in the quarters.
Schoolcraft’s Ethan Sharp (152) pinned Harry Carlquist of Burton Bentley in 1:51. Sharp meets Hesperia’s Gerrit Yates in the quarters.
River Fox (285) of Schoolcraft lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Whittemore-Prescott’s Charlie Prescott to drop into the consolation bracket.
Ash Stokes (112) of Marcellus was pinned in his first match by Roscommon’s Brenden Spencer in 4:42.
Stokes goes back at it again today in the wrestleback.

Division 3
The atmosphere, waiting around and a tough draw had a bit of an effect on Constantine’s three state qualifiers.
Constantine senior Corey Anthony dropped an 8-1 decision to Adam Bruce of Gladstone at 135.
Falcons’ junior Jack Jones was pinned in 5:44 by defending state champion DJ Daniels of Caro at 140.
Roy Solis of Constantine, a junior, was pinned at 145 in 1:38 by No. 1-ranked Glenn Beardsley of Farwell.
Anthony, Jones and Solis were all back at it again this morning competing in the consolation bracket in an attempt to stave off elimination.
“We had a rough start today. Our kids need to pick up their intensity and pace. Our nerves got the best of us today. Roy wrestled that first match; our other two kids had to wait around about five hours to wrestle,” said Constantine co-coach Dale Davidhizar.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or

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