GVSU wrestling dominates in duals against two nationally ranked programs

By D'Angelo Starks | 1/18/18 1:47am

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The Grand Valley State men’s club wrestling team participated in a three-team match on their home mats at the Fieldhouse Arena on Sunday, Jan. 14. 

The Lakers faced off against Mott and Macomb community colleges in the first match of the new semester, teams that are both currently ranked in the top 12 of the national NWCA rankings. Before the contest, GVSU was ranked 11th, Macomb Community College was 10th and Mott Community College was atop the ranks in first. On paper, this served as a great matchup for these teams and doubled as a measuring stick for the strength of a team as the postseason draws closer. 

At the start of the event, GVSU took on Macomb first, the highest-rated team in terms of points in Division II wrestling. Every wrestler but one that GVSU sent out against Macomb won their matches, leading to GVSU convincingly winning the duel 56-3. 

Afterward, the Lakers took on Mott Community College, which is currently leading Division I in points. Mott managed to pick up three wins in the matchups, but those wins wouldn’t be enough, as the Lakers pulled away with a 43-15 victory in the dual. This is a big win moving forward for the Lakers. 

“We got some guys that definitely needed some matches to prepare for things later this month and into our postseason,” said head wrestling coach Rick Bolhuis. “It was nice because all but one guy got onto the mat on Sunday.” 

The start of this season did not go as planned, as the Lakers got off to a slow start and didn’t have the team at full strength for the entire first semester. The team struggled with injuries and scheduling conflicts with classes, and because of these two issues, they wrestled for the majority of the first semester without four All-Americans from last season. 

These All-Americans who returned to the lineup after the first semester are whom Bolhuis considers the "leaders" of the team. Brendan Hazelton, Nick Reddy, Ahmad Khatib and Harun Bogdanic all got back on the mat, and the return of wrestlers of this caliber gave a natural boost of confidence to the GVSU team. 

“Were excited to get those guys back because they’ve been on the podium,” Bolhuis said. “Guys know that they know how to compete and that they’ve been there, so they can feed off of their energy knowing the types of things they do.”

Those are not the only wrestlers who have been and will continue to be vital to the success of the team moving forward, however. Jake Sobeck, who is one of the team captains, had a big day Sunday, winning both of his matches. Sobeck is also among the team leaders in stats, such as dual team points, dual wins and wins. 

Joe Posledni was a person who performed very well in the first half of the season and leads the team in several categories. He leads in dual team points, dual wins, wins with 18 on the season and pins. He has also won two tournaments. Even more impressive is that he’s doing it all as a freshman. 

“The possibilities are kind of boundless for us because we have the horses, so I think we should be competitive to not just contend for a team trophy,” Bolhuis said. “But if we have things go the right way and we make our own breaks, winning a dual national title or a team national title is completely on the table.” 

The Lakers continue their season on Friday, Jan. 26, at Liberty University in the NWCA National Duels. 

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