Nine area wrestlers qualify for Palace – Three each going from Bangor, Covert, and South Haven

By DENNIS GIST

Tribune Staff Writer

Although their teams have already been eliminated in post-season wrestling, nine area grapplers will head to the Palace in Auburn Hills to compete in the individual competitions at the state finals this weekend.

South Haven Rams making the trip are Jose Zuniga (119 lbs), David Ward (145), and Allen Antonson (189). Zuniga was the regional champion and will start the competition against a #4 seed wrestler. Antonson was a regional runner-up and will face a #3 seed, and Ward took third in the Hamilton region. “We hope they get two wins before they get two losses. That’s what gets them in to the placing round,” said Ram Coach Tim Simpson.

Covert sends Ivan Gallegos (103 lbs) who took second place at the regional held in Bangor while his teammates Kysean Wright (152), and Juan Aburto (171) took thirds. Gallegos and Aburto are making their second trips to the Palace. “They kind of know the drill,” said Bulldog Coach Vincent Gervais. “Hopefully there’s not that ‘awe’ factor thing (for them).”

Corey Wollin (112 lbs), David Tyler (160), and Dan Efting (125) will battle in the three-day affair from Bangor. Efting and Tyler were both regional champions and gained top seeds for the Auburn Hills starts while Wollin starts as a #3 seed.

All three coaches mentioned the difficulty of getting past the enormity of the competition, especially for wrestlers getting their first shot on the Palace floor. Bangor Coach Dennis Paquette explained it best, “This is David’s (Tyler) second trip and Dan’s (Efting) third so they will not be as intimidated by the size of the floor. Nothing will be new to them. What we try to say is ‘Let’s not let the bright lights get us.” One year as we were getting out of the car we had one of our young kids look at the building and ask ‘This is where we’re wrestling?’ and we literally watched all the blood drain from his face. He went ghost white and we thought he was going to faint.”

The matches run from Thursday through Saturday starting at 8 a.m.

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