Imlay City wrestlers to square off against Hart at Kalamazoo Wings Center
IMLAY CITY — Unrated Imlay City earned their first-ever Division 3 regional wrestling title, getting the job done with a 37-31 win against fifth-ranked Richmond last Wednesday at Yale Middle School.
With the outcome, Imlay City (28-5) continues their postseason path this Friday in a quarterfinal match at the Kalamazoo-based Wings Event Center. There they will square off versus Hart (30-5) at 4:30 p.m.
“I am very proud of our guys and how hard they worked over the course of the season,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “They believed in themselves and each other,” he noted.
“It was a historic night for Imlay City wrestling winning a regional and making the team finals. We knew it would be a tough task with fourth-ranked Algonac unbeaten in the league coming with a dual win over fifth-rated Richmond earlier this season. For us to come away with back to back wins over the number four and number five ranked teams is a testament to the determination the guys have.”
In the championship encounter, Imlay City jumped out to a 15-0 advantage with wins in the first four bouts. Conner Wildie picked up 2-0 victory over 135-pound foe Aiden Bergeon; Christopher Galiana registered an 8-6 triumph against Wyatt Peters at 140 pounds; Anthony D’Ambrosio pinned 145-pound counterpart Tristen Weigand with 20 seconds gone; and Herrera notched a 9-2 win over Jackson Lacek at 152 pounds.
The next five weight classes would see Richmond prevail. Mathew Dwyer took 3:36 to stop 160-pound rival Aaron Evely; Kevin McKiernan needed 47 seconds to down Brady Vanderploeg at 171 pounds; Wesley Peters pinned Lance Wolford with 34 seconds elapsed; Eddie Olson registered a 16-5 triumph against Latham Perry at 215 pounds; and Matthew Misch outlasted 285-pound foe Chris Torres, 7-4.
That made it 25-15, Richmond with four matches remaining.
Imlay City then bounced back when 103-pounder Tanner Land pinned Cooper Honnold with 53 seconds gone, trimming his team’s deficit to 25-21.
Richmond then answered with a pin of their own when Noah Harris stopped Christian Rager 12 seconds in to their 112-pound battle.
That left Richmond holding a 31-21 lead.
Imlay City’s Dominic D’Ambrosio then won the 119-pound weight class by void and Cristian Rojas followed it up by securing a pin against 125-pound counterpart Jacob Fink with 25 seconds elapsed.
That left Imlay City clinging to a 33-31 edge with one match, at 130 pounds, remaining.
It was there Imlay City’s Julian Rojas and Richmond’s Connor Bergeon collided.
When the final scores were tallied, Rojas had clinched the regional title for Imlay City on the strength of a 15-1 outcome.
Imlay City reached the title clash with a 37-30 victory over fourth-rated Algonac.
A group consisting of Dominic D’Ambrosio, Cristian Rojas, Julian Rojas and Chris Torres led Imlay City with triumphs by pin. Dominic D’Ambrosio took 49 seconds to down 119-pound foe Lucky Gartin; Cristian Rojas required 1:32 to beat Steven Shannon at 125 pounds; Julian Rojas needed 1:50 to defeat 135-pound counterpart Brayden Vanatta; and Chris Torres took 4:48 to stop Derik Maciag at 285 pounds.
Austin Herrera contributed six points to Imlay City’s cause as well. Herrera prevailed by injury default against Algonac 152-pound rival Jake Kasner.
Anthony D’Ambrosio provided Imlay City with a win by major decision, accomplishing the feat with a 15-6 outcome versus Evan Hiltunen at 145 pounds.
Latham Perry was the other Imlay City grappler who prevailed. Perry notched a 2-1 tiebreaker victory over 215-pound foe Chris Brooks.
Imlay City lost one team point when they failed to check in properly.
Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.