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Andy Roberts • OHJ file photo

Hesperia’s wrestling team earned academic all-state honors in Division 4 this season after posting a team grade point average of 3.4, the fifth-best in the state. Team members included, left to right, front row, Assistant Coach Bob Flanery, Manager Thor Klaus, Isiah Gardner, Alex Sayer, Hunter Flanery, Cole Conkle, Aydan Sturtevant-Roesly, Manager Blake Sayer, Manager Caspian Lancaster and Assistant Coach Bruce Roberson; second row, Assistant Coach Mark Arbogast, Head Coach Doug Baird, Mack Baird, Kamryn Rosencrans, Marcus Hoaglin, Korbin Klaus, Zander Nadjkovic, Assistant Coach Rory Lancaster and Assistant Coach Adam Roesly.

Hesperia’s wrestling team earned an Academic All-State honor from the Michigan Wrestling Association this season, finishing #5 in Division 4 with a team grade point average of 3.40. Team GPAs are calculated as the average of the top 14 academic achievers on each squad.

Coach Doug Baird said he estimates that Hesperia has achieved that honor about 10 times since he’s been the coach, and that the honor caps off a Panthers season that exceeded expectations.

“Most people in the wrestling community probably wrote this off as a pure building season for us,” Baird said. “The kids won a district title, they won the CSAA Silver tournament, and we knock off a trip into the regional finals. Overall, it was very satisfying to take a small group and get so much out of them.”

Baird said junior Aydan Sturtevant-Roesly was a key part of the team earning the academic honor, saying the National Honor Society member carries a GPA of 3.9. Sturtevant-Roesly also achieved all-state honors on the mat for the second time this season.

“What we have is a bunch of workmanlike guys that carry that GPA right around 3.0,” Baird said. “It’s a total team award...There were a few times during the season when it was an enormous challenge to keep guys rolling academically. I want to thank the guys who kept rolling for doing such a fantastic job.”

The Panthers will return all the wrestlers that spent significant time on the mat this year, which could portend an even more successful 2020-21 season on the mat and in the classroom.

“We were pleased to keep all-staters in our stable, keep a winning tradition going and advance to the regional finals,” Baird said.

The coach added that he feels fortunate that the wrestling teams were able to finish their seasons before the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined prep sports less than a week later and feels for the athletes that were not as lucky.

“My heart goes out to all the area athletes, and everyone across the state and country,” Baird said. “They’ve been putting in so much effort their whole lives. All their dreams have been crushed by this business. My hat’s off to the kids for being so resilient on so many levels.”