MUSKEGON — As the only ranked teams in their region in Division 2, Whitehall (#4) and Reeths-Puffer (#8) wrestled a Division 2 district semifinal match Thursday that functioned more like a de facto regional final, with a raucous crowd to match the stakes.
Like all great wrestling duals, it came down to the final bout, and the Rockets' Caleb McNeil sent the green-clad members of the audience to their feet by pinning Jacob Haynes in that bout, delivering R-P a 34-30 victory on the way to a sixth straight district title. The Rockets blanked Muskegon 83-0 in the anticlimactic district finals.
The Rockets' stunning win, which ended Whitehall's eight-year string of district titles (all in Division 3), was a product of their winning every match that the Viking coaches had labeled as "swing matches" going into the evening.
"The biggest thing coming into the dual, there (were) five or six matches coming in that we knew were swing matches, and if we could win a couple of them, we liked our chances," Whitehall coach Collin Zeerip said. "Credit to Reeths-Puffer, they won all those swing matches, those tough matches."
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