GVSU club wrestling captures fifth straight Great Lakes Conference title

GVL / Matt Read
GVSU Wrestling takes home the GLIAC Championship title on Saturday February 24, 2018.

GVL / Matt Read GVSU Wrestling takes home the GLIAC Championship title on Saturday February 24, 2018.

Louis Ricard

The weather is finally getting warmer, and spring is slowly settling in. For the Grand Valley State  men’s wrestling team, it’s time to go to work.

GVSU men’s club wrestling hosted the 2018 Great Lakes Conference Tournament this past Saturday, Feb. 24, at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale. Not only did they host, but the wrestlers won handsomely with a score of 148.5, miles away from runner-up Akron with 95 points on the day.

Head coach Rick Bolhuis won his fifth Great Lakes title in a row, walking away with much more than a simple trophy at the end of the day.

“We were able to qualify all the guys we entered (for Nationals),” Bolhuis said. “Plus, we were able to get a wild card for a guy (Owen Gaffney) that had an injury and wasn’t able to compete today. So, we kind of had one bonus entry today heading into the National Tournament.”

Although GVSU was a force to be reckoned with in the Great Lakes Conference, the wrestlers know that what’s on paper does not determine the outcome of the match. Bolhuis has been preparing his athletes for this tournament with a twist in his training methods, according to sophomore Sean Halverson.

“He spent a lot of one-on-one time with people, a little less drilling and running,” Halverson said. “It’s more about the technique. Every point matters, especially at this time of the year when it comes to seeding.”

The one-on-one time paid off for some athletes, including Halverson, who won the title in his category (125 pounds). Joseph Posledni (157 pounds), Harun Bogdanic (235 pounds) and Miguel Correa (285 pounds) also went home with a trophy in their respective categories.

GVSU barely had time to savor the win, as the wrestlers met up for practice the following day. Bolhuis mentioned that the conditioning paid off and showed at the tournament, but the intensity needs to remain as high as can be if his team wants to bring back some hardware from Texas.

“We were in pretty good shape today,” Bolhuis said. “We have to help guys focus on what they’re already good at, work on their timing. We’ve had some spots where some wrestling IQ didn’t come through in certain situations, so we’ll work on making the right decision. But we’re ready to go.”

For Halverson, it’s time to take back what he thinks belongs to his team. Last year, GVSU lost by a single point in the National Tournament. This year will be different according to him, as the sophomore has grown into a more experienced wrestler after a couple of years spent with GVSU. For Bolhuis, this year’s team might be able to exceed expectations.

“This team seems to rise to the occasion,” Bolhuis said. “When we’ve had big tournaments thus far, they’ve competed very well. We’ve got a little bit of work to do before we head out to the National Tournament, but we’ve placed guys where I thought we would. Hopefully we can improve on some spots.”

Led by an experienced coaching staff and hungry men, GVSU could be shaking things up at the national tournament held in Allen, Texas, on Thursday, March 8, through Saturday, March 10.

“We definitely have high expectations,” Halverson said. “We are looking to place even higher this year, and hopefully we can walk away with another team trophy.