Greenville will send five wrestlers, including Nash Cooper, to this year’s MHSAA Michigan High School State Championships in Detroit.
A sophomore has enjoyed an outstanding year thus far. He won an individual district title and finished second at regionals before hoping to add state championship glory.
Fruitport High School is well known for the excellence of its athletic programs, winning state championship titles in football and volleyball in recent years. District athletic teams also qualified for national tournaments. Homes zoned to Fruitport Community Schools feature an early childhood center as well as three elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school within its boundaries.
Athleticians graduating from secondary schools have several options for higher education after leaving school, including Muskegon Community College, Grand Valley State University, Grace Bible College, Cornerstone University, and Aquinas College – to name just a few! Alpena Community College (MCC) may also provide career and technical education close by.
Fruitport High School has distinguished itself in other sports besides wrestling. For instance, in 2017, both boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams placed second at the MHSAA state meet, while one won regional honors as well.
The Trojans wrestling team opened their season strong, defeating Plainwell 65-12 and Wayland Union 58-24 to begin the year strong. Nine wrestlers went undefeated that evening: Connor Sykes (113), Zack Sykes (125), Mason Brown (135), Karl Glydewell (195), Christian Straley (215), Bailey Lynn (205), and Levi Six.
One of the most memorable moments during this week’s wrestling match was when Paschal Jolman and Nate Bolley hugged after their bout, an impressive display of sportsmanship between rivals who now appear closer than ever before.
Fruitport is a small waterfront community situated between Muskegon and Grand Haven. Residents here enjoy an easygoing lifestyle with access to beaches, parks, and other attractions nearby, along with newer construction homes as well as older Victorian-style houses for housing options. Local industries such as manufacturing and tourism employ many residents here, while its humid continental climate features hot summers with cool winters – the average summer temperature hovers around 87 degrees Fahrenheit, with January average lows around 28.
Matt Brink has dedicated more than half his life to wrestling – as both an accomplished grappler at Fruitport High School and the University of Michigan and as a coach for 19 years at Reeths-Puffer. Unfortunately, however, Brink will no longer serve as their coach next season and is leaving Reeths-Puffer permanently.
The decision to fire him has caused much consternation among former students and parents, who demanded his reinstatement at Monday’s board meeting. Some are even planning on protesting in person at that meeting to voice their opposition to this action taken against their former teacher.
Many high-profile coaches have offered to fill the vacant position at West Shore High School; among them are current Muskegon Community College assistant coach James Tietema and former Manistee wrestling coach Mark Maddox as potential candidates. Other names being considered include Muskegon Community College head coach Jason Van Hooser, who is a possible option as well.
Coach Brunger boasts 17 years of coaching experience, both at the college and high school varsity levels. As an assistant coach at MCC for two years before being promoted as its head coach in 2013, Brunger’s teams advanced 19 athletes into national tournaments – four making it all the way to championship matches!
Coach of nine seasons for Florida high schools. A graduate of the University of Findlay with a degree in education and intervention specialist. Also served six years with the US Marine Corps.
Brink said he would miss working with the kids, hoping his son would take up wrestling in the future. If that does happen, Brink won’t rule out another coaching stint in the future – “if my kid wants to wrestle, I would love to come back – I love being one-on-one with everyone!”
Fruitport, Michigan, has long been recognized as an epicenter for Michigan wrestling talent, producing some of its most excellent names, such as Matt Brink and Cheryl Day, two well-known wrestlers from this city. Brink was a three-time state champion in Michigan history before winning the heavyweight state crown as a freshman – an accolade recognized with his becoming an honoree of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame.
Brink also serves as a high school physical education teacher at Reeths-Puffer High School and is highly acclaimed by former and current wrestlers alike. His ability to motivate young athletes toward excellence has won him widespread acclaim within the community.
Coach Brunger, in his third year with the MCC Jayhawks and with eleven years of varsity wrestling coaching experience – most recently as head coach of Orchard View Cardinals -has advanced 19 wrestlers to national tournaments while producing four NJCAA All-Americans. Furthermore, he was twice honored as MCCAA Central District coach of the year and won six region titles throughout his tenure.
Coach Tietema has joined the MCC Jayhawk coaching staff for their second year and holds numerous records from his high school wrestling experience, graduating from Holland-West Ottawa High School, where he wrestled under Karl Nadolsky and becoming a Division 1 State Champion at 160 pounds during his senior year of wrestling, as well as holding single-season records for wins and fall points at Holland West Ottawa. Currently lives in Spring Lake, Michigan, with his wife and daughter.