Several Fruitport wrestlers had very strong performances at Saturday’s Sparta Invitational.

Nash Cooper had the best day, finishing with a 3-1 record and taking second in the 144-pound weight class. He won his first three matches then lost the championship match, 11-8, to Byron Center’s Ethan Wood, a Division 1 state semifinalist last year.

“It was a great test for Nash to see where we are good, and what adjustments need to be made wrestling that caliber of competition,” said Fruitport Coach Chad Johnson.

Hunter Leonard finished in third place in the 157-pound class, posting a 3-1 record. He advanced to the semifinal round before falling to Sparta’s Kyle Larson. Leonard went to overtime to defeat Matthew Beck of Plainwell 6-5 in the third-place match.

Fruitport’s Nash Cooper, who placed second in his weight class on Saturday. Photo/Jeremy Clark

Caleb O’Neal was 3-1 and finished third in the 215-pound division. He advanced to the semifinal round before losing a 10-9 heartbreaker to Garrie Mann of Gull Lake, 10-9. He then wrestled back through the consolation round and pinned Ravenna’s Juan Castillo to clinch third place.

Trace Pider posted a 4-1 record and finished fifth in the 165-pound division. He lost in the quarterfinals then fought his way back for three straight  victories in the consolation bracket.

“We really wanted to be tested in a tough tournament to prepare ourselves for the postseason,” Coach Johnson said. “Our kids won some big matches and we also lost some big matches. This will allow our kids to make adjustments that need to be made to make a run in the postseason.

“I’m proud of the way our kids are wrestling right now. The results may not always show, but they are buying into the system our coaching staff has put together.”