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All tied up: Mustangs top Pioneers in D3 district action WITH GALLERY

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Back on January 4 the Clare High School wrestling team tied host Sanford-Meridian 39-39 in Jack Pine Conference dual meet action.

The Mustangs would win that dual on criteria but it was kind of a foreshadowing of what was to come.

On Thursday night from Shepherd High School the Pioneers and Mustangs met yet again, this time in Division 3 team district action with a piece of hardware and a berth in next week's regional round at Essexville-Garber on the line.

And much like their first go-around Thursday's district final match came down to the final bout with the score tied at 34-34.

In the end Sanford-Meridian All-Stater Paul Streeter (189) beat Clare senior Hart Smalley 3-2 by scoring an escape in ultimate overtime to propel the Mustangs (17-12) to their first team district title since 2014 and put a close to a great season for the Pioneers.

"Our guys wrestled tough," said Clare coach Tim Packard, whose team closes the 2016-17 docket with a school-record 24 dual wins. "The match-ups were good, we had guys survive getting pinned and we had guys going out there scoring points. It came down to that match between two evenly-matched wrestlers on two evenly-matched teams."

While Streeter and Smalley, who have wrestled each other numerous times and who have both beaten the other, decided the dual the fact of the matter is the Pioneers were one win away from securing their first-ever team district title. Problem was the Mustangs won the majority of Thursday's swing bout which led to their comeback win.

At the end of seven bouts the Pioneers (24-12) led 28-9 and appeared to be primed for making some history.

Yet the Mustangs went on to win six of the final seven bouts to steal the win and advance.

"You know we're going to grow from this," said Packard. "We had a great season and will only get better going forward."

As for the meet itself Keegan Billerback (215) won via a second-period pin to give Clare an early 6-0 lead. A Sanford-Meridian void at heavyweight pushed it to 12-0 before the Mustangs got on the board at 12-3 via a 1-0 victory from Garrett Mogg (103).

A Clare void at 112 made it 12-9 before the Pioneers won three straight bouts to push the lead to 28-9. Kyle Schaaf (119) scored an 18-4 major decision before Amante Young (125) and Colt Smedley (130) both nailed won pins.

Back-to-back-to-back pins from Meridian's Matt Person (135) , Cole Federer (140) and Brandon Avery (145) cut Clare's lead to 28-27 before Isaiah Dole (152) righted the ship with a pin to make it 34-27.

The Mustangs won a major decision at 160 and a 9-4 decision at 171 to set up the fireworks and the final bout.

In the end Sanford-Meridian won eight bouts to Clare's six and finished with a flurry by winning six of the final seven bouts.

The Pioneers opened the night by beating host Shepherd 54-22, winning 10 of the 14 bouts in the district semifinal. Sanford-Meridian won by forfeit over Farwell.

Last Updated: 2/9/2017 9:51:43 PM EST