FraserFebruary 12, 2014
Fraser wins district title
Ramblers rally to defeat Chippewa before beating Stevenson in final
By Thomas Franz
C & G Staff Writer
Fraser’s Nick Hollifield wrestles against Chippewa Valley’s Michael Solomon in the 119-pound bout during the opening round of districts on Feb. 5 at Sterling Heights Stevenson.
STERLING HEIGHTS — Down 24-0 in the opening round of districts on Feb.5, the prospects of a district title certainly appeared grim for Fraser.
Then, Dean Snider’s narrow 4-3 victory in the 189 pound bout for Fraser sparked an unbeaten run for the Ramblers, as they went on to defeat Chippewa Valley 37-24 in the opening match of the district tournament.
Fraser kept the momentum going in the district final match against Sterling Heights Stevenson, as the Ramblers took home the district crown convincingly with a 51-19 victory.
“I didn’t expect 24-0, because we lost a couple of close matches that I kind of expected to win, but they got on a roll, and as a coach, I got a little nervous, but I had confidence in the boys all the way,” Fraser coach Rick Julien said.
Julien said this is Fraser’s first district title since 2001, but despite the title drought, he came in expecting to win.
“I knew that Chippewa was very strong in the middle, and then we lost some good matches there, but once we got on a roll, we took care of business. They’re in good shape; they’re good fighters. I came here honestly expecting to win. We came here to win — not take second place,” Julien said.
In the district tournament, Fraser earned double victories — against Chippewa and Stevenson — from Nate Hollifield (103 pounds), Dan Pfeffer (125), Dean Snider (189), Marcus Bowers (215) and Jim Shock (285).
“I’m proud of the kids. They could tear me up right now. I’m so happy,” Julien said. “It shows that they have the fight in them and that they never quit. All year long, they never quit. They’ve been doing this for me all year. They just come back, and they keep fighting.”
With it being Fraser’s first district title in 13 years, Julien wanted to make sure he gave recognition to his coaching staff, which has helped build the Ramblers’ program in recent years.
“My son, Kevin Julien, does a heck of a job at practice every day. George Falar, my other assistant coach — it’s not me, it’s those guys, too. It’s three of us. It’s not just me. Those guys are there every day,” Julien said.
Fraser will take on Grosse Pointe South in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Feb.12 at Macomb Dakota. The winner of that dual will advance to take on the winner of Warren De La Salle and Dakota that same night in a regional final.
Winning matches for Chippewa Valley in the opening dual came John Wiseman, Jacob Browning, Evan Lockemy, Tristan Szajna, Tristan Oliver and Vince Dolland.