WEST BLOOMFIELD — In last season’s Division 1 125-pound individual state wrestling finals, West Bloomfield High’s Ross Bahro stood on the fourth-place podium vowing that the next time he wrestled at The Palace of Auburn Hills, he would moves a few steps higher.
While the state finals are still weeks away, Bahro is right on pace. At press time, the senior was 17-0 overall at 130 pounds.
“He’s on a mission,” West Bloomfield coach Greg Alessi said. “He knows what he wants to do. If he stays healthy enough, he should have a reasonable shot.”
Bahro showed his dominance at the Oakland County Tournament Dec. 21, winning all of his matches by either a major decision, technical fall or pin. He was also named the Most Valuable Wrestler between weights 103-140.
“I think I wrestled pretty well, but I think I’m getting better,” Bahro said. “With my coaches and motivation, I was able to have a pretty good tournament.”
Last season, Bahro finished second in the county, losing to Detroit Novi Catholic Central’s Evan Toth — the same wrestler he beat 10-2 for this year’s championship.
“I was a little more tentative last year. This year, I have a lot of confidence in myself and knew I had the tools to do it,” Bahro said.
The senior has helped lead the Lakers to a 7-2 overall mark and a 2-0 standing in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.
“I see the maturity in him. … He’s supporting his teammates, and his mental and physical toughness. That’s his thing — that separates him from other good wrestlers,” Alessi said. “He’s not like some kids that are defensive or tactical; he just goes 100 percent and wears kids down.”
Bahro said he viewed the county title as a steppingstone to his ultimate goal.
“My goal has always been to be a state champion, but I knew winning the county title was something I needed to do,” he said. “It let me know in my own head that I am the best and that I really have improved. It let me know that all the work is paying off.”
Other notable finishes at the county meet from West Bloomfield wrestlers include Matt Gudeneau’s third at 125 pounds; Mario Giglio was fifth at 140; and Justin Hollins was third at heavyweight.