Dakota ends historic wrestling season with state semifinal loss

The Cougars finish the season with a 33-3 record

By: Timothy Pontzer | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published February 25, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT — In its first-ever appearance in the Division 1 wrestling state semifinals, Macomb Dakota fell to Davison High 37-21 Feb. 25 on the campus of Central Michigan University.

"They have nothing to be ashamed of, they went out there and wrestled extremely well," said Dakota coach Ed Skowneski of his team. "Davison is a very tough team. They don't have any holes in their lineup, but we hung in there with them."

Davison opened the duel with a pin at 125 pounds, igniting a 12-0 run to start the contest. Dakota junior Tommy Gawlowski stopped the bleeding with 6-3 decision at 140 to give the Cougars their first points of the contest.

The Cardinals responded with nine straight points, via a pin at 145 and an ultimate-tiebreaker victory at 152 to go up 21-3. Dakota's hero of the quarterfinals, junior Christian Karges, delivered a 6-5 decision at 160 followed by fellow junior Layne Malczewski's pin at 171. That narrowed it to 21-12, the smallest margin of the day.

"Today was really close, we lost three matches by one or two points," Malczewski said. "We were leading all three in the third period, but we can't stop wrestling, can't give up, because they're not going to stop fighting. This year we thought we had a chance to go all the way, but it didn't work out that way. We just have to learn to wrestle the whole six minutes."

Despite the close losses, Malczewksi was pleased with Dakota's historic run and vowed to use the defeat as fuel for next season.

"We're the first team in school history to make to the semis," Malczewski said. "This is a really big accomplishment for the whole team We're going to remember this and come back next year."

Malczewski's coach agreed, already looking ahead to the 2017-18 campaign.

"We're only graduating three seniors," Skowneski said. "The guys got a taste of the quarters last year, and they got a taste of the semis this year, so hopefully it turns into something better next year. It's going to take some dedication."

While the team season is finished, the Cougars still have a bit of unfinished business, sending Malczewski, Karges and nine others to the individual state tournament March 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

"From this performance we have a lot of momentum going into the Palace," Skowneski said. "We're feeling good about our 11 qualifiers. It was a really good season for the team."