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Published November 19, 2012

East Detroit wrestling team out to win MAC Blue

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The East Detroit wrestling team has nine grapplers back who were apart of the team’s lineup last year. Pictured is Shamrocks wrestler Vince Jordan grappling with teammate Jason Burg.

EASTPOINTE — With nine of 14 wrestlers back from last year’s lineup, East Detroit wrestling coach Nathan Thompson believes the Shamrocks can challenge for the top spot in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

Thompson said depth at 160 pounds and up — 171, 189, 215 and 285 — has him high on this year’s group. He said East Detroit returns wrestlers at each of those weights who have varsity experience, including three who qualified for the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 individual regional tournament last season.

“Traditionally, the teams in the MAC Blue have been tough,” said Thompson, in his second year with the Shamrocks. “In the end, our goal is to be in competition to win this year’s championship.”

East Detroit had its struggles in Thompson’s first season in charge. The Shamrocks went 1-6 in the Blue but had a relatively young group.

Thompson said this year’s team has a strong core of juniors and seniors — and some sophomores — who possess great leadership qualities. The East Detroit coach said the team has about 30 wrestlers, and he hopes to add another 10 freshmen and sophomores before the season starts Dec. 5.

“With any change in coaches, there’s always a transition period, but we worked hard, and those who stuck with the program are better for it,” Thompson said. “Our No. 1 goal as a team is to be a family, and through hard work and dedication, we will see better results on the mat.”

The Shamrocks’ coach said he’s looking at 103-pound senior Stephen Cowing, 160-pound senior Jason Burge, 171-pound senior Zach Nevedal, and 215-pound senior Vincent Jordan to lead the charge for East Detroit. All four were MHSAA D-1 regional qualifiers last season.

The team had eight regional qualifiers last season, according to Thompson. He said that number may not be reached this season, but the Shamrocks have more grapplers this year with a chance to do well at the MHSAA state finals than they had last year.

“I think our team goals are out there for the taking,” Thompson said. “We will have some new wrestlers to fill in parts of our lineup, but I like our athleticism.

“I think a MAC (Blue) and district championship are within reach, if we work hard.”

East Detroit next hits the mat for a matchup with Warren Mott, set for 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at Mott.

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