Farmington Hills Harrison wrestler wins county championship

By: Christian Davis | Farmington Press | Published January 12, 2011

FARMINGTON HILLS — For the first time in over 30 years, there’s a county wrestling champion walking the halls of Farmington Hills Harrison.

Senior James Roberts won the title Dec. 18 at The Silverdome in Pontiac.

“It was just a great feeling, and I was shocked that it happened, especially with a pin,” Roberts said.

The 140-pounder beat Riley Hanson of Novi Catholic Central by fall in the second period.

In fact, Roberts won all five of his matches in the tournament by pin, using the cradle.

“He’s really good with the cradle and a lot of different pinning combinations. He can hit that cradle from a lot of different positions,” Harrison coach Jim Stuef said. “Once you get an opponent in the cradle, you can be the greatest wrestler. Once you get caught, you’re in big trouble.”

In the cradle, a wrestler has one arm around the back of his opponent’s neck. The other arm is under his opponent’s knee, and when the grappler locks his arms together — bringing the knee up towards the head — it makes it very difficult to escape.

“That’s definitely been my go-to move,” Roberts said.

Roberts entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed and was trailing 2-1 in the final before the pin.

Stuef said felt Roberts had a chance going in.

“It was a pretty wide-open weight class. Even though he was seeded seven, there wasn’t one guy that really stood out,” he said. “It could have gone a lot of different ways, but for us and the program too, (we didn’t have a champ) in 30 years, now we have one.”

Harrison’s last champions were Pat Palajac in 1979 and Damien Crudele in 1976.

“I just looked at it as wanting to win it, no matter what my seed was — do my best and win as matches as I could,” Roberts said. “It feels great to bring it back and start the program in the right direction, because it’s growing. To show that we’re competitors again.”

With the help of Andre Sanders, who finished fourth at 119 pounds, the Hawks placed 11th as a team.