Historic Victory: Dakota wrestling bests John Glenn 26-25 for first-ever state tourney win

The Cougars will face Davison High in the semifinals

By: Timothy Pontzer | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published February 24, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT — The Macomb Dakota wrestling team made program history with a thrilling 26-25 victory against Westland John Glenn, the first win the Cougars ever recorded in the state tournament.

"This feels great," said Dakota coach Ed Skowneski. "I would've liked it to not have been as close, but I'll take it any way it comes."

Heading into the final match, the Cougars held a slim 26-22 lead. In the deciding 152-pound bout, Skowneski chose junior Christian Karges to take the mat, needing him to simply avoid a pin or major decision.

"I've never wanted someone to lose so bad," Skowneski said chuckling, following his 149th career victory. "Ending with Karges was definitely the right choice, because he has been a workhorse for us all year. I felt very confident. No one pins him, and he's as tough as they come. All year long we've been matching him up with the toughest kids, and it culminates here."

Karges toughed out a decision, falling 7-3. Twice in the three-period affair his opponent, John Siemasz, came close to a pin, but the Dakota junior was able to escape and ensure his squad advanced.

"This was a great loss, the best I've ever had," Karges said. "It was tough, I knew I had to keep pushing the pace at the end of the match. I was exhausted, but I just had to keep taking shots and dictating the match. There was a lot of pressure, but Coach told me that I'm the best grinder on this team, and so I just had to grind it out. It meant a lot that they believed in me."

The Cougars opened the duel on a 12-0 run, with Dakota junior Layne Malczewski recording his club's lone pin at 171. John Glenn's Jawaun Peete countered with his school's only pin of the match, a fall 21 seconds into the 215 bout.

Dakota freshman Brock Prater notched a 16-1 victory at 103, earning a technical fall to help the Cougars build a 20-6 lead. But the Rockets responded, racing back with 10 unanswered points.

Junior Tyler Sanders stopped the run, picking up a crucial 6-4 save in overtime. Sanders earned two match points with a takedown to tie the fight with only five seconds remaining. His win in the extra frame put the Cougars up 23-16.

"Tyler really came through, that got the momentum back on our side," Skowneski said. "I know we won some matches before that, but that really turned out to be big, setting things back up for us."

Senior Nick Barrett (135 pounds) earned a 5-2 decision to collect the final three points for Dakota, allowing school history to be made by the slimmest of margins. Glenn would notch decisions in the final three bouts.

"It feels great to move on, we will probably go down as one of the best Dakota teams in awhile," Karges said.

The Cougars move on to face Davison High at 9 a.m. on Feb. 25.

"All year long we've been tracking Davison, and they are definitely a great team," Skowneski said. "But our goal all year long was to win in the quarters. We got that done, and now we'll face Davison. They're tough, but our guys are resilient."

In other D-1 action, Detroit Catholic Central bested Brighton High 55-3; Hartland High topped Oxford High 37-27; and Davison High beat Grandville High 40-18.