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January 29, 2014

L’Anse Creuse wrestling team taking on all opponents

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse’s Zac McCory, right, prepares for his match to start against an opponent from Warren Woods Tower Jan. 22 at home. L’Anse Creuse is looking for its 12th district title since 1996.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The wrestling season began Dec. 7.

As of Jan. 22, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse had already battled in 30 matches and garnered a record of 16-14, including a 2-2 mark in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

First-year coach Brian Lorenzo, who along with David Prince has taken over for long-time coach Keith Weiand, said that approach is by design. Prince coached with Weiand at L’Anse Creuse for two years.

“If we’re able to get some wrestlers in the state finals and through the early rounds of the state playoffs, we’ll have already seen some of the guys we’d end up facing,” said Lorenzo, who’s also coached at Center Line, Grosse Pointe North and Anchor Bay. “That’ll serve us much better than going in blind.”

The Lancers, with 11 district titles since 1996, have grappled all over Michigan. The team has participated in tournaments in places such as Rockford, Marysville and Saginaw — all with the goal of seeing its 22 wrestlers improve.

Lorenzo, a high school teammate of Weiand’s, said a reason Lancers coaches packed so many matches into the season is due to a change that saw three weeks cut from the season in recent years. Lorenzo said the team started slowly, with some wrestlers suffering injuries or struggling to maintain weight.

“We’ve been putting an emphasis on the weekend tournaments because that allows us to compete in more matches — five as opposed to just three in an individual tournament,” Lorenzo said. “That also gives us a chance to get more kids involved — maybe bring in some backups and get them some matches.”

Senior 171/189-pounder Devan Richter is one of the team’s elder statesmen. He said the transition between coaching staffs has gone smoothly. Richter, who earned All-State status at last season’s state finals, said the staffs share the same coaching philosophies, but have different methods.

“We started a little slowly with some guys getting used to wrestling more, but we’re coming along,” said Richter, who won the 171-pound title at the 2013 Macomb County Wrestling Invitational. “There are new guys stepping up every day.”

Richter said he’s stepped up as a leader. Other wrestlers Lorenzo touted are senior 145-pounder Ian Weldron, senior 171/189-pounder Pieter Barone and junior 112-pounder Brendan Hazelton. Hazelton also won an individual title at the county invite.

“We really count on those four,” Lorenzo said. “All four of them have been really strong performers for us.”

Richter said the coach’s methods are having a positive effect.

“The coaches are pushing us every day in practice,” Richter said. “We’ve been working on keeping matches close, pointwise, and not getting pinned or giving up a lot of points. We’re doing everything we can to get better.”

L’Anse Creuse next hits the mat for a match with Madison Heights Lamphere at 5 p.m. Jan. 29 at Lamphere.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.