Lakeview grapplers boast improvement, bonds

By: Brad D. Bates | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 19, 2011

 St. Clair Shores senior heavyweight Ja’Bree Harris grapples with Center Line High’s Devin Whitman Jan. 13 at Center Line High.

St. Clair Shores senior heavyweight Ja’Bree Harris grapples with Center Line High’s Devin Whitman Jan. 13 at Center Line High.

Photo by Andrew Potter

CENTER LINE — Most schools have a relationship built between their wrestling and football programs, but few have one quite like St. Clair Shores Lakeview’s.

Pat Threet, who just so happened to be the prep wrestling coach for Lakeview’s wrestling coach, Ken Lowry, while they were at Warren Woods Tower, coaches the Huskies’ gridiron squad.

“I could never really call Pat my friend as much as I want to, because he’s still my coach,” Lowry said. “When I need to talk to him, I sit down with respect. I still get nervous because he’s still my coach.

“Pat Threet, being my coach, I have the highest respect for him,” Lowry added. “Him being my coach was a great honor, and for my kids to play football for him, they already know how things work.

“When (Threet) coaches, it’s all about respect — respect yourself, your coaches and your family. And my football players already have that because of him.”

Athletes who compete for both squads enjoy the benefit of these programs sharing such common bonds.

“They’re both phenomenal coaches,” said senior heavyweight Ja’Bree Harris, who wrestles and plays football at Lakeview along with junior 215-pounder Troy Kaplan. “In football, Coach Threet’s biggest thing is how wrestling keeps us in shape.

“(Threet) loves it when we wrestle because it teaches us how to keep our bodies low and use our strength, and how to think when you’re tired, so you don’t make stupid mistakes.”

Which is why it’s little surprise that those athletes are also seen as their coaches go-to-guys.

“Leadership has not been a problem for us,” Lowry said. “Ja’Bree has been a phenomenal leader for us.

“He’s a captain in football and in wrestling for obvious reasons. He’s vocal, likes to get guys pumped up and works hard in practice. He’s a good role model for the kids.”

The environment cultivated this year has helped the Huskies’ grapplers turn a corner in 2010-11.

After finishing 2-15 in dual meets in 2009-10, the Huskies were 5-3 overall at press time and 4-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division after posting a 39-37 win against Center Line High and a 78-6 victory against Madison Heights Madison Jan. 13 at Center Line.

“Last year, we came in, and I made the most mistakes I will in my coaching career my first year,” Lowry said. “Kids weren’t buying in, and there were a lot of attitude problems and grade problems.

“We approached those things one at a time. We have study sessions now, so their grades are OK. We won that battle.”

A big part of the Huskies’ turnaround is the increase in a sense of team among the squad’s members.

“The leadership we have on this team, we only have four seniors, and to see young guys cheering and buying in young is really nice to see,” Lowry said. “Now I can look forward to next year and the year after, and not worry.”

And that change in attitude has also affected the way Lakeview prepares for matches.

“The sky’s the limit when you train like we do,” Harris said. “There’s so much work we’ve put in in the room, and coach tells us we have the shot, we just have to grasp that opportunity.”

And all of that has Lowry hopeful he can help his wrestlers enjoy some of the accomplishments Threet helped him to, namely a district title.

“The kids see improvement and want to continue to get better,” Lowry said. “I push them to win a district title, and they haven’t won one since 2005 when (Lakeview) went to states. I want to get back to (a district title) and start from there.”