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February 20, 2013

Lincoln wins D-2 regional title, De La Salle bows out in regional semi

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The Warren Lincoln wrestling team won its first regional title since 2004. Pictured is Abes 103-pounder Demarco Dixon following his team’s regional championship win.

MADISON HEIGHTS — Each day at practice, Warren Lincoln wrestling coach Vito Delia told his team to keep one thing in mind.

“Get to the state finals,” Delia told the Abes’ wrestlers at the conclusion of each daily work out.

The Lincoln grapplers took those words to heart, as the Abes are headed back to Battle Creek after besting Southfield High 54-9 in a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 regional final Feb. 13 at Madison Heights Lamphere.

The win gives Lincoln (28-1) its first trip to the state finals since 2004. The Abes will wrestle their quarterfinal match at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 22 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. Matchups weren’t available at press time. The quarterfinal winner wrestles again Feb. 23 in the semis. The finals also take place Feb. 23.

“All the practices and hard work paid off,” junior 135-pounder Justen Walker said. “There’s nothing better than this feeling.”

After trailing 6-4, Lincoln ran off five straight wins to take a 25-6 lead going into the 189-pound bout.

The Blue Jays would score three points in that match before the Abes ran off 29 unanswered over the course of six matches to seal the win.

“Lincoln is a good team. They had too many guns,” Southfield coach Mike Conflitti said. In advancing to the regional final, the Blue Jays advanced further than the program had in its history.

“I’m really proud of everybody — coaches and wrestlers,” Delia said. “They all worked really hard to accomplish this and it means a lot to everybody.”

The trip to the state finals continues a solid run for Lincoln over the last three years, including three straight division titles and two straight district championships.

“This has been a great year. I think we really deserve this for all the time we put in,” sophomore 119-pound grappler Robert Pope said.

“This kind of validates us, because I thought we had the best team,” Delia said.

Pilots fall in regional semis
The Warren De La Salle wrestling team saw its season end in a 41-30 loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley Feb. 13 in a D-1 regional semifinal.

The matchup took place at Anchor Bay.

The Pilots knocked off Roseville 43-32 Feb. 6 at Warren Cousino to win a D-1 district championship

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