Lincoln's Embree wins second straight wrestling title

Abes grappler ends year unbeaten

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published March 4, 2017

AUBURN HILLS — Warren Lincoln wrestling coach Ken Kaercher says wrestling is a very small part of what makes 189-pound grappler Jelani Embree.

Embree is very good at that small part, and it showed at the 2017 state finals, as he downed Dexter High senior Will Feldkamp 7-2 to claim his second straight Division 2 state championship. Embree ends the season at 39-0. He hasn’t lost a match in two years.

“I love wrestling. I’m always trying to push wrestling to myself. Every day in practice I’m always trying to get better,” said Embree, who next year will wrestle at the University of Michigan. “I know there’s people across the country who may be able to beat me, so I do everything I can to get better.”

Embree — who won a state title at 171 pounds in 2016 — was in control throughout the match. He led 2-1 after the first periods and 5-1 after the second period. The senior scored three takedowns in the win.

Feldkamp entered the title match with a 54-0 record.

“I knew he was going to come in with a game plan, so I just had to fight hard,” Embree said. “He knows I like to score, so he came in trying to slow me down, so I just did what I could to score points.”

Kaercher, a longtime coach at Warren Lincoln, called Embree the best wrestler in school history. That puts Embree atop a list that includes Sam Amine, who won state titles in 1984 and 1985, and Greg Mayer, the current Warren Woods Tower coach who won a state title in 1994.

Kaercher himself won a state championship in 1981.

“Jelani is without a doubt the best we’ve ever had,” Kaercher said. “But this is really just a piece of who Jelani is. He’s going to be the CEO of some major corporation some day. He’s brilliant.

“Jelani isn’t the biggest or the strongest kid in his weight class, but he is the smartest, and that takes him a long way.”

Embree hopes to compete in the Summer Olympics one day. Wrestling at U of M will get him some good practice, as Big Ten wrestling features some of the strongest grapplers in the country.

“It was a combination of things that led me to pick Michigan. It’s close to home. I’ll get a great education, and I get to wrestle,” Embree said. “I’m really excited about that.”