Macomb Dakota wins wrestling regional crown

Cougars hold off valiant effort from Fraser

By: Thomas Franz | C&G Newspapers | Published February 12, 2014

 Dakota wrestling celebrates with its regional championship trophy.

Dakota wrestling celebrates with its regional championship trophy.

Photo courtsey of Macomb Dakota High School

With three bouts left in the regional final Wednesday night, Dakota held a four point lead against Fraser.

To close out the Ramblers, the trio of Alex Bozinovski, Jake Johnson and Josh Burnham each scored first-round pinfall victories to take Dakota to the state quarterfinals by a score of 46-24. 

"Every single dual we go into I feel confident. I always tell the guys that this is where Dakota starts turning it on," Dakota coach Ed Skowneski said of the trio. "Those guys just don't win, they get bonus points. Anytime I have those guys left, I feel pretty good."

Greg Brohl and Antonio Balabani took the first two matches of the night to pace Dakota to a 9-0 lead. 

Fraser quickly responded with two pinfall victories, as Jim Shock won the heavyweight bout and Nate Hollifield won at 103 pounds. 

Dakota went ahead 28-18, but Fraser's Matt Keys' thrid-round pinfall win brought the Ramblers to within four. Despite the rally, they were unable to overcome the stength of the Dakota senior trio. 

"I'm very happy with our season. In someways I could say we overachieved in the beginning of the year, but I don't believe that any more. I just think that we belong here," Fraser coach Rick Julien said.

Dakota will advance to the team state quarterfinals beginning on Feb. 21 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. Fraser closes its season with a 24-4 record that included a 7-0 mark in the MAC Gold.