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Rochester Hills

December 12, 2012

With majority of lineup back, Rochester High wrestling has high expectations

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Rochester High senior Justin Kim works on takedowns during a recent practice.

ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester High wrestling team tied with Oxford High for the Oakland Activities Association Red Division championship last season, and with the vast majority of their starting lineup back, its hoping for even more success this time around.

“We’ll be there, but it’s a long season,” Lafferty said. “I’ve been around the sport a long time, and I know you have to take it one week at a time. Things change — like that. We prepare for the end of the season, but we don’t talk about it. We just practice as hard as we can.”

The Falcons have six wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their respective weight classes, according to www.michigangrappler.com.

Senior Justin Kim is ranked fourth at 112. Last season, he finished sixth in the state at 103 and was 38-4 overall.

Senior Josh Wood is the top-ranked 125-pounder. He missed the postseason last year due to injury, but he finished second in the state as a sophomore and freshman at 112 and 103, respectively.

Senior Kaelan Richards is ranked second at 140. He finished third in the state at 135 last season and was 50-6 overall.

Junior Aaron Morgan holds the 152 spot and is ranked sixth. He was eighth a season ago at 145 and went 40-12.

Senior Dean Vettese is ranked fourth at 160. As a 140-pounder last season, he finished third and was 45-7.

Junior Schwan Shadia returns to 189 after placing seventh at the same weight last season, going 46-16 overall.

“We know, as a collective group, that on paper, we’re really good, but we don’t talk about it,” Lafferty said. “We take it one match at a time.”

Richards and Wood said they know there are high expectations, but the key is keeping perspective.

“There’s always pressure. Even the best kids feel pressure,” Richards said. “You don’t let it overcome you.”

Wood has been a win away from an individual state championship twice but said he’d rather win a team one this season.

“Every day, it’s on our mind to get on that podium. It’s always our goal to get up to that top step,” he said.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.