Oakland County coverage-area grapplers battle for state titles

By: Christian Davis, | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 5, 2016

AUBURN HILLS — Walled Lake Central’s Ben Freeman put an exclamation mark on a perfect season.

The junior won the Division 1 135-pound state championship, pinning Westland John Glenn’s John Siemasz in the first period March 5 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

“He went out there and took care of business,” Central coach Al Freeman said. “Whether it was going to go the whole match or not, he was going out there to set the pace. … If he goes out there like a horse out of the gate, good things usually happen.”

Freeman ends the season 42-0 overall. He’s lost one match in his high school career, which came by injury default as a freshman.

It’s also Freeman’s third straight title, winning 125 last season and 103 as a freshman.

Next winter he’ll go for his ultimate goal, four state championships.

“I just have to stay focused. Setting my goals really high helps a lot,” he said. “A lot of people get nervous because it’s the biggest tournament of the season. When I get nervous, I just think about what I’m trying to accomplish as an ultimate goal, and it makes this seem really small. That seems to help.”

Freeman led the match 8-3 before putting Siemasz on his back with 42 seconds left in the period.

Siemasz finishes the season 52-4.

In other local wrestling:

Rochester High’s Ryan Morgan came one match short of a D-1 state championship.

The senior grappler fell to Grandville High’s Kameron Bush 7-6 at 152 pounds.

“He did a great job and is a great kid,” Rochester coach Frank Lafferty said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed about. Everyone out here is a winner. (In time), he’ll know how far he went.”

Morgan trailed 4-1 after the first period. In the second, he came out firing, scoring a takedown 16 seconds into the frame to cut the lead 4-3. Bush escaped 30 seconds later, but Morgan again scored a takedown with a minute left in the second to tie it at 5-5.

Morgan scored again early in the third with an escape to take a 6-5 advantage, but Bush was able to take Morgan down with 1:06 left in the match to make it 7-6.

Despite several close calls, Morgan wasn’t able to escape in the final minute.

He finishes the year 30-3 overall. Bush ends 44-2.

Bloomfield Hills High’s Kajuan Caldwell fell in his bid for a state title.

The senior was pinned by Livonia Franklin’s Nathan Atienza in the first round of the 145-pound D-1 state title match.

It was the first loss of the season for Caldwell and first time he was taken down, finishing the season 26-1 overall.

“I was expecting it, but it just happened so fast,” Caldwell said. “It was a really good year. I wouldn’t have changed anything except this last match.”

Bloomfield Hills coach Tony Scigliano said his grappler was injured for half the year and was fortunate to get in the state tournament.

“We didn’t know if he’d even get to the district, so to get to the state final is pretty good,” the coach said. “He’s definitely at the level where he could have won this, but he just got caught.”

Atienza finishes 57-0.