AUBURN HILLS — With 11 seconds remaining in his match, Rochester High junior Shwan Shadaia was able to peel away Clarkston High’s Chris Calvano’s hold for an escape.
The single point proved to be the difference in the 189-pound Division 1 wrestling state championship match March 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Shadaia won with a 4-3 decision, becoming the school’s second state champion in history.
“It’s awesome — just the title itself makes me happy. I’m a state champion,” Shadaia said.
As the final second ticked off the clock, the celebration began for Shadaia, coach Frank Lafferty and assistant Jon Farley.
Lafferty leapt in Shadaia’s arms, flipping the script on the scene that often plays out after a state final.
“I’m too old; I wasn’t catching him,” the veteran coach said.
“I’m not sure he could bear my weight, so I thought we’d come up with a new twist,” Shadaia said with a laugh.
The grappler finishes the year 54-1 overall. This was the second time he’s taken on Calvano, beating him in a 5-2 decision for the Oakland Activities Association Red Division title.
“I felt like everyone expected me to win, but I just tried to make it like a practice — go through my routine, don’t add the pressure,” Shadaia said.
This time around, neither wrestler scored in the first period. Shadaia led 1-0 after two periods, scoring with an escape with 1:53 left in the frame.
In the third, Calvano tied it 1-1 with an escape of his own with 1:54 left.
Shadaia then went up 3-1 with a takedown on the edge of the mat with just over a minute remaining. Calvano quickly knotted it back up 3-3 with a reversal with 55 seconds remaining.
Shadaia then used most of the mat, circling around the edge and loosening Calvano’s grip for the escape and eventual state championship.
“He worked hard all year. He deserves it,” Lafferty said. “He’s an awesome wrestler and a really good kid.”
Rochester finished the tournament with six state placers, which is the second most for any team in D-1. Novi Detroit Catholic Central placed eight.
“For a coach, you want to get as many state placers and state champions as you can. So we kind of fulfilled his goal and our goal,” Lafferty said.