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Rochester High wrestling wins first regional title

Published February 20, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Rochester High’s Josh Wood works for a pin against his Troy High opponent Feb. 13 at Oxford High in a Division 1 team regional. The Falcons dominated the tournament and are heading to the state finals.

OXFORD — Rochester High wrestling coach Frank Lafferty has been to the team wrestling state finals in Battle Creek before as an assistant with Clarkston High in the mid 1990s.

At that time, he watched and coached his sons on the Wolves team.

But when his Falcons make the trip Feb. 22 for the Division 1 final, it’ll be just as special.

“This is just as big for me. These are all my sons,” he said after Rochester punched its ticket, beating Utica Eisenhower in a Division 1 regional final. “These kids worked hard for this.”

The trip to the finals is a first for Rochester, a program that has been plenty close the past three seasons but has fallen just short.

“It feels amazing, especially being a senior captain. This is probably the best team Rochester has ever had,” senior Kaelen Richards said. “A lot of it has to do with the coaching. They do a great job of teaching us. We had come up short before, but we finally made a push over the edge.”

The Falcons earned the trip in dominating fashion. Rochester beat Eisenhower 66-11 Feb. 13 at Oxford High after taking down Troy High 68-10.

Rochester lost only four of the 28 regional matches, and two of them were by void.

“We definitely couldn’t look past these teams,” Richards said. “We came together at the right time.”

Battling injuries for most of the season, the Falcons are 23-11 overall, but Lafferty said it wasn’t until the postseason began that he had an injury-free lineup.

“It isn’t over, but our goal was to get to Battle Creek and then take it one match at a time,” Lafferty said. “We know, and they know, that we can do some damage.”

Rochester takes on Temperance Bedford at 3:15 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

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