Roseville, EastpointeFebruary 14, 2012
Roseville downs Fraser for second straight district title, East Detroit falls in district semis
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
FRASER — Roseville High senior 140-pound wrestler Kirk Wawrzyniak said his team’s performance on its way to a Division 1 district title heightened his belief the Panthers can win a state championship.
“These wins were definitely a confidence builder,” Wawrzyniak said after his squad downed host Fraser High 52-24 in a district final matchup Feb. 8 at Fraser.
“Winning this is big, especially two years in a row, but we understand what we still have ahead of us.”
The Panthers move on to face the winner of the Birmingham Groves district tournament Feb. 15 at Warren Cousino High in a D-1 regional semifinal.
The win gives Roseville coach Davon Gray his second district title in two year as Panthers coach.
Gray said he used the entire regular season as preparation for these postseason bouts.
“You always want your team to peak at the right time, and I think that’s what we have going on right now,” said Gray, who won individual state championships in 1993 and 1994 as a member of the Roseville team.
“We came in prepared and with the mindset that we wanted our season to continue. We had a lot of guys who knew they’d have to step up, and that’s what they did.”
The Panthers never trailed in the district final bout, building a 46-6 lead going into the last four bouts of the 14-match showdown.
Roseville recorded major decisions — pins worth six points each — in six of the 14 bouts, while 12 of the 24 points the Ramblers recorded came via voids in two of the upper weight classes.
“Late in the season, we did a lot of work on conditioning, so we could be ready for these matches,” Gray said. “We know if we’re in tip-top shape, we can compete with anybody.”
Wawrzyniak recorded the fastest win of the night, pinning his opponent’s shoulders to the mat 24 seconds into the first round of his 140-pound bout.
“Roseville’s a tough team with good wrestlers and a good coaching staff, so we knew it’d be a tough match,” Fraser coach Ed Skowneski said. “Based on where we were when we started, I think we did a great job this season.”
In its district semifinal, the Panthers dispatched St. Clair Shores Lakeview 60-6. The Ramblers, on their way to the district final, knocked off East Detroit 48-16 to set up the match with Roseville.
“Our guys never gave up,” Shamrocks coach Nathan Thompson said. “That’s the best thing about this team is it always fought all the way to the end, even though we’d give up 24-36 points in a match because of voids.
“This team is full of sophomores and juniors, so if we can fill those voids, we could be a team to watch out for next year.”
Next year isn’t yet on the minds of Gray’s wrestlers, though.
“We’ve put the time in during practice and all season long, so we could make a run during the postseason,” Wawrzyniak said. “We’re not ready to be done yet.”
For more on the district, and for photos from the tourney, visit www.candgnews.com.