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Eastpointe, Roseville

Roseville, East Detroit grapplers two groups of many getting set for 40th Macomb County Invitational

December 18, 2013

ROSEVILLE — Before he took over as athletic director at Roseville High, Major Mickens served as an assistant and head coach of the school’s wrestling team.
He has been a part of a number of Macomb County Wrestling Invitationals and believes the tournament is one of the biggest in the country for the sport.

“The coaches and wrestlers always put a lot of emphasis on this tournament because, if a wrestler from your school or your entire team wins a title there, you’re probably one of the best teams in the state,” said Mickens, who has coached several wrestlers who reached the individual state finals and guided the Panthers to the team state finals in 2009.

Wrestlers from Roseville and East Detroit high schools, and every high school in Macomb County, for that matter, will test their mettle in what can be deemed the first major tournament of the 2013-14 season when the Macomb County Wrestling Invitational takes place Dec. 20-21.

The tournament begins with preliminary matches set for 4 p.m. Dec. 20, with matches taking place at Roseville High and Warren Woods Tower. The finals take place starting at 9 a.m. Dec. 14 at Roseville High.

Cost to attend the event is $5 for either day.

“Coaches and wrestlers use this tournament as a measuring stick,” Sterling Heights High coach Shawn Murray said.

“This is one of those events that’s on everybody’s calendar each season, and for the wrestlers, it’s a chance for them to match up with some of the best wrestlers in the state. Macomb County always has great wrestling, and this tournament will be no different.”

Individual titles will be awarded in 14 weight classes at the 2013 invite. Richmond High has won the last two county invite team titles. Last season’s invite saw Macomb Dakota finish second with 204, while Anchor Bay (189), Warren Lincoln (133) and Romeo High (122) round out the top five.

“This tournament means a lot to a lot of people,” Mickens said. “You go out there to show you’re one of the top wrestlers in a county that has a lot of great wrestling talent. It’s early in the season, but this tournament can set the tone.”

Only two wrestlers have won individual titles in each of their four years as competitors, Roseville High’s Doug Zundel (2008-12) and Algonac High’s Al Biland (1983-86).

“Oakland and Macomb county have both been putting their tournaments on for a long time,” Murray said. “We’ve got a lot of talented teams here. Richmond is really good, and we have up-and-coming programs at Anchor Bay, Macomb Dakota and Sterling Heights Stevenson. Utica Ford II is strong, and so is Madison Heights Lamphere and Warren Lincoln.

“There’s going to be a lot of talent on display.”

For more information, call the host sites — Tower (586) 439-4566 and Roseville (586) 445-5577.

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