WARREN — It wasn't easy, but Roseville High's wrestling team punched its ticket to the state finals with a 43-28 win over Sterling Height High in a regional final at Warren Cousino High Feb. 15.
Down 22-12 going into the 160-pound bout, Panthers grappler Alex Mafteiu, in a bout that went a full three rounds, fought his way to three points for his team, cutting the Stallions' lead to seven. Roseville, including the Mafteui decision, would go on to finish the regional final on a 31-6 run, culminating with three straight pins — worth six points each — to close out the 14-match final.
"I knew I needed to score some points for us, so I just went out and fought as hard as I could," Mafteui said.
With their comeback, the Panthers are the only local team to advance to the state finals.
"We just came together as a team," Panthers coach Davon Gray said. "Even when we got down, we just kept going after it and fought our way to a win."
Roseville advances to the state finals for the third year in a row. Last season, the Panthers fell in the opening round. This year's finals take place Feb. 24-25 in Battle Creek. Pairings and a schedule will be available Feb. 19 at www.mhsaa.com.
"We know it'll be a challenge, but this is what we work for all season long," Gray said. "We'll be confident going in."