MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Grosse Pointe South wrestling team came away from its 2014 season with a lot to be proud of.
Despite falling in a regional semifinal to Fraser, interim head coach Tony Cimmarrusti had nothing but praise for the way his team improved this season.
“It was a great season. For having 14 guys, we got beat by (Grosse Pointe) North by 40 points earlier in the year in December, and we ended up beating them for the district title. The kids really came a long way,” Cimmarrusti said.
Despite featuring 10 underclassmen out of 14 wrestlers, South won its first district title since 2008, its first-ever MAC Silver individual meet title, and it also shared the Silver Division dual-meet title with Lakeview.
Cimmarrusti pointed to the contributions of seniors Alex Manchester, Caleb Cimmarrusti and Colin Brannagan as stabilizing forces to help lead the young team.
“They were huge. They were great leaders. They just did a fantastic job, and they were assistant coaches in a lot of ways,” Cimmarrusti said.
To have such a turnaround throughout the season, Cimmarrusti also mentioned several younger wrestlers who stood out for South.
“We brought some kids along. We had a young freshman Matt Ground who wrestled particularly well. He went from losing to North to getting a pin the next time,” Cimmarrusti said. “Jonathan Gough was one of our sophomores who had a phenomenal year in winning 20 matches.”
Freshman Tyler Thompson’s season was especially indicative of the Blue Devils’ improvement this year.
“Tyler Thompson was our freshman who came out of nowhere, and he’s made it to (individual) regionals. He was an under-.500 wrestler this year and just took off the last few weeks of the season,” Cimmarrusti said.
Thompson placed fourth at the district tournament in the 112-pound weight class to qualify for the regional tournament.
Although South’s season ended in the regional semifinal, Cimmarrusti said that the boys can use the experience to improve for next year.
“It was a dream season. I’m very proud of the boys and thrilled with the season we had. I’m just so happy with their effort,” Cimmarusti said. “They’ll look at this (meet) and say we want to beat them next year and raise the bar.”