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February 27, 2013

Southfield High wrestlers qualify for state final

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Southfield High wrestlers, from left, Delando Davis-Wright, Ken Daniels and Davion Williams are heading to the Division 2 state finals Feb. 28 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

SOUTHFIELD — Southfield High wrestling coach Vernon Burden called it one of his best coaching memories of his career.

Senior Delando Davis-Wright had just punched his ticket to the individual state final in dramatic fashion. The 135-pounder scored a takedown with five seconds left in his blood-round regional match to qualify Feb. 16.

“He jumped in my arms and said, ‘Thanks coach.’ I had to stop him and say, ‘Thank you for letting me be part of your journey,’” Burden remembered.

The Division 2 regional turned out to be a monumental day for the Blue Jays. Southfield had three wrestlers qualify for the state final Feb. 28 to March 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, which is the most in school history.

Senior Ken Daniels qualified at 152 pounds, and junior Davion Williams is heading to the final at 130.

“That really made a lot of teams look at us different,” Burden said. “We had solid wrestling; we didn’t get tired; we were the first ones to the middle of the mat. I like seeing that. Seeing what we teach, what we’ve preached for four years, come out on the mat.”

The trio said they were excited for the opportunity.

“This is what most wrestlers dream of, and I have a chance to wrestle with the best,” Daniels said.

“It’s a blessing,” Davis-Wright added.

Davis-Wright has been with the program for four seasons. He’s 38-9 overall, and Burden said his style is to work from the outside. In the first round of the final, he takes on Holy High senior Anthony Gonzales (50-3).

Williams is in his third season with the Blue Jays and is 35-11. His coach said he’s methodical and looks for opportune takedowns. His first-round opponent is Sturgis High senior Ricardo Soto (43-9).

Daniels is in his second season with the program after transferring from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. He’s 37-10, and his coach said his style is more of a combination between Davis-Wright and Williams. Daniels takes on St. Johns High senior Josh Pennell (33-0).

All three credited their coaches for getting them to where they are now.

“My coaches are everything,” Davis-Wright said. “They showed me things that I didn’t see in myself.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.