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January 22, 2014

Southfield High wrestling finding its stride

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Southfield High’s Ti’Mon Reed looks for an opening against his opponent in a match earlier this season.

SOUTHFIELD — Southfield High’s Tim Conley is back in a familiar role, leading the Blue Jays wrestling program.

Conley was head coach from 1998 -2005 before taking the mantle again this winter.

“These kids really are here to work hard. They come to practice, work hard, do what they’re coached, and that really makes it worthwhile,” Conley said.

Conley is also the football coach at Southfield and led the squad to an Oakland Activities Association White Division championship in the fall, giving him little time to ease into the wrestling season.

“There were 170 kids that played football at Southfield. That was a lot of work. Then to come here and have 59 kids come out for wrestling, the administrative part of it has been a little overwhelming, but I was the athletic director for three years, so I’m kind of used to multitasking,” Conley said.

Of the 59 kids to try out, six of them are returning starters from a squad that won the OAA Blue last season.

This year, the Blue Jays have moved to the White and were 4-2 in the division at press time and 10-4 overall.

“In the early season, we didn’t really know what to expect,” Conley said. “Now, the guys are coming along real well. We think we can finish second in our league, and then try and win the league tournament.”

Seniors Davion Williams, Keith Lee, Ezekiel Baker and Robert Woods lead the team.

Williams is 32-4 overall at 140 pounds. The returning state qualifier finished fourth at the Oakland County Tournament in December.

Lee is 28-8 wrestling between 130-135. He finished seventh in the count; Woods is 23-10 and also wrestles between 130-135.

Baker is 18-6 at heavyweight and was fourth in the county; junior Makene Culpepper also wrestles at heavyweight and is 11-2. He qualified for individual regionals last season.

Along with contending for a division title, Conley said a goal is to also win a Division 1 team district.

“The young guys are showing a lot of improvement, and there’s a lot of ability, so we have to just keep improving and hopefully peak at the right time,” Conley said.