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Auburn Hills

Published March 6, 2012

Stoney Creek wrestling duo end prep careers on podium

» click to enlarge «
Rochester Hills Stoney Creek senior Serge Andreou, right, locks in with an opponent in the opening round of the Division 1 state final March 1-3 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Andreou finished fourth at 215 pounds.

AUBURN HILLS — As Rochester Hills Stoney Creek wrestler Nick Gajdzik ascended the podium, taking his spot at the top March 3, his friend, Serge Andreou, made sure to get back on The Palace floor to watch.

The duo has spent the last four years as wrestling partners and friends. This season, Gajdzik won the Division 1 state championship and Andreou finished fourth at 215 pounds.

“It was a journey,” Andreou said. “Though I didn’t finish the way I wanted, Nick did, which is extremely satisfying.”

The grapplers’ journey included a weight switch this year. Last season, Gajdzik finished second in the state at 215, while Andreou was eighth at heavyweight.

“We made the decision after football. We were both about the same weight, and my frame is better for a heavyweight,” Gajdzik said during the first-round of competition. “We’ve both been pretty successful.”

Stoney Creek coach Jeff Smart believes the success of both depended on each other.

“I’m a big believer, especially in wrestling, that you need someone to make you better, someone that is motivated to improve, and there’s no doubt they made each other better,” he said.

Smart said Andreou had to lose over 20 pounds to get down to 215.

“Serge is an ultimate kid for a coach,” Smart said. “He works with the younger kids in practice, and he’s real easy to get along with. He’s a complete team player.”

For Gajdzik, he ends his career as a three-time state placer and 46-0 this season. He also is Stoney Creek’s first state champion.

“It feels awesome. I won’t lie, it feels awesome,” he said. “Last year was one of the worst moments in my life losing the state title. I came back with only one goal this season, and that was to win a state championship.

“A perfect record was never my goal this season … but it’s a very nice thing to add to it.”

Gajdzik beat Temperance Bedford’s Logan Rimmer 2-1 in the final, scoring on a reversal late in the second period and only giving up an escape in the third.

“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Smart said. “It’s nice to see him get rewarded for all his effort. No one goes harder than him in the offseason. It all paid off. The mat composure, awareness, I think he did a great job out there.”

Smart admitted the duo’s presence will be missed in the wrestling room next season.

“They get straight A’s in the classroom, they work hard in practice, and they do all the right things,” Smart said.

Andreou finished watching the ceremony, which included Smart putting the championship medal around Gajdzik’s neck.

He then waited for his coach and friend to return, giving each a big hug before they all walked off the floor together.

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