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Warren

March 7, 2014

Tower’s Pipes wins first wrestling state title in program history

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Warren Woods Tower senior 125-pound grappler Nick Pipes captured a D-2 state title in his fourth and final trip to the MHSAA state finals. Pipes is pictured shortly after the state title match, which took place March 1 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

AUBURN HILLS — Filled with elation after having his hand raised by a referee, Warren Woods Tower senior 125-pound wrestler Nick Pipes finally earned the title all prep wrestlers set out to put on their résumé: state champion.

“This is surreal,” Pipes said. “I never thought this would happen.”

Pipes outlasted Stevensville Lakeshore’s Patrick Blommel 6-1 to win a Division 2 state championship at the 2014 Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals.

The finals took place March 1 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The trip to The Palace was the fourth straight for Pipes and marked the first time he placed at the event. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class earn All-State honors.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending,” said Pipes, who ends the season at 50-5. “I’ve always been the underdog, and I’ve always come out the underdog. I’ve never placed. Being seeded (No. 1 in my weight class)  this year, I set a higher standard for myself and came in more confident, and I thought that helped a lot.”

Pipes recorded takedowns in the first and second periods to take a 4-0 lead into the final stanza. Blommel got a point on an escape to cut Pipes’ lead to 4-1 late in the match. Pipes got another takedown late in the third to seal the win.

“This is huge. It’s the first (state champion) in our school’s history and the first one I’ve coached,” said Titans coach Greg Mayer, in his 15th year with the program. “We’ve certainly had guys who we thought could get this done, but Nick’s the first. I’m thrilled for him.”

Mayer said the final minutes of the state-title bout were nerve-racking. He said there’s nothing he could have done as a coach but sit and watch.

“The work is done in the wrestling room, and you hope it pays off. And for Nick, it did,” Mayer said. “I couldn’t be more excited for him. Nick’s a kid who’s paid his dues. He works hard. He exemplifies what our program is all about and lets everyone know we can get it done.”

Following his win, Pipes said he believed he wrestled strongly throughout the state finals. He said he didn’t think he made any mistakes during the tournament.

“I’ll take not placing my first three times here to have won a state title now over anything,” Pipes said. “It’s a surreal feeling. This means the world. It means the world to our athletic program.

“Tower programs, not just wrestling, have done great things this season. For me to win a state title just adds to it. I had everyone at the school wishing me luck, because I know everyone in the school wanted me to make history just as much as I did.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.