Warren Woods Tower senior Jack Pehote grapples with an opponent from Madison Heights Lamphere during the Division 2 regional semifinals Feb. 15. Pehote earned a major decision at 140 during the state quarterfinal Feb. 23, helping the Titans top Allendale High 41-29.

Warren Woods Tower senior Jack Pehote grapples with an opponent from Madison Heights Lamphere during the Division 2 regional semifinals Feb. 15. Pehote earned a major decision at 140 during the state quarterfinal Feb. 23, helping the Titans top Allendale High 41-29.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Tower tops Allendale in wrestling quarterfinals

The Titans advance to the second day of the state finals for a second straight year

By: Timothy Pontzer | Warren Weekly | Published February 23, 2018

KALAMAZOO — For the second straight year, Warren Woods Tower advanced to the Division 2 state semifinals, doing so via a 41-29 victory over Allendale High Feb. 23 at Wings Events Center.

The Titans improved to 26-5 overall, notching four pins and a pair of major decisions in a back-and-forth affair. The contest started with the 215 weight class, seeing four lead changes through the first four bouts before seeing the night's only tie at 12-12 after five.

The No. 2 seed in the bracket, Tower responded with a bit of a run as freshman Matt Booth collected three team points at 119. Junior David Stepanian earned a major decision at 125 followed by a pin from junior Chaise Mayer at 130.

"Momentum in dual meets are huge," Tower coach Greg Mayer said. "It changes the tide, it changes the feel and it changes the bench, but more than anything it changes the score. Any time you can get a run going against quality teams it's a great thing."

Allendale responded with pins at 135 and 145, but senior Jack Pehote split that with a major decision at 140. Tower put together another run late as junior Keff O'Connell notched a pin at 152, senior Austin Frederick won at 160 and senior Jajuan Lovejoy earned a pin at 171.

"We closed it out with some seniors," Mayer remarked. "They really gave us their best effort. That's all you can ask for."

Allendale closed out the contest with a pin at 189. Mayer praised the opposition, saying it was a tough test to start things in Kalamazoo.

"This is a quality, quality team that we just wrestled," Mayer said. "My hat is off to them and I didn't expect anything less. This is where we're at, this is the state finals and everyone is fighting for their lives. What would they be saving it for?"

The trip to the west side of the state marks the third straight time that Tower is participating in the event. In 2016, Tower fell in the quarterfinal. Last season saw Tower fall to Lowell High in the state final, marking the first and only loss for the Titans that year, closing out at 28-1.

"This year we're not sneaking up on anyone," Mayer explained. "Just because we're a two seed doesn't mean we're banking on anything. This is a quality field here. From a comfort level, it eases the kid's minds a little bit that have been here before. But we have a lot of kids that have never been here so it's a bigger challenge for them. From the perspective of the coaching staff, we have a better understand of how this all works."

On the other side of the bracket, Gaylord High topped Goodrich High 34-22. Gaylord will clash with Tower at 12 p.m. Feb 24, marking the first meeting between the sides this season. 

Rounding out the D-2 field, Lowell beat Tecumseh High 52-17 and Eaton Rapids High bested Stevensville Lakeshore 35-26. Lowell is looking for a fifth straight state title.