Tower wrestling moves into MAC Red Division

By: Brad D. Bates | Warren Weekly | Published January 17, 2011

 Warren Woods Tower wrestling coach Greg Mayer and the Titans’ bench encourage one of their grapplers during a match against Chippewa Valley Jan. 6 at Roseville High.

Warren Woods Tower wrestling coach Greg Mayer and the Titans’ bench encourage one of their grapplers during a match against Chippewa Valley Jan. 6 at Roseville High.

Photo by Deb Jacques

WARREN — Warren Woods Tower wrestling coach Greg Mayer’s quest to make sure his team gets the most out of every match it wrestles took another step forward Jan. 6.

The Titans wrestled their first dual meets as members of the Macomb Area Conference Red Division Jan. 6 at Roseville High, falling to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 48-27 and Anchor Bay High 35-25.

With those matches, Tower’s grapplers became the first athletic program at their school to be a part of the Red Division and staked their claim as one of Macomb County’s top squads.

“I don’t look at it as an honor; it’s the right place for us,” Mayer said Jan. 5. “We’ve done well consistently, and I think it was time for our program to move.”

Tower’s road to the Red was paved with three MAC White tournament titles and two White dual-meet crowns from 2006-07 to 2009-10.

And though they’re the new kids on the block in the Red, Mayer hopes to see that string of success continue.

“I feel like we wrestle a pretty darn tough schedule from the start to the end of the year, so I don’t think it will be a culture shock at all,” Mayer said of the transition from the MAC White to MAC Red.

“I would love to win the league title,” Mayer added. “I think it’s important that you win the league and try to win a state title. Kids work too hard at this sport to go out just to get prepared. They want to win, and they’re motivated to be successful.”

If that is to happen, Mayer said his wrestlers, which won the 2010 Warren City Title and placed 10th at the 2010 Macomb County Championships, need to understand the expanded role athletes have in the Red.

“I don’t know if our kids understand how competitive it will be and how important each and every kid is to our lineup, whether they’re starters or backup guys,” Mayer said. “You can still compete in some dual meets if you have a guy out, but it’s awfully hard in the Red.

“I can see where every dual meet should be a nail-biter, and if you go in handicapped, it’s going to be a struggle,” he continued.

“Our younger guys and our new guys have to see their value, and know that their number can be called and will be called at any time,” Mayer added. “Guys go down with injury, eligibility or skin issues, and you need not to have just a warm body but a capable body that can go in there and get the job done.”

As grapplers are asked to step up and fill in against such teams as Romeo High, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley and Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse — which finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, at the Macomb County Championships — veterans like junior 160-pounder James Agrusa said it’s important for them to remember everything they’ve learned.

“They have to do their best and do what they do in the practice room,” Agrusa said. “They need to work hard, stay off their backs, and if they find themselves there, just work hard to get out of it.”

Placing every wrestler against tough competition extends beyond the varsity ranks.

“When you look at consistency in the numbers of the (MAC Red) programs, we’re able to get our JV wrestlers more involved,” Mayer said.

“I think that’s actually the biggest reason for us. The level of competition and the ability to get all our wrestlers matches every night is the biggest reason for us to move.”

And that move will only help reaffirm the Titans’ quest to maintain the program’s successful path.

“We want to be around the best schools we can, and I think the MAC Red is the best place to get it done,” Mayer said.