UTICA — Several wrestlers from the Utica and Shelby Township will be participating in the MHSAA state individual championships beginning Feb. 27.
Senior Sam Mason will be representing the Chieftains in the 171-pound weight class. Mason boasts a 40-9 record this year while taking second place at the district tournament and third at regionals.
Utica coach Clint Davis said Mason appeared to be especially motivated at the regional meet.
“It’s hard to read Sam sometimes because he’s always even-keel, but that day, he had that look in his eye and he wrestled very well,” Davis said.
For Mason, making it to states is the culmination of working toward his ultimate goal.
“Coming in as a freshman, I made it a personal goal to make it up on the ‘Wall of Fame,’ and it’s great to have accomplished that,” Mason said.
Mason, a two-year captain, will be wrestling against Drew Garcia, of Novi Detroit Catholic Central, in his opening round bout.
Utica Eisenhower will be sending three wrestlers to the state finals in Connor McDill (140 pounds), Andrew Jaracz (103 pounds) and Carlo Marceau (125 pounds).
McDill, a junior, has a 35-5 record heading to the state tournament. He took second at districts and third at regionals, and he will be wrestling against Robert Freter, of Ann Arbor Pioneer, in the opening round of states.
McDill qualified for states during his freshman season, and Eisenhower coach Dave Drath said that experience will help him this time around.
“Sometimes, you get a kid who gets awful big-eyed walking with the Grand March and everything, so I think that’s a big help to him, and hopefully, that will transfer down to the other guys,” Drath said.
Jaracz, a sophomore, has a 28-9 record and went from a third-place finish at districts to a second-place finish at regionals. Jaracz will be facing John Siemasz, of Westland John Glenn, in the first round of the 103-pound bracket.
“He’s (Jaracz) got a very unique style and can kind of confound people from time to time. I’m still trying to figure it out; you just never know what’s coming,” Drath said of his 103-pounder.
Marceau (39-9) is also a sophomore and took third at districts and regionals. He will be facing Brad Stewart, of Temperance Bedford, to start his state tournament.
Marceau moved up two weight classes from 112 pounds last year, but he said it was a smooth transition.
“I was able to adjust pretty well. Some of the guys are a little bigger than me, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I’ve been able to get takedowns more often and been better at defending shots,” Marceau said of his improvement in the new weight class.
The MHSAA individual state finals will begin Feb. 27, with the first bouts beginning at 2:00 p.m. with the 112-pound weight class. Quarterfinals and semifinals of the championship bracket are Feb. 28, with the finals taking place on March 1. All matches will be held at The Palace of Auburn Hills.