Walled Lake Central wrestling captures three individual state champions

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 4, 2017

 Walled Lake Central's Nick Freeman took home the 135-pound state title March 4 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Walled Lake Central's Nick Freeman took home the 135-pound state title March 4 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

AUBURN HILLS — From a first timer, to someone looking to overcome some past frustration to one of the best ever simply doing what he does.

In a variety of ways, it was a brilliant evening for the Walled Lake Central wrestling team Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills, as Ben Freeman, Nick Freeman and TJ Daughtery each took home individual state championships.

“Very cool. It really is,” coach Al Freeman said of his team. “I’m not surprised. We had the capability of this, but I’m happy for all our guys. I’m real proud. They had a great tournament.”

Mr. Perfect
While it was hardly a surprise, Central senior Ben Freeman capped his career with his fourth state title, defeating Birmingham Groves' Colin Takata by tech fall (24-7) in the 140-pound weight class.

“It’s so much of a relief,” Freeman said after the win. “It’s been building up every year (to this). It feels good to accomplish my goals. It feels great.”

Freeman started strong, leading 9-2 after the first two minutes.

He ended the match with five seconds remaining in the second frame.

“Do the stuff I’ve been doing all year and not changing anything,” he said when asked what was key. “I did the same stuff before the match. Eat the same stuff, feel good so I can go out and focus on wrestling.”

Freeman ended the season with a 34-0 record, and wrapped his career with a 163-1 mark and four state titles.

“Not at all,” he said when asked if it's sunk in as to the select company he’s joined. “I looked up to guys like that. To put myself at the same level feels weird.”

He's now the 22nd four-time state champion in state history.

“He had another great season,” Al Freeman said of his son. “He always sets his goals really high. Being a four-time champ wasn’t something he hadn't thought about. And he wanted to tech and pin everyone along the way.”

Ben Freeman’s lone loss was an injury forfeit his freshman season.

He said the whole day was something special for the Vikings’ program.

“I feel like our program keeps getting better every year,” he added. “You hope next year you have even more state champs.”

Finally on top
Central junior Nick Freeman is no stranger to The Palace, but the past two years had brought nothing but frustration in the final weekend.

Not so Saturday.

Wrestling in the 135-pound class, Freeman picked up his first career state championship with a 5-2 victory against Westland John Glenn's Anthony Gibson.

“It feels great,” Nick Freeman said after his win. “Everything was working. The hard work paid off.”

Freeman was at the finals for the third year in a row.

“It seemed like every time I came here, I’d fall short,” he said. “I just kept going back to practice and working on those things. It all paid off.”

Freeman ends his junior year with a 35-1 record.

Freshman finish
In the 103-pound final, Daughtery capped his freshman season on top and gained a little revenge in the process.

Taking on Macomb Dakota sophomore Nick Alayan, Daughtery turned what was a scoreless match late into a 4-3 victory and state title.

“This feels great,” Daughtery said afterwards.

The match was scoreless in the third frame until Daughtery scored a takedown with just 1:29 remaining.

Alayan escaped, but Daughtery scored another two points shortly after for a 4-1 lead and then held on for the one-point win.

“I had to stop his offense,” Daughtery said, adding that he knew the 2-0 lead late in the match wouldn’t be enough.

The two were wrestling against one another for the second time this season.

Alayan defeated Daughtery 6-0 in the regional round.

Daughtery closes his freshman year with a 42-5 record, while Alayan ends 51-6.