Warren Woods Tower falls 32-21 to Lowell High in D-2 title match

Titans finish season 28-1

By: Timothy Pontzer | Warren Weekly | Published February 25, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT — Warren Woods Tower came close to earning the school's first team championship in any sport as the wrestling squad fell 32-21 to Lowell High in the Division 2 state title match on Feb. 25 at Central Michigan University.

The defeat marked the first and only blemish on the season, as the Titans finish 28-1 overall.

"We're not satisfied, second is not the goal," said Tower coach Greg Mayer. "I know that my kids aren't satisfied, and I know that they will do the work necessary to come back here next year for another opportunity to compete."

Lowell earned its fourth straight D-2 trophy, jumping out to a 25-7 lead through nine bouts. The Titans responded with a 14-0 scamper of their own, aided by a pin by sophomore David Stepanian (103 pounds) and major decisions by sophomore Chaise Mayer (112) and senior Elijuh Weaver (119).

With the scoreboard reading 25-21 and only two matches remaining, controversy ensued in the 125 pairing. In the third period with the score tied at zero, four straight stalling penalties were called against WWT junior Brandon Harger in the span of 15 seconds. The infractions were awarded with less than 90 seconds remaining in the match, much to the chagrin of Mayer and his staff.

"It was pretty frustrating," Mayer said. "With the way that match ended, I didn't feel like the right calls were made in that situation and how it all went down."

Harger's opponent added an escape and late takedown to win the battle 7-0 and push the lead to 28-21, an insurmountable margin. While it helped to clinch the title, Lowell coach R.J. Boudro admitted the calls were questionable.

"The way the 125 match ended was sad, but we still would've won 2-0," Boudro said. "Those stalling calls were kind of weird. It was still a great duel and the fans got what they came for, a phenomenal fight."

Mayer was clearly frustrated with the calls, but he pointed to that 14-0 run as a span that could have produced more for his team.

"We missed out on some bonus-point opportunities in the lower weights," Mayer said. "I thought that was a great opportunity for us, but hats off to the Lowell kids, they wrestled their butts off to stop our guys from doing that."

"We fought for every inch of the mat and worked for every point, and that's how you win state titles," Boudro said. "I'm not saying Tower didn't, but we were just able to hold points at 112 and 119, and that kind of sealed the door for us."

The Lowell skipper praised Tower, calling them a tough matchup in each class. An Armada High graduate, Boudro recalled learning from Mayer at an early age.

"I grew up in Macomb County and wrestled with Greg Mayer, so to face him in the finals, it was cool for me," Boudro said. "When I was in high school, Greg did a camp at Armada where I was. He's a phenomenal coach and taught me a lot. I know a lot about Tower, they have a lot of studs on that team. I'm glad to see that, it is nice to see different people coming through here and challenging us. To beat Greg Mayer in the state final is an honor."

Mayer lamented the loss, but was pleased with the season's body of work, the best campaign in program history.

"This was absolutely a great year for us, and that started at practice on Day One," Mayer said. "These guys showed up ready to work. I hope they take away the memories of each other and the time shared through the whole season with tonight being the culminating moment. It was a great season and no one can take that away from them. I really hope they take away that this hurts really bad to fall short, and that can be motivation for later."

The Titans return all but three starters for next season. They will send a school-record 11 grapplers to the individual state championships on March 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

"I think they're motivated enough," Mayer said of those headed to the Palace. "I don't know if they need any extra motivation. This right here was more important to these guys than next week. That doesn't mean they're not going to wrestle hard there, but this was really important."