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 West Bloomfield High’s Adam Purrenhage, left, battles during the second day of the Oakland County wrestling tournament. The Lakers finished 18th as a team.

West Bloomfield High’s Adam Purrenhage, left, battles during the second day of the Oakland County wrestling tournament. The Lakers finished 18th as a team.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Local grapplers battle at Oakland County tournament

By: Zachary Manning | C&G Newspapers | Published January 3, 2020


OAKLAND COUNTY — The top wrestlers from Oakland County met on the mat Dec. 20-21, looking to gain bragging rights at the Oakland County Championship.

The tournament routinely features some of the top teams and wrestlers in the state, and provides great competition throughout the two days.

“I think it’s one of the toughest tournaments in the state year in and year out,” Rochester Adams coach Mike Holtz said. “It’s a great barometer of finding out who you are and what you’re about.”

This year, no one could keep pace with Novi Detroit Catholic Central, which ran away with the title, finishing with 381 points. Clarkston High (211.5), Oxford High (197.5), Waterford Kettering (186) and Lake Orion High (166) rounded out the top five.

The Shamrocks had five champions and seven second-place finishers. Steven Kolcheff, Brendin Yatooma, Manny Rojas, Derek Gilcher and Josh Edmond won their respective weight classes for Catholic Central.

“It’s gratifying, considering how rich of a tradition Oakland County wrestling has developed,” Shamrocks coach Mitch Hancock said of winning the tournament. “We’re proud to represent Oakland County on the regional, state and national level.”

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (161), Holly High (160.5), Rochester Adams (151), Rochester High (124), Bloomfield Hills High (79), South Lyon High (74.5), Birmingham Brother Rice (68), Birmingham Seaholm (68), Waterford Mott (65), Walled Lake Northern (61), Auburn Hills Avondale (60.5), Berkley High (60.5), West Bloomfield High (57), Birmingham Groves (56) and Ferndale High (52) rounded out the top 20.

Holtz liked the way his team competed against some of the county and state’s best. The Highlanders had seven placers: Noah Vibert, Aaron Wildrick, Timmy Anderson, Mohammad Murray, Joe Dreon, Kevin Gibbons and Sean Phalen.

“It was a pretty tough tournament, as always,” Holtz said. “Overall, I think we did pretty well. I was pleased, and I think that it’s something to build off of.”

Rounding out the field were Troy High (51), Ortonville Brandon (50), South Lyon East (49), Walled Lake Western (47), Milford High (44), Troy Athens (42), Pontiac High (41.5), White Lake Lakeland (41), Walled Lake Central (34), Farmington High (32), Hazel Park High (29), Novi High (26), Southfield A&T (25), Royal Oak High (19), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (18), Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (16) and North Farmington (12).

Though Farmington High didn’t have the finish it wanted, assistant coach Howard Welsh said his guys were still able to learn a lot from the experience.

“For the guys that are there, I think they have a better understanding of what it takes to be an elite wrestler,” Welsh said. “When you’re at a tournament like this and you see the best kids there, some of the best kids in the state are wrestling, you get a better understanding of what you need to do to improve to get to a better level of wrestling for yourself.”