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 Fraser High's Matthew Mallory, left, gets ready to battle in the Division 1 individual states final March 6 at Ford Field.

Fraser High's Matthew Mallory, left, gets ready to battle in the Division 1 individual states final March 6 at Ford Field.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Local wrestlers battle Michigan’s best at state finals

By: Zachary Manning | C&G Newspapers | Published March 9, 2020

 West Bloomfield High's Jeremy Sarter works to take down his opponent at the D-1 state finals.

West Bloomfield High's Jeremy Sarter works to take down his opponent at the D-1 state finals.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

 Utica Ford II's Gary Nilson stands on the podium after finishing third at 152 pounds.

Utica Ford II's Gary Nilson stands on the podium after finishing third at 152 pounds.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

DETROIT –– With state titles on the line, Ford Field hosted the individual wrestling state finals March 6-7.

Nearly 900 grapplers from across the state came to compete, with the top eight in each weight class and division earning All-State honors.

This year, a number of wrestlers from the C & G Sports coverage area were able to claim that honor.

Macomb Dakota’s Brendan Ferretti knows a bit about finding success at the state tournament. He won his second consecutive individual state title, this year at 119 pounds. Last year, he was the state champion at 112. 

He’s made the state finals in each of his first three seasons and will have the opportunity to do so again as a senior next season. He finished third as a freshman in 2018.

“I love it. I thrive off it honestly. It makes me wrestle so much better I think,” Ferretti said of the atmosphere. “Having all these people watching me along with my friends and family, I love to wrestle in front of all these people.”

Utica Ford II junior 152-pounder Gary Nilson admitted he was unsure he could even make it back to competing at a high level after suffering a knee injury in the 2018 postseason.

Nilson has battled back to earn All-State honors in each of the last two seasons. Nilson finished third in his weight class this season.

“This is a big accomplishment,” Nilson said. “Taking third is pretty good, but I’m a little disappointed. There’s always next year.”

West Bloomfield High’s Jeremy Sarter said that early in his career he looked up to the grapplers that were qualifying and placing at states, and he hoped to one day be in that same position.

In his final season, Sarter was able to accomplish that goal, taking sixth place at 125 pounds. For him, it was a culmination of all the work he’s put in throughout his career.

“It felt really good to finish my way out like that,” Sarter said. “After not making it out of regionals last year, I just worked as hard as I could in the offseason to get better and improve, and it’s paid off.”

Fraser High junior Matthew Mallory placed fourth in the D-1 at 140. Although he qualified last year, this season was his first competing at the state finals.

“I got injured by the end of the year, so I couldn’t wrestle,” Mallory said. “Ever since then I’ve been really thirsty for it. … I’m very happy right now.”

Madison Heights Bishop Foley senior Luke Bishop placed seventh in D-3 at heavyweight. Although he wanted to go even further, his accomplishment is one he described as “really special.”

“It’ll stick with me for the rest of my life,” Bishop said. “Nobody can change that, that I was All-State. It’s great.”