Roseville wrestling squad looks to put last season’s struggles behind them

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 7, 2011

 Roseville High senior 112-pound grappler Doug Zundel, left, practices technique with 
Panthers head coach Davon Gray. An individual state qualifier last season, Zundel believes this year’s group has the talent to make a run at a state title.

Roseville High senior 112-pound grappler Doug Zundel, left, practices technique with Panthers head coach Davon Gray. An individual state qualifier last season, Zundel believes this year’s group has the talent to make a run at a state title.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROSEVILLE — Finishing 2010-11 9-17, 0-7 in the Macomb Area Conference, seems to be a distant memory for Roseville High School wrestlers and coach Davon Gray.

“Everybody knows last year was a transitional year,” said Gray, in his second year at the helm. “They didn’t know what to expect from me and vice versa, and I think that played a role in how we did last year.”

Gray, who won state titles in 1993 and 1994 as a member of the Panthers, said he sees a renewed focus and work ethic in this year’s group. Gray and his staff so far have concentrated on teaching the Panthers the fundamentals of wrestling — positioning and coordination, along with takedown and pinning techniques.

“I think we’re a lot more organized than we were last year,” senior 145-pounder Kirk Wawrzyniak said. “There’s a lot more preparation, and we get right to business as soon as practice starts. There’s no more waiting around. We just get right to work.”

Gray has tabbed Wawrzyniak and 112-pound senior Doug Zundel as potential standouts on this year’s team.

The coach said Wawrzyniak has the skills to challenge for a state title, and added that Zundel, who placed sixth in last year’s state tournament, could have a great year, as well. Roseville’s first test comes in a matchup set for 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at Hazel Park High School.

Gray, a former varsity wrestler at Central Michigan University, said this year’s group is coming along; he said he’s implemented a number of drills used by college coaches as a way to improve conditioning.

“The instruction we’re getting from our coaches is second to none, because they were top-caliber wrestlers, too,” Zundel said. “They’re really great about explaining things and helping us out when we need it.

“With our coaches and the guys we have on the team, I think we could be the first team in school history to win a state title.”

Gray also believes he has a wealth of talent on this year’s roster. The second-year coach added his squad has shown a level of toughness he didn’t expect.

“These guys aren’t scared of hard work,” Gray said. “They’re showing a lot of dedication and heart, and I think it’s going to pay off for these guys.”
 

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