‘Hard work pays off’

Roseville High wrestlers Butler, Fresch set to compete at state finals

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 2, 2017

 Roseville High wrestling coach Justin Petrone, left, looks on during a Feb. 9 Division 1 regional. The Panthers are sending two wrestlers to the individual state finals.

Roseville High wrestling coach Justin Petrone, left, looks on during a Feb. 9 Division 1 regional. The Panthers are sending two wrestlers to the individual state finals.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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ROSEVILLE — Two Roseville High wrestlers have battled their way to berths at the Division 1 individual state finals, and they both have quite the story.

Junior 215-pounder Marcus Fresch and senior 171-pounder Josh Butler will make their first appearances at the state finals, set for March 2-4 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Fresch has wrestled since he was 6 years old. Now 17, it almost looked like the 215-pounder wouldn’t make it to the big stage.

Earlier this season, Fresch suffered a torn meniscus that kept him off the mat for about a month. The setbacks didn’t hurt the junior grappler’s confidence, as Fresch is 34-7 going into the state finals. He’s also won district and regional championships along the way.

As a sophomore, a leg injury did keep him from competing for a spot in the finals.

“It’s crazy. It’s almost unbelievable,” Fresch said. “You look back on all the bad things that happened, and you appreciate this opportunity that much more. All the time you put in; this proves that hard work pays off.”

Before this season, Butler hadn’t wrestled since eighth grade. The senior, though, had the talent and skill necessary to finish fourth in his weight class to earn a spot at the state finals.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class at regionals move on to the state finals. Fresch and Butler hope to add their names to the list of Roseville grapplers to earn All-State honors, which takes a top-eight finish. Overall, the school boasts nine state champions.

“I think coming to practice every day and working hard did a lot for me,” said Butler, whose record is 30-24. “I just came in, put in the work and listened to the coaches, and it worked out for me.”

One of the coaches is head coach Justin Petrone, a 2004 Roseville graduate who starred on the school’s wrestling team. Petrone won a state title at 152 pounds in 2004 and finished second at 145 pounds in 2003.

Both Fresch and Butler said working with Petrone has done wonders for them.

“You have a coach who’s done it all. Why wouldn’t you listen to him?” Butler said of Petrone. “Listening to him has helped all of us so much. We really want to do well at the state finals for (Petrone).”

“Coach is young, so he can practice with us and teach us hands-on,” Fresch said. “He’s been on the big stage before. He knows we’ll be nervous, so it’ll be great to have him there to keep us calm.”

Petrone, who is in his second year as coach at Roseville, said he’s excited for his two grapplers. He said Fresch and Butler have impressed him and that both have a solid shot at earning All-State honors.

“To see what they’ve done just makes you proud,” Petrone said. “They’re not going to just be happy to be there. They’re going to (want to) perform well, and I think they will.”

Building cardiovascular endurance will be the focus leading up to the state finals, Petrone said. He said he wants his guys to go into the tournament in tip-top condition.

“We both want to work on a lot of things — especially staying off the mat,” Butler said. “We’re going into it hoping to stick around for a while.”

For full coverage of the state wrestling finals, visit candgnews.com.

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