‘We’ll be ready’

Roseville High wrestling readies for state meet

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 31, 2017

 Roseville High 135-pound wrestler Antonio Rivers readies to battle Anchor Bay High’s Matt Dufty during a match earlier this season. The Panthers host a Division 1 district meet at 5 p.m. Feb. 9.

Roseville High 135-pound wrestler Antonio Rivers readies to battle Anchor Bay High’s Matt Dufty during a match earlier this season. The Panthers host a Division 1 district meet at 5 p.m. Feb. 9.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROSEVILLE — The Division 1 state wrestling postseason begins Feb. 8, and Roseville High junior 119-pounder Gerald Carter said he and his teammates will be ready to go.

“I think we’ll be OK,” said Carter, who is in his second year as a varsity wrestler. “We’ve had a lot of new guys come up this year, and they’re getting a lot better. Our team is pretty young, so we need the young guys to step up.”

The Panthers were 7-10 overall and 1-2 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division at press time. They have just three seniors on a roster of 26 grapplers. That includes 135-pounder Antonio Rivers, who coach Justin Petrone calls one of the leaders on the team.

Petrone sees this postseason as a big one for the program. Roseville hosts a D-1 team district at 5 p.m. Feb. 9. The field includes Sterling Heights High, Fraser High and Warren De La Salle. Last season, the Panthers fell to Fraser in a district semifinal, but they hold a victory against Fraser this season.

Roseville with a win would have its first district championship since winning three straight district titles from 2010 to 2012. The Panthers advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011.

“It’s a tough field, but it’s good we’re hosting,” Petrone said. “We’re going into (districts) thinking we have a chance to win it.”

That optimism comes from the progression of the team’s newest crop of grapplers.

Petrone said several first-year wrestlers are proving to be some of the team’s most valuable. That includes junior 130-pounder Sam Kupiec, 112-pound junior Michael Lineberger and Rivers.

“They’ve seen tough competition all season long, and they’re learning what it takes to win matches,” Petrone said. “They pick things up fast, they execute, and they battle every match.”

As one of the veterans on the team, Carter is happy to see how quickly the new wrestlers have developed. He said he believes there won’t be any jitters when they step on the mat for the playoffs.

“I’m excited. We’re all excited,” Carter said. “There’s some things we still need to work on, like takedowns and driving through to make sure we get a guy on the mat, but we’ve got time to get those things down. Come playoff time, we’ll be good.”

The Panthers next hit the mat for the MAC Red/White divisional meet, which they host at 9 a.m. Feb. 4.

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