Wrestling

Published February 12, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Lamphere wrestling coach Russ McKenzie called it one of his team’s best nights in a month.

The Rams won their fifth straight Division 2 district championship Feb. 10 at home, beating Ferndale High 41-28 in the final.

The match was even, with both teams winning a total of seven bouts, but it was the Rams with four pins and the advantage in bonus points. Ferndale didn’t record a fall.

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Published February 11, 2016

Birmingham Seaholm wrestling pinned its way to a fifth straight district championship.

The Maples beat host Bloomfield Hills High 42-35 Feb. 11 for the Division 1 title.

“It means a lot for these kids,” Seaholm coach Neil Tuomi said. “Everyone came together. We wrestled really well today, and the kids that lost, they gave it their all.”

In the final, both squads won seven matches, but Seaholm earned bonus points in each victory, with six pins and one by void.

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Published February 11, 2016

C&G Newspapers

WARREN — The Fraser High wrestling team outlasted Roseville High 42-27 in a grueling match Feb. 11 to claim a Division 1 district championship.

“Everybody wrestled really hard tonight,” Fraser coach Rick Julien said.

The district title is the first for the Ramblers since 2014. Fraser fell by four points to Macomb Dakota last year in a district final.

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Published February 10, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Lamphere wrestling coach Russ McKenzie called it one of his team’s best nights in a month.

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Published February 10, 2016

C&G Newspapers

WARREN — The Warren Woods Tower wrestling team won its first district title since 2014 with a 68-9 win over St. Clair Shores Lake Shore in a Division 1 tournament Feb. 10 at Warren Lincoln.

The Titans advance to take on the winner of a Madison Heights Lamphere regional at 5 p.m. Feb. 17 at Tower.

“Hopefully, the home crowd will help,” Tower coach Greg Mayer said. “It’s been a long time since we hosted a regional. We’re pretty excited about it. Hopefully the student body will come out to support us.

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Published February 4, 2016

C&G Newspapers

The state wrestling tournament begins with district action Feb. 10 for Divisions 2 and 4, and then Feb. 11 for Divisions 1 and 3.

The regional is Feb. 17 for all four flights.

Following the regional, the team state finals are Feb. 26-27 at Central Michigan University.

Here’s a look at where each local squad will be and where the qualifiers are heading for their respective regionals.

Teams that were in the top 10 of the Jan. 27 www.michigangrappler.com rankings are also noted.

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Published February 2, 2016

GROSSE POINTE FARMS/WOODS — This year’s team wrestling finals are scheduled to take place at the McGuirk Arena on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

For teams around the state, the journey toward the ultimate goal of making a trip up north begins in the district round of the postseason.

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Published February 2, 2016

FRASER/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In November of last year, Fraser High wrestling coach Rick Julien stated that the goal for his program was to “try to make it to Mount Pleasant.”

Mount Pleasant happens to be the location of the team wrestling finals, and it is the destination teams from across the state will attempt to reach.

The postseason journey toward that goal begins with districts, and two local squads that will receive their opportunity to be a part of the mix are Fraser and Clinton Township Chippewa Valley.

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Published February 1, 2016

ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak High wrestlers Ellis Kempf and Miles Filippis first formed a friendship as students at Royal Oak’s Northwood Elementary.

The friendship grew on Royal Oak’s football field each fall, and over laughs at get-togethers between their two families.

This winter, the bond between Kempf and Filippis is at the center of Royal Oak’s wrestling program.

The Ravens currently have 14 wrestlers on the team, but some wrestle in duplicate weight classes.  They are typically short three to five weight classes per meet.

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Published January 26, 2016

ROCHESTER — In his 12 years at Rochester High, last year was wrestling coach Frank Lafferty’s hardest.

After an appearance in the team state semifinal just three seasons ago, the program was seemingly coming apart at the seams.

From injuries and illnesses to wrestlers leaving the team, Rochester struggled. Lafferty said he only had six wrestlers to bring to last season’s county meet and finished 33rd, the worst showing of his career.

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Published January 25, 2016

CLAWSON — All of Brendan Downs’ uncles wrestled for Clawson High.

But none have had their picture on the wall in the hallways that run from the school’s main entrance to its gymnasium.

Brendan Downs is hoping to be the first in his family to have his accomplishments framed.

“I’m trying to get my picture on the wall by going to states,” said Brendan Downs. “None of my uncles got their picture on the wall. Hopefully, I’m trying to be the first one to get my picture on the wall.”

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Published January 25, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — To say Utica High senior Nick Mason has undergone a bit of a growth spurt as a high schooler would be an understatement.

Mason, who is currently one of the state’s top wrestlers in the 171-pound division, began his career at Utica in the 103-pound class.

Last year, he qualified for the MHSAA individual state tournament as a 152-pounder, but he said he has adjusted well to the new opponents.

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Published January 25, 2016

ROSEVILLE — He was on the mat by himself during the Macomb County Invitational in December, but Roseville High senior 160-pound wrestler Kyle Minor says he could feel the spirit of his teammates and coaches.

Minor won his weight class at the county tournament, which took place Dec. 18-19, beating Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior Vince Dolland in the championship match.

The Roseville senior, who has wrestled for the school since his freshman year, called the triumph a huge moment for himself but acknowledged it could help his team too.

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Published January 22, 2016

ROYAL OAK — A new breed of talent from World Wrestling Entertainment is set to invade Royal Oak Jan. 30.

NXT is the newest brand of WWE and was founded in 2012 to serve as the main brand’s developmental arm.

Although it largely remains developmental in nature, NXT has recently begun to travel across the globe for shows much like those of the WWE.

“I look at NXT now as its own brand; it’s getting to that level with the travel,” said Apollo Crews, who will be one of the wrestlers performing at the Royal Oak show.

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Published January 22, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Bishop Foley wrestling coach Berney Gonzales had considered the prospect for a few years.

His Ventures had struggled to fill a full lineup, and he was looking for a way to increase his numbers.

“For last 10 to 12 years, we’ve gone into matches with six voids,” Gonzales said. “That’s 42 points off the bat you’re giving up.”      

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Published January 20, 2016

SOUTHFIELD — It was following a match just after the start of January that Southfield High first-year wrestling coach Eric Moon was paid a compliment by a referee.

The official had also worked the Blue Jays’ first meet of the season and noted a “night-and-day difference” between the performances.

Moon said most of his wrestlers are getting their first taste of the sport or at the very most are only a couple of years in, noting that there is a lack of a youth or middle school program.

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Published January 18, 2016

ROSEVILLE — Roseville High wrestling coach Justin Petrone knows a little bit about the history of the program.

After all, Petrone won a Division 1 state title at 152 pounds as a member of the Roseville wrestling team in 2004. He also wrestled in the D-1 145-pound state title match in 2003.

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Published January 18, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — The wrestling room is tucked around the corner by the entrance to the gym at Madison Heights Lamphere.

Adorning the four walls are plaques with the names of grapplers who made their mark on the program.

From state placers and qualifiers to team recordholders and wrestlers who earned 100 or more wins in their careers, they’re all there.

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Published January 12, 2016

ROCHESTER — “Scientific” and “chess” are words that an average wrestling fan may not associate with the sport, but ones that Rochester Adams coach Mike Holtz uses to help describe his senior grappler Sam Addy.

“He’s very scientific with his approach to competing. Sam has plans, contingency plans,” Holtz said.

Before every match, Holtz reminds his wrestler, “It’s chess, not checkers.”

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Published January 12, 2016

BEVERLY HILLS — It’s a simple formula — one that new Troy Athens coach wrestling Matt Rawlik believes in.

“I really just want the kids to wrestle hard for six minutes. That’s what I was taught when I wrestled. To me, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “A lot of it is just putting in the effort.”

     Rawlik has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the program. He’s also coached football at the school for four years.

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