Adams wrestling accomplishes goal

By: Christian Davis | Rochester Post | Published February 16, 2016


Missing two starters heading into a Division 1 team wrestling district, Rochester Adams coach Mike Holtz knew it would be a battle.

“The odds were stacked against us. I told the guys that we can do one of two things: ‘We can take it on and take it over, or take it on and let it take us over,’” Holtz remembered.

The Highlanders took on the challenge and beat Lake Orion High 36-27 Feb. 11 in the final for the program’s first back-to-back district championships since 1998-99.

“I have to give credit to the coaching staff and the boys. They performed, and the staff did a great job getting everyone ready,” Holtz said.

The coach pointed to a key bout at 140 pounds. The Highlanders had lost the previous two matches and were sending out Brendan Gibbons, who bumped up from 135.

He was losing in the second period before recording a pin and turning the momentum in Adams’ favor.

“For a sophomore to go out there and do that — Gibby got the ball rolling right there,” Holtz said.

In the semifinal, Adams faced rival Rochester High. The Falcons had beaten the Highlanders earlier in the season.

“Rochester is obviously really tough, and coach (Frank) Lafftery does a great job. Their kids are always tough and gritty. We knew we had our work cut out for us,” Holtz said, “but we had a fire in our bellies from losing earlier.”

The Highlanders avenged the loss, earning a 44-25 victory.

In defeat, Lafferty credited Adams’ desire to win as the difference.

“That makes a big difference. When you beat a team early in the season, and the teams are comparable, I think the team that loses might have the advantage, because they have something to draw on,” Lafferty said. “We’re pretty even — the score isn’t indicative of how close we really are.”

In the other semifinal, Lake Orion beat Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 51-18.

Adams moves on to face Utica Eisenhower Feb. 18 in a regional semifinal.

See next week’s edition or for more on the match and a look at all the wrestlers who earned spots in the individual state finals March 3-5 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.