Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior Ricky Odum wrestles with a teammate at a recent practice. Last season, Chippewa won the program’s first district championship in more than five years.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior Ricky Odum wrestles with a teammate at a recent practice. Last season, Chippewa won the program’s first district championship in more than five years.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Chippewa wrestling building on success

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 4, 2020

 Senior Ryan Lee practices Jan. 31. The Division 1 district playoffs are set to begin Feb. 12.

Senior Ryan Lee practices Jan. 31. The Division 1 district playoffs are set to begin Feb. 12.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — After winning the program’s first district championship since 2013 last year, there have been more things for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley wrestling coach Andy Denryter to like about his team this season.

For one, the Big Reds took sixth place in December at the Macomb County tournament, which was eight spots better than last season.

Secondly, the program has seen an increase in numbers. Denryter said Chippewa started the season with 51 wrestlers, as opposed to around 41 or 42 last season.

At press time, Chippewa was 10-5 overall and 1-3 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division, which is the top division in the MAC.

“Solid season so far,” Denryter said Jan. 30. “Seen some positive growth throughout the team. (We) had great numbers come out this year. …  So, we’ve done a good job. We hit some of our initial midseason goals.”

Although some strides have been made, Denryter wants even more for the program, and having high-caliber competition such as Macomb Dakota and Warren Woods Tower in the same division could help prepare Chippewa to go to another level.

“The ultimate goal for the team is to eventually, once we turn the corner, make the team state finals,” Denryter said. “But also for our guys that are gunning for the state tournament as individuals, they need to see great competition during the year if they’re going to be able to succeed at that level. We’ve got some pretty strong teams around here. We’ve seen really good competition during the year; helps prepare our guys for that level at the state tournament.”

Some of the wrestlers who the tough competition can help prepare are seniors Vaughn Petty, Ryan Lee and Ricky Odum, along with juniors Kenny Snyder and Ryan Young, and sophomore Connor Dembeck.

Along with vying for individual success, those wrestlers can also help Chippewa compete for a team district championship.

Chippewa is amongst the teams at a Division 1 district tournament Feb. 12 hosted by Fraser High.

If Chippewa is able to win a second consecutive one, it could help solidify that the program is headed in a positive direction.

“I think it would validate what we’re doing here and the growth that we’ve had,” Denryter said, who is in his second season leading the program. “It would be a really nice accomplishment for our seniors and for the program to win another one, so that people see that, hopefully, we’re having long-term growth.”

Denryter said he thinks Chippewa’s program is stable and moving in the right direction.

“I think we have the potential to compete with anyone around here,” Denryter said. “You look at the population of the school; we have a youth program. We have a beautiful wrestling facility. We’ve got things in place where we’d be able to compete with other programs. … Now it’s just a matter of coaching things properly, keeping the numbers where they need to be, and doing the things that we can do to maximize our potential.”

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