Macomb Dakota sophomore 112-pounder Brendan Ferretti embraces coach Ed Skowneski after a win in the Division 1, 112-pound title match. The Cougars saw two grapplers win state championships March 2.

Macomb Dakota sophomore 112-pounder Brendan Ferretti embraces coach Ed Skowneski after a win in the Division 1, 112-pound title match. The Cougars saw two grapplers win state championships March 2.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Dakota wrestling ends season with two state champs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published March 2, 2019

DETROIT — The Macomb Dakota wrestling team capped off another strong season with two Cougars winning individual state championships.

The individual finals took place March 1-2 at Ford Field. Dakota 112-pounder Brendan Ferretti and 119-pounder Nick Alayan rose to the top of their respective weight classes to capture state titles.

Ferretti capped off an undefeated season with a 10-2 major decision over Dearborn Heights Crestwood’s Zein Bazzi. The win moved Ferretti to 54-0 on the season. Ferretti, a sophomore, finished third last season.

“I did OK last year, but I worked really hard in the offseason to come back to get to this point and win,” Ferretti said. “It was a tough match, but I know my conditioning and I know I can go all three rounds. This feels great.”

Ferretti, who also won a Macomb County title at 112 pounds, said he’s not satisfied with how he performed this time around.

“Obviously this is what we work for,” Ferretti said, “but I wanna come back and do this again two more times.”

This is the second straight year the Cougars end the season with two state champs. Last season, Brock Prater and Layne Malczewski won at 103 and 171 pounds, respectively. Dakota this season had seven All-State wrestlers. The top eight finishers in each weight class earn All-State honors.

Alayan exacted a measure of revenge in his title win, defeating Davison High junior Andrew Chambal 6-4 after losing to him in the 112-pound final last season. Alayan, a senior, has wrestled in three straight state title matches.

Alayan admitted nerves set in last year. That wasn’t the case this time around.

“I just went out there, had nothing to lose this year,” Alayan said. “It felt great not having much pressure. This year was different. Me and my guys, my team, we worked a lot harder, we trained for this, and we just gave it our all.

“I really don’t even remember what I did in the whole match. I just went out there, and everything was just instinct. I was just feeling my way through it. I didn't even know time was up, that's why I was so surprised. I still can't believe that I'm called a state champ now. It’s amazing.”

Dakota 125-pound senior Justin Tiburcio fell one point short of winning a state title, falling 3-2 to Brighton High junior Eddie Homrock. Homrock ends the season at 56-2. Tiburcio ends at 41-4. Tiburcio earns All-State honors for the fourth straight season.

“(Tiburcio) never gives up and that’s the one thing we’ve known about Justin his whole career,” Dakota coach Ed Skowneski said. “Being a four-time placer, he’s always had to battle injuries, and he just never gives up. He’s a really good kid. A 3.8 GPA type of kid.

“All season, he just attacks. Every year at the and of the year we give him an award called the ‘Pitbull award’ because he’s a brawler. He just goes out there and whoever he wrestles, they’re going to be up for a fight.”

Skowneski, now with 23 All-State wrestlers the last three seasons, is proud of how his grapplers performed this weekend.

“It’s been a long year, a long weekend, just one after another,” Skowneski said. “The other coaches, we’ve been talking about how there’s ups and downs, and ups and downs.

“We needed to end the weekend on a high note with three finalists. Then the first two go out there, and they go after it. Even Tiburcio, he went after it. He just wrestled somebody that's a little bit better today, so we’re proud of the guys. They wrestled hard all weekend.”

Sports Writers Zachary Manning and Jacob Herbert contributed to this report.