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 Royal Oak High’s Earle Weaver puts his opponent in a hold during last year’s individual state finals at Ford Field. Weaver, 28-3 overall, will again return to Detroit March 6 with hopes of closing out his high school career as a state placer.

Royal Oak High’s Earle Weaver puts his opponent in a hold during last year’s individual state finals at Ford Field. Weaver, 28-3 overall, will again return to Detroit March 6 with hopes of closing out his high school career as a state placer.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Earle Weaver vying for Ford Field podium

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published March 3, 2020

ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak High’s Earle Weaver has qualified for the Division 1 individual wrestling state finals three years in a row, but has yet to finish as a state placer.

Now with one more shot, the senior is giving it everything he’s got. It takes a top eight finish to earn All-State honors.

The state finals take place March 6-7 at Ford Field in Detroit. Weaver, 28-3 overall, will wrestle Livonia Franklin’s Erick Reaves (41-4) in the first round at 171 pounds.

“It feels pretty good,” Weaver said of qualifying. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity to go to Ford Field, and it feels good to be one of the guys going there.”

Weaver has gotten used to wrestling at the finals over his high school career. He noted that his favorite part is the Grand March, where every wrestler takes a ceremonial walk around the field greeted by thunderous applause from parents and supporters.

“Very excited would probably be the thing that comes to mind,” Ravens coach Jason Palazzolo said about Weaver’s qualification. “We’re very happy for the kid — he’s a three-time state qualifier. Hopefully, this time we can place.”

In preparation for the state finals, Weaver will watch copious amounts of film in order to tweak some of his techniques and lateral movements. Cleaning up small mistakes can go a long way in the fight against an early tournament exit.

Weaver also has practices set up with other local wrestling qualifiers to simulate real action.

Both Weaver and his coaches feel confident that he has what it takes to reach the ultimate goal of being a state placer. Assistant coach Andrew Osbron cited the senior’s mental toughness as a prominent reason he can get it done.

“He goes out there and takes what’s his. He’s a big, strong kid,” Osbron said. “He goes out there and knows what he’s doing, and he knows what he’s good at. Sometimes he gets caught in an off-guard position, but he’s strong enough and quick enough to overcome those situations.”

Words of encouragement and support have poured in from Weaver’s friends and family. As he takes his last shot at a title, he does so with a little extra juice knowing he’s got loved ones at his back.

“I’m feeling pretty confident,” he said. “I’m trying to work harder to be where I want to be.”

In his career at Royal Oak, Weaver has been a multisport athlete and a four-year varsity wrestler. Looking back over this season, he called his experience a fun one. The Ravens wrestling team has grown from his junior to senior year, and the higher volume of support from fellow teammates has made his last high school season an enjoyable one.

But before he throws on the cap and gown and accepts his diploma, he’d like to end his high school career by accepting a medal.

“That would be pretty big,” Weaver said about winning a state title. “My brother wrestled, and my dad has always been a wrestling fan. It would be pretty big if I was able to be a state champion.”