Eisenhower’s Connor McDill, Owen Donovan heading to states in 140-pound weight class

By: Thomas Franz | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 4, 2015


OXFORD — For two consecutive weeks, Utica Eisenhower’s Connor McDill and Owen Donovan squared off against each other in postseason matches.

If they meet again, a state title could be on the line.

The teammates faced each other in championship bouts at districts and regionals, and they each enter the state tournament ranked in the top six in Division 1 in the 140-pound weight class.

“I want both of them to come out healthy, both wrestle well, and let their skills carry it out, but I just hate watching it,” Eisenhower coach Dave Drath said. “One’s going to win, and one is going to lose. So you feel happy for one, and bad for the other.”

In the district final match, McDill edged Donovan by a 3-2 decision, and in a regional final, McDill won 9-4.

“Mentally, they’re getting tougher. I think that’s the big thing about them. They’re getting in better shape. You can see they’re starting to develop their techniques a little bit more,” Drath said of their improvement.

Although they’re teammates, McDill and Donovan rarely practice against one another, similar to when wrestlers practice at different schools leading up to the state tournament, but avoid potential opponents as much as possible.

“We don’t touch each other in the practice room because we know we’re on the same chart and same weight, but now after regionals are over, we can get each other ready for states,” McDill said. “He’s (Donovan) a good workout partner. He has my 100 percent respect.”

Drath shared mixed feelings about them meeting in the state tournament.

“Who knows? They did it last week; they did it this week. Maybe they’ll be doing it in two weeks. I’d really hate that, but I’d like that at the same time,” Drath said.

Donovan will open his state tournament against Logan DiCarlo from Monroe, while McDill will start against Brandon Bellant from Belleville.

If McDill and Donovan remain in the winner’s bracket, they would not meet until the state championship match.

Eisenhower also qualified three more wrestlers for states, including the Marceau twins, Vince and Carlo.

Carlo won the 130-pound flight at the Oxford regional tournament and is ranked third in his weight class heading into the tournament. He defeated Oxford’s Vinny Vackaro with a 13-5 decision in the regional final.

Vince took second in the 125-pound regional flight and is ranked eighth going into states.

Vince will begin his state tournament by facing Tommy Hermann from Detroit Catholic Central, while Carlo will take on JT Mullins from Swartz Creek.

At 189 pounds, Ike’s Joe Mets took third in his flight at regionals to qualify for states. Mets, who didn’t place at the county tournament, has had a very strong second half to his season.

“If you looked at me at counties and said that he was going to make it to states, I would’ve said no way, and that shows you how far he’s come. I’m happy for him,” Drath said.

To qualify for states, Mets overcame an old nemesis in Jalen Goudelock from Chippewa Valley, who he had never beaten before in his career, but he opened his day at regionals against Goudelock with a 7-4 win by decision. They faced each other again later in the tournament, and both ended up qualifying for the finals — Mets in third place and Goudelock in fourth.

“I came out and I knew I had a tough first match. I’ve never even come close to beating him in my life,” Mets said. “I’ve wrestled him so many times, so I think I understood more of how he wrestles.”

Mets lost his semifinal match, but defeated his Utica High opponent in the blood round by a 3-2 decision to qualify for states.

Mets will begin his state tournament against Andy Bovay from Lakeland. The individual state tournament is scheduled to begin on March 5 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.