Eisenhower falls to Oxford in regional final

Eagles push perennial state qualifier to brink

By: Thomas Franz | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 24, 2016


ROCHESTER — Utica Eisenhower wrestling pushed Oxford High to the limit in a regional final Feb. 17 at Rochester High.

In the end, the Eagles fell just short of claiming a regional title, as Oxford won its seventh regional title in eight years by a score of 33-28.

“We’ve been looking at this dual meet since last year,” said Eisenhower coach Dave Drath. “We had all of these different scenarios up on the board, all of these different thoughts. I thought the kids wrestled well; they just had more arrows in the quiver. We were shy a couple guys.”

Oxford jumped out to a 16-0 lead after four consecutive victories in the lightweight divisions.

Vince Marceau got Eisenhower on the board with a 12-2 victory at 130 pounds, and then his twin brother, Carlo, ignited Eisenhower with a pinfall victory in the third round at 135 pounds.

“I didn’t think we would come out of 125 in as good of shape as we were, point-wise,” Drath said. “Vince took it to his guy, and Carlo, who’s not known as a big pinner, comes through for us. Then you saw it starting to roll and things were going good.”

Eisenhower’s Owen Donovan pinned his opponent at 145 pounds to make it a 21-16 Oxford lead.

Oxford coach Paul McDevitt said that his team’s victories in the next two bouts, at 152 and 160 pounds, were the turning point of the match. Oxford’s Devin Trevino and Ethan Moll earned a pair of narrow victories in those bouts to make it 27-16.

“When we got pinned at 145, even though it looked like we were winning, I knew what they had coming up, and I started doing the math, and I didn’t think we could win anymore,” McDevitt said. “Devin, at 152, got beaten pretty soundly by his opponent (at indvidual districts) Saturday, and then I had us maybe getting pinned at 160, but not only did Ethan not get pinned, he got the win. That was 15 points that I didn’t have us getting that we got from two kids.”

Eisenhower responded right away with a pair of close victories by Andrew Czarnecki at 171 pounds and Joe Mets at 189 to make it 27-22.

At 215 pounds, Oxford’s Wyatt Harden clinched the regional title with a pinfall victory 22 seconds into the bout.

“Before that match started, we were in our huddle, and we talked about doing our jobs. Everyone knew what their job was to do. Wyatt said to them, ‘You guys all do your jobs to put us in a position, and I promise you I’ll do mine,’” McDevitt said. “When he went in there, I asked him if he was ready to deliver on that promise, and he (Harden) said, ‘Oh yeah.’”

Eisenhower closed the team portion of its season with a 19-5 record. Eisenhower defeated Rochester Adams 49-16 in a regional semifinal to qualify for its first regional final since 2013.

In the individual portion of the postseason, the Eagles advanced seven wrestlers to a regional tournament held Feb. 20 at Oxford. For more on that tourney, visit our website at www.cand gnews.com.

“I think the story is still being written for this group. We had seven guys make it to regionals, and I think you’re going to see a team full of guys coming to practice to support them. This story hasn’t ended yet,” Drath said. “It’s been a great ride.”