Ferndale’s Collins prepares for wrestling state final

By: Christian Davis | Woodward Talk | Published March 5, 2015


FERNDALE — Ferndale High wrestler Danny Collins had a daily reminder of what he wanted to accomplish.

Last season, after losing at the individual district level, Collins took out a piece of paper and wrote his goal for the following season, which was to make it to the state final.

“I put it right on my door and looked at it every day before practice, before meets,” the senior said.

On Feb. 21, Collins accomplished that goal, earning a spot in the Division 2 state finals March 5-7 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Collins finished third at 152 pounds in his regional at Warren Fitzgerald. He won his blood-round match in a 3-2 decision to clinch a spot in the final and then went on to win the third-place bout 5-3.

“I went into that (third-place) match with a big ol’ smile on my face. At that point, I was relieved. I was just wrestling for fun and did what I had to do,” he said.

Collins heads to the final with a 40-8 overall record. Last season, he finished with a respectable 29 victories. He said the biggest difference was his dedication over the summer.

Usually, football training took precedence in those months. This summer, however, he took advantage of the time to attend various wrestling camps.

“I felt like it was my senior year, I had to come out with a bang — leave it all out on the mat,” Collins said.

Coach John Bassier said he’s seen the improvement, especially in his takedowns, and that he’s toughed out matches, winning at least four in overtime.

“He has a good will to win, and that might be the most important thing,” Bassier said. “We might call it toughness, but it’s also thinking positive, having the right attitude.”

The focus now turns to placing as high as he can in the final.

“You have to shoot for the stars; think the most positive,” Bassier said. “Of course, we also want him to be All-State. Whatever happens in round one, round two or whatever, we’re going to keep saying to him, ‘set your goals and keep your focus on that.’”

There are 16 grapplers in Collins’ bracket. A top-eight finish, which takes a minimum of two wins, earns All-State status.

“Now it’s just wrestling to see how good I actually am,” Collins said. “I’ve been doing it since third grade, so now it’s just putting all the pieces together.”

The piece of paper that Collins used for motivation to get this far still hangs on his door, but with an additional entry.

“Now I just put, ‘Place at states,’” Collins said.