Ferndale High wrestling celebrates after winning a Division 2 team district championship. It’s the program’s first since 2001.

Ferndale High wrestling celebrates after winning a Division 2 team district championship. It’s the program’s first since 2001.

Photo by Randy Wilcox

Ferndale High wrestling wins district championship

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published February 12, 2019


FERNDALE — In order to win a team district championship this season, Ferndale High wrestling needed to accomplish two daunting tasks: beat a Hazel Park High team that had won the two regular-season meetings between the programs, and defeat a Madison Heights Lamphere program that had won seven consecutive district championships.

The Eagles were able to accomplish both of those tasks, beating Hazel Park 44-24 in the semifinal round and Lamphere 45-27 in the final Feb. 6 at a Division 2 district tournament at home.

With the victory, Ferndale advanced to a regional, with the time, date and location to be determined.

It marked Ferndale’s first district championship since 2001, according to coach John Bassier.

“These kids surprised a lot of people tonight,” Bassier said. “We had lost twice to Hazel Park, and we were focused on getting past them. And then against Lamphere, of course, our nemesis from the previous years, they just rose to the occasion. They just did a great job.”

The win assured senior Angel Defay-Marrero of leaving the program with at least one postseason championship.

“It’s great,” Defay-Marrero said. “Just to have (the) intensity that we came in with set the bar high for the whole team.”

Ferndale had previously lost in the final round to Lamphere each of the past three seasons. Each of those losses came at Lamphere, and Bassier thinks wrestling at home made a difference.

“I asked our athletic director to host this,” Bassier said. “I was hoping that extra incentive in our own gym would help push us over the top, and it worked out that way. I think the kids were pretty pumped up. Pulled off a couple upsets; got off their back a couple times.”

Ferndale’s wrestling program has grown in size in recent years, and an accomplishment as significant as winning a district title could help to elevate things even further.

“This is a big step for the program, and hopefully we can continue to have success,” Bassier said. “They’ve had three good years in a row. Hopefully, they’ll keep getting better.”

Prior to this season, Ferndale had won two consecutive Oakland Activities Association Blue Division championships. And although Hazel Park earned that title this year, the Eagles took a large step forward for the program.

“We thought we would be solid, and this was important to us to get past this hump,” Bassier said. Connor Mueller (152 pounds), Joshua Cook (171), Dylan Coleman (103), Delsheer Barack (119) and Elijah Pool (135) all got pins for Ferndale in the final round.