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 St. Clair Shores Lakeview 145-pound junior Shamar Askin goes for a pin in a Feb. 19 regional match with Macomb Dakota. Askin has qualified for the individual state finals for the first time.

St. Clair Shores Lakeview 145-pound junior Shamar Askin goes for a pin in a Feb. 19 regional match with Macomb Dakota. Askin has qualified for the individual state finals for the first time.

Photo by Deb Jacques


First-time wrestling state finals qualifiers detail their roads to Ford Field

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published February 28, 2020

 Utica Ford II 112-pounder Tamin Machart looks to turn his opponent in a Feb. 19 regional semifinal match with Rochester Adams. Machart will make his first trip to the individual finals after winning his weight class at a Feb. 22 individual regional tournament.

Utica Ford II 112-pounder Tamin Machart looks to turn his opponent in a Feb. 19 regional semifinal match with Rochester Adams. Machart will make his first trip to the individual finals after winning his weight class at a Feb. 22 individual regional tournament.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

METRO DETROIT — Prep wrestlers give their all — their blood, sweat and tears — for their teams and coaches all season long.

They also give their all for themselves, with the hope that their hard work leads them to a spot in the individual state finals.

Any prep wrestler will tell you their main individual goal is to win a state title — to be on the highest rung of the podium at Ford Field in early March.

Just getting to the state finals is an accomplishment. Advancing to the state finals for the first time — that’s something special.

A number of Macomb County wrestlers from different programs will walk out onto the mats at Ford Field for the first time in the state finals, set for March 6-7 at Ford Field in Detroit. Here’s a closer look at some of them.

 

Family tradition
One of those grapplers is Utica Ford II junior 112-pounder Tamin Machart. He’s 42-6 overall and has a lot to live up to, as two of his older brothers — Terrin and Tevin — earned All-State honors in their time with the Falcons. Terrin and Tevin currently serve as assistants with the Ford wrestling team.

“It’d be pretty cool, especially if I place higher than (my brothers) did,” the youngest Machart said of placing, which takes a top eight finish.

 

Back on the mat
At the regional level, the top four grapplers in each weight class advance to the state finals. St. Clair Shores Lakeview junior 145-pounder Shamar Askin just made the cut. Askin said simply qualifying is a major accomplishment considering how the season started for the junior.

Askin broke his hand before the season started, forcing him to miss a major chunk of the year. Askin enters the state finals with a 20-4 mark. Even with his injury, Askin said his confidence never wavered.

“I didn’t quit. I kept a level head and a good mindset,” Askin said. “And while I couldn’t wrestle, I still watched (film) and worked on technique to keep my edge sharp.

“(Getting to the state finals) means the world to me because I have made so much progress in the past three years and worked my hardest to get where I’m at right now, so it’s great to see all of that work starting to pay off.”

 

One for one
Warren Mott 140-pound freshman Trave’air Barbour in his first season of varsity wrestling had his ups and downs.

Barbour admitted that high school wrestling is different from the club level. He said listening to multiple coaches with different personalities presented its challenges too. The freshman said he thought he let the team down with some decisions that forced him to miss dual matches.

Even with all of that, Barbour finds himself among the best grapplers in the state.

“Personally, getting to the (state finals) wasn’t my goal,” Barbour said. “Being in the top 16 as a freshman is a neat thing, and I know it’s a big accomplishment, but it doesn’t really mean everything to me because the goal was, and still is, to be a state placer, not just a state qualifier.

“When I get on the field, I will probably think about how many people are there to see the wrestling, which is really cool, especially since it’s my first time competing in such a big arena. I don’t know if I will be nervous … but if I do feel nervous, I know that feeling will go away when it’s time to be on the mat.”

 

New look, same results
The Macomb Dakota program has a large number of grapplers who will make the trip to Ford Field. The Cougars, who competed in the Division 1 team state finals for the fifth straight year Feb. 28, after press time, have 11 wrestlers who will compete in the state finals, including nine first-timers.

“This group of kids has worked really hard all year long,” said Dakota coach Ed Skowneski, whose team had two individual state champions in 2019. “They put in the work in the offseason … and that’s all come to fruition.

“It might be a lot of the guys’ first time wrestling (at the state finals), but it’s not their first time being down there and experiencing it. They’ve learned from a lot of guys in the past what they need to do to get to this point. We’ve got some good leaders to help the younger guys out. The goal isn’t just to qualify — it’s to place. These guys are looking forward to representing Dakota and Macomb County really well.”