Fraser High sophomore Ryan Embry faces off against an opponent from Clinton Township Chippewa Valley during a Division 1 district semifinal Feb. 7.

Fraser High sophomore Ryan Embry faces off against an opponent from Clinton Township Chippewa Valley during a Division 1 district semifinal Feb. 7.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

Fraser High wrestling coach looks back on season

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 26, 2019


FRASER — For the first time since 2013, Fraser High’s wrestling program came away from a season with no team titles.

Prior to this season, the Ramblers had won a total of eight championships as a team since 2014, with five of those being Macomb Area Conference division titles and another three coming as a result of winning Division 1 district tournaments.

After losing 16 seniors from last year’s team, Fraser coach Rick Julien understood early on that this was a “rebuilding year” for the program.

But despite not having any championships to show for their efforts this season, the Ramblers did have some success.

After moving up from the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, Fraser finished 18-9 overall and 3-2 in the MAC White.

The team portion of the Ramblers’ season ended with a 37-26 loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a Division 1 district semifinal Feb. 7 at Fraser. Chippewa Valley went on to win the district title.

“We had a nice season,” Julien said. “We ended up third place in the league this year. Throughout the season, we got plagued with a few injuries here and there. So, we never really got our full lineup together.”

With just two juniors and one senior in the lineup, Julien said his team was a very young one. And while that may have resulted in some painful learning experiences this season, going forward, the Ramblers could pose a more serious threat to opponents.

Julien said that he told his wrestlers that next year, they’re going to be “a team to be reckoned with,” and the following year, they’re going to be “something special.”

“At some point in the season, I was starting seven freshmen on varsity, which was nice because they all came in to wrestle,” Julien said. “They wrestled hard; they did a nice job for me, which was very impressive. … But all in all, as the season went on, I did notice the young kids; they competed and they got better and better and better. They improved (at) a nice rate. I was very happy with that.”

Julien said that the main goal is to “keep this team together,” and if Fraser can manage to do that, there is something else he would like to accomplish.

“We had five straight league titles (one in the MAC Gold and four in the Blue), and we lost that this year by taking third,” Julien said. “And the goal is to come back and start a new streak next year and try to win a district next year. Just get back on the winning ways. … I think we might be one of the favorites next year to win the league next year if everybody comes back.”

Adding a title or more would be a nice supplement to what Julien has already had going for him with this season’s squad.

“I really enjoyed coaching this group this year,” Julien said. “It was different, but I enjoyed it. … They really became what I call a ‘team.’ Sometimes you don’t get that in wrestling, but this one became a nice, solid team, and I enjoyed that.”