Fraser sends 4 wrestlers to states

By: Thomas Franz | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published March 4, 2015

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Fraser senior Michael Kroepel found nothing but success once he got on the mat this season, which will continue for him at the MHSAA Division 1 individual state tournament.

Kroepel had to wait for his chance to get into Fraser’s lineup, but he has been a force on the mat since the midway point of this season.

His rise through the ranks continued, as he placed fourth in the 285-pound weight class at the Oxford regional tournament on Feb. 21 to qualify for states.

“He’s never had a chance to be on varsity before because we’ve always had some decent heavyweights, and he came out this year, once he got his weight down and got on the mat. He’s been doing really well,” Fraser coach Rick Julien said.

At regionals, Kroepel started his day by earning a win by pinfall in the third round against David Murray of Troy.

He lost to eventual flight champion Jacob Van Ittersum of Warren De La Salle in a semifinal, but he beat Austin Bauslaugh of South Lake in the blood round to qualify for states.

Kroepel will square off against Dan Perry from Lapeer in the first round of states.

“He’s fought and fought. He had a tough beginning of the season, but the mat time came in and he finally got into a groove. I was really happy with him making it to states,” Julien said.

Kroepel will be joined by three other Ramblers at states.

At 103 pounds, Nate Hollifield took fourth in his flight to qualify for states. After falling in his opening-round match, Hollifield beat Connor Casey from Macomb Dakota in a consolation quarterfinal and Kevin Thomas from Troy in the blood round. A shoulder injury prevented Hollifield from wrestling for third place.

“(Weight class) 103 was a bear today,” Julien said after regionals. “He (Hollifield) did a heck of a job. He’ll be somebody to be reckoned with at states. Even though he’s got a regional champion (to go against), they better be ready, because he’s a tough kid.”

Hollifield will face Daniel Poupore, a freshman from Saline, in his opening-round match.

In the 215-pound flight, freshman Chris Hackney also took fourth at regionals to make it to states.

Hackney beat Ben Petersmark from Rochester Adams in the first round at regionals. He fell to flight champion Antonio Balabani from Macomb Dakota in a semifinal, but won against against teammate Elijah Tucker by a third-round pinfall in the blood round.

“He has some wrestling background behind him, and I told him all year, if you work hard and listen, that he would get to the state tournament, so it’s gratifying to see a freshman go,” Julien said.

Hackney will take on Cody Tis from Southgate Anderson to start his state tournament.

Danny Pfeffer (135 pounds) will be returning to states after placing third at regionals.

Pfeffer, who said he feels more comfortable going to states this season, beat Nathan Brech of Rochester Adams by an 11-4 decision in the opening round of regionals. After falling to flight champion Collin Campbell from Oxford in a semifinal, he beat Aleksander Wilson from Rochester in the blood round by an 8-3 decision.

He went on to beat Aidan Pierborn from Stoney Creek by a 4-1 decision to take third place.

“No one can hold him down; he escapes from everybody,” Julien said of Pfeffer. “That’s one thing we never worry about with Danny. When we put Danny down, we know he’s going to get away.”

The individual state tournament is scheduled to start on March 5 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

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