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 Roseville High’s Robert Brandon, left, locks up with his opponent during a match earlier this season. His dream is to be a state placer at this year’s individual finals.

Roseville High’s Robert Brandon, left, locks up with his opponent during a match earlier this season. His dream is to be a state placer at this year’s individual finals.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Roseville High, Brandon eyeing state wrestling tournament

By: Zachary Manning | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 7, 2020

 Roseville High’s Ryan Charles, right, eyes his opponent during a match earlier this season. Roseville will host team districts Feb. 12.

Roseville High’s Ryan Charles, right, eyes his opponent during a match earlier this season. Roseville will host team districts Feb. 12.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROSEVILLE — There are only a select number of individuals across the state who are good enough to qualify for states in wrestling.

Roseville High’s Robert Brandon qualified last year and is well aware of the challenge to make it back.

But he has confidence in his ability on the mat and sees himself earning a chance to redeem himself after falling short of placing last season. His dream is to be standing on the podium, watching his friends, family and team cheer him on.

He’ll be in a new weight class, moving down from the 215-pound class to the 189-pound group. Panthers coach Michael Wilson believes that move could give him an edge in some matches.

“It’s been a real easy transition. I think he’ll be stronger if he’s at 189,” Wilson said. “He’s got the strength of a 215-pounder and the speed of a 189-pounder, so I think he’ll do real well there.”

Along with that strength and quickness, improved footwork has allowed Brandon to take the next step as a grappler. That was on display earlier in the season when he took fourth at the Macomb County tournament wrestling at 215.

His coach has seen even more progression from that point and believes he has what it takes to be standing on the podium in early March.

“He’s taken huge steps. His quickness is a lot better than I think it was last year,” Wilson said. “He’s working real hard. Our goal is to get him on the podium at states this year.”

With Brandon being a senior, he knows that this will be his last chance.

Should he reach that dream, he said it would be a cool experience to see a loud, packed Ford Field crowd cheering on all of the placers from his weight class.

“It would be very emotional. I would definitely thank the coaches for what they’ve done for me to succeed,” Brandon said.

Brandon isn’t the only wrestler who Wilson believes has a shot to find success in the state tournament. He mentioned guys like Ryan Charles and Samual Kupiec, among others, at having a chance at qualifying for states as well.

Their goal is to have four wrestlers qualify for states, with two reaching the podium. The Panthers will begin the individual wrestling tournament Feb. 15 at Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse.

Prior to the individual state tournament, Roseville will participate in the team wrestling tournament, with the Panthers’ first match set for 5 p.m. Feb. 12 at home against Warren De La Salle.

Whichever team wins will then take on the winner of Warren Cousino and Sterling Heights High. The district final match is set for 6:30 p.m. the same day.

“Like we’ve been talking about all week, we got to get through that first one first. De La Salle’s going to be tough, but if we can get through that one, I think we have a really good shot to win this district,” Wilson said.

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