Roseville High junior Robert Brandon works on technique during a recent practice. Panthers coach Justin Petrone mentioned Brandon as a standout to watch on his team.

Roseville High junior Robert Brandon works on technique during a recent practice. Panthers coach Justin Petrone mentioned Brandon as a standout to watch on his team.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Roseville High wrestling team having fun and working hard

By: Zachary Manning | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 19, 2018

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville High wrestling coach Justin Petrone wants to ensure that his guys are giving 100 percent effort, but he also wants them to have fun and love what they are doing. He’s trying to instill a strong work ethic on and off the mat.

The Panthers have a young squad with 10 freshmen, but they’ve gotten off to a solid start this year. At press time, the Panthers were 3-4 overall.

“Just have fun. Learn everything about wrestling. They go home, they watch YouTube videos. They’re buying into the program, and that’s what we have to create around here. I think if we keep buying in, letting kids buy in more, I think more kids will come down and join the team,” Petrone said.

As a member of the 2004 Roseville wrestling team, Petrone was able to win a Division 1 state title in the 152-pound weight class. Now, he’s using his success and experience to help his wrestlers.

With such a young group, he’s been focusing on the basics and making sure they are getting the technique right.

“A lot of rep, lot of reps. Just pounding their head with the basics and fixing any mistakes that they need to work on. That’s pretty much it,” Petrone said. “Once they get the basics of wrestling, and as long as they’re having fun with it, I think everything else will fall into place.”

Despite being a young team, Petrone does have a few guys who he thinks could have special seasons. He mentioned sophomore De’Marko Richardson (160 pounds), junior Robert Brandon (215), senior Logan Behnke (135), junior Joshua Crawford (135) and junior Sam Kupiec (152) as guys who he’s expecting big things out of this year.

Crawford and Brandon have lofty goals for themselves as well. Brandon wants to make it to states and become the best in the state for his weight class. Crawford would also like to qualify for states and, by his senior year, he’d like to place in the top four at the state meet.

“That would honestly feel amazing. I’m not even going to lie, that would bring a tear to my eye just because that’s just the goal, especially in high school wrestling,” Crawford said of winning a state championship. “If I could reach that, I would be grateful. And I would definitely be grateful to my coaches, because without them, I wouldn’t be the wrestler I am.”

As a team, Roseville would like to win team districts this season. As the program grows and develops, Petrone would like for his team to make team states instead of having a couple of individuals each year.

For the guys on the team, being able to win a district title and go to the state meet as a team would be special. They know it will take hard work, but they are prepared to put in the effort.

“I think we have the talent for it. We’re putting the work in,” Brandon said.

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