Utica Eisenhower’s James Labon, right, battles with a Rochester Hills Stoney Creek opponent Feb. 6 in  a Division 1 district tournament hosted by Rochester Adams. The Eagles fell to the Cougars 46-27.

Utica Eisenhower’s James Labon, right, battles with a Rochester Hills Stoney Creek opponent Feb. 6 in a Division 1 district tournament hosted by Rochester Adams. The Eagles fell to the Cougars 46-27.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Team portion of season comes to end for Eisenhower and Utica High wrestling

By: Jacob Herbert | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 11, 2019

  Utica High’s Chad Goodwine, right, squares off against Utica Ford II’s Tristin Delbeck Feb. 7  in a Division 1 team district tournament hosted by Troy Athens. The Chieftains were knocked  out in the first round with a 63-18 loss to the Falcons.

Utica High’s Chad Goodwine, right, squares off against Utica Ford II’s Tristin Delbeck Feb. 7 in a Division 1 team district tournament hosted by Troy Athens. The Chieftains were knocked out in the first round with a 63-18 loss to the Falcons.

Photo by Brian Sevald

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Utica Eisenhower wrestling team portion of the season came to an end Feb. 6 in a Division 1 team district tournament hosted by Rochester Adams. The Eagles fell in the first round to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 46-27.

“We’re giving up (three) voids, and we’ve had a thin lineup,” Eagles coach Dave Drath said. “That’s a big part of our problem. We spotted them (18) points before we stepped on the mat. We are not executing in a match what we do in practice every day, and that’s the frustration.”

Stoney Creek got off to a hot start, getting three pins in the first seven matchups.

“Even in a wrestling match there is momentum, and I think the kids were ready. All of a sudden the momentum starts going against us,” Drath said. “We just didn’t do the things that we can do, that’s what’s frustrating about it. They work hard every day; we just have to put it on the mat.”

Then as the weight classes began to move up, Ike was able to get more experienced wrestlers into the lineup and earn some points.

As soon as Logan Arche got onto the mat at 152 pounds to win by decision, the tides began to change in favor of the Eagles. From there, Ryan Siegie, Joe Jaynes, Mark Nikolej and Reese Willing all got pins in four of six matches.

Even with all the frustration, Drath credited his grapplers for showing up and competing when they could have been enjoying easier activities.

“I said, ‘You guys are out here. You’re putting in the sweat and the time while your friends are home playing “Fortnite,” and you’re here wrestling on a day off of school.’ That shows something. That shows some character,” the coach said.

Heading into next season, Drath said the Eagles are only graduating “a couple of kids.” With most of the grapplers coming back and the birth of junior high programs, Drath hopes the future is bright for Ike wrestling. However, the more pressing issue is an improved mentality from his current wrestlers.

“We just got to start building. We’ve got to get a little more serious about it, and we’ve got to work in the offseason,” he said.

After beating Ike in the opening round, Stoney Creek went on to face Rochester Adams in the district final. The Highlanders used 10 straight pins to beat the Cougars 71-12 to win their fourth district title in the last five years.

“I’m proud of my boys. They’re good kids,” Adams coach Mike Holtz said. “They represent the program on the mat well and off the mat well.”

In other local wrestling news, Utica High fell in the first round of a Division 1 team district 63-18 against eventual champ Utica Ford II Feb. 7 at Troy Athens. The Chieftains finished the season at 11-9 overall and 4-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

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