WLC grappler wins another state crown

By: Christian Davis | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 14, 2016

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WALLED LAKE — Walled Lake Central wrestler Ben Freeman is one step closer to his quest for four state championships.

The junior won his third straight Division 1 title March 5 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

“I just have to stay focused. Setting my goals really high helps a lot,” he said. “A lot of people get nervous because it’s the biggest tournament of the season. When I get nervous, I just think about what I’m trying to accomplish as an ultimate goal, and it makes this seem really small. That seems to help.”

Freeman won his third in convincing fashion, pinning Westland John Glenn’s John Siemasz with 42 seconds left in the first period of the 135-pound bout. He led the match 8-3 before putting Siemasz on his back with a toss. 

“He went out there and took care of business,” said Central coach Al Freeman, Ben’s dad. “Whether it was going to go the whole match or not, he was going out there to set the pace. … If he goes out there like a horse out of the gate, good things usually happen.” 

Ben dominated the tournament, winning two of his matches by pin, one by technical fall and another by major decision.

“Yesterday, I felt kind of sluggish,” he said of a day where he won his semifinal 17-6 and pinned his opponent in the first period of his quarterfinal match. “Today, I really felt good in my warmup and great when I was out there. I wasn’t tired at all.”

He ends the season at 42-0 overall, giving him two straight seasons without a loss. In his prep career, he’s 129-1, with his lone defeat coming via injury default as a freshman. 

He’s won state titles at 125 last season and 103 as a freshman.

If Ben accomplishes his goal, he’ll be the 22nd four-time state champion in the state’s history. 

Until that chance comes, Ben will continue to take it one match at a time, one practice session at a time. His dad said he, and the other grapplers on Central, do countless amounts of drills. 

Ben added that he puts in the work so that wrestling becomes “second nature.”

“It’s like walking — you don’t really think about walking,” he said. “So when a guy does a certain thing (in a match), your body automatically takes them down.”

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