Central’s Freeman brothers continue to compete well on the mats in Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills – Walled Lake Central is having one of its best seasons and has had far more highs than lows on the wrestling mats this winter.
It is a brother combination that has become key cogs in the Vikings’ resurgence: Ben and Nick Freeman.
Central finished 23-2 in dual meets this season and advanced to the Division 1 regional finals before falling to eventual state runner-up Hartland (34-24) two weeks ago.
“This was a great year for us,” freshman 103-pounder Nick Freeman said. “It’s been a blast. We have done so well.”
Freeman, along with 125-pound sophomore brother Ben, are still very much alive in the Individual State Wrestling Tournament, which began Thursday at The Palace. The Vikings sent eight individual qualifiers to the Palace this weekend and seven of them won first-round matches Thursday.
Nick Freeman, in his first state finals appearance, downed Jace Garza of Holland West Ottawa by technical fall, 16-0. Ben Freeman, a state champion last year at 103, posted a 22-7, technical fall victory over Grand Blanc’s Hayden White.
The younger Freeman has learned a lot from his older sibling.
“(My brother) has walked me through this whole process," smiled Nick Freeman said of his older brother. "How to do it and how to do it good. He’s taught me a lot. He’s been through this before. He told me it’s different. It’s not as loud and to just block it out.”
Also advancing for Walled Lake Central were Kaleb Marion (112), Daniel Shear (135), Nick Costanzo (140), Prince Onwenu (189) and Alex Sovel (189).
State champ keeps rolling
Fresh off its first Division 1 state title in team wrestling, Brighton continued to pound the mats on Thursday. The Bulldogs have 11 state qualifiers, second to only Davison’s 12 state-meet contenders. Davison reached the state semifinals last weekend at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena, falling to Brighton.
State runner-up Hartland had nine qualifiers, Walled Lake Central and Grandville eight each, while quarterfinalists Detroit Catholic Central and Oxford had seven participants each. Grandville was a state quarterfinalist as well.
Brighton’s wrestlers went 5-6 in opening-round competition, with the Bulldogs sending two representatives into Friday’s quarterfinals at 215, Eric Conquest and Lucas Ready. Jackson Renicker (119), Ryan Salmon (145) and Nicholas Bush (171) also advanced for Brighton.
Hartland had its participants go 4-5 on the day, while Catholic Central and New Baltimore Anchor Bay both went 5-2. Walled Lake Central (7-1), Oxford (3-4), Grandville (4-4) and Grand Haven (4-2) also had high number of individual qualifiers