DIVISION 1 WRESTLING: Oxford gracefully accepts defeat from top-ranked Davison in state semifinals
BY DAN STICKRADT
BATTLE CREEK — There’s no shame in falling to a superior opponent. Oxford felt the pain in defeat to Davison Saturday morning, but departed the Division 1 team state tournament in the semifinals round with no embarrassment.
Davison, ranked xxth in the nation, pounded Oxford 47-16 at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena to advance to the state finals Saturday afternoon.
Oxford, making its seventh Final Four appearance since 1999 and sixth in seven years, was more than like David trying to slay Goliath but an ant trying to take on a towering T-Rex. It simply wasn’t meant to be this year for the Wildcats, the 2011 D-1 state champions.
“They are awfully talented,” admitted Oxford head coach Paul McDevitt, who has been either a head coach or assistant coach during the Wildcats’ seven trips to the Final Four dating back to 1999. “Even their average kids are very good (comparatively speaking).”
Oxford held a 12-9 lead on Davison through five weight classes thanks to three straight wins from 215, 285 and 103. Ben Line (215) blanked Davison’s Jake Ellis, 5-0, Zach Wood (285) outlasted Dakota Powers, 2-0, and Jacob Call pinned Jacob Alvarez in 1:56 to give the Wildcats the lead.
That was the last ray of hope for Oxford (25-5).
Davison (25-4) won the next eight matches for a 47-12 lead before Oxford’s Wesley Maskill ended the match with a major decision victory over Thomas Garty at 160.
“There were a couple of weight classes where we through we might have a chance but we couldn’t get the win,” said McDevitt. “They have a lot of depth. They are just very good.
“We were hoping to make it to (Battle Creek) this year and try to win the first match Friday, which we did. Then we were hoping to get to the semifinals and face (Novi Detroit) Catholic Central or Davison and we did that. The younger guys got some great experience being here,” added McDevitt.
Davison advanced to the 4 p.m. state finals to face two-time defending state champion Novi Detroit Catholic Central, which downed Hartland 48-15 in the other semifinal. The Cardinals netted five straight state championships from 2002-2006 and lost in the title match last season to Catholic Central (29-26).
Overall, Davison has won eight state titles dating back to 1980 and the Cardinals are eying No. 9.
“There’s a reason why a lot of the same teams are here every year and that’s always our goal,” said Davison coach Roy Hall. “We always (strive) to get here and compete for a state championship.”
2014 MHSAA TEAM WRESTLING STATE SEMIFINALS
(Feb. 22 at Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek
DAVISON 47, OXFORD 16
171: Mark Lange (D)d. Zeb Throne 5-0; 189: Jordan Cooks(D p. Grant Krause 2:30; 215: Ben Line (O)d. Jake Ellis 5-0; 285: Zach Wood (O) d. Dakota Powers 2-0; 103: Jacob Call (O)p. Jacob Alvarez 1:56; 112: Max Johnson (D) d. Alex Hrisopoulos 3-2; 119: Jacob Madrigal(D)tech. fall Bailey Kammerer 16-0, 4:05; 125: Lincoln Olson(D) p. Collin Campbell 0:49; 130: Derek Humphrey (D) p. Vinny Vackaro 3:17; 135: Mathew Miller (D)d. Eddie Schlickenmeyer 9-6; 140: Justin Oliver(D) p. John Hassenzahl 0:56; 145: Dominic Russ (D p. Peter Economou 0:51; 152: Brenden McRill (D) d. Noah Kinne 7-1; 160: Wes Maskill (O) maj. dec. Thomas Garty 13-4.