DIVISION 1 WRESTLING STATE FINALS: Catholic Central claims third straight D-1 crown by pinning down top-ranked Davison
BY DAN STICKRADT
BATTLE CREEK — Payback is never tougher than in a championship setting. Ask those around Davison’s wrestling program.
After losing to fellow state powerhouse Novi Detroit Catholic Central in last season’s Division 1 state title match, 29-26, in a meet that went down to the final weight class, top-ranked Davison sought its revenge on the Shamrocks Saturday night at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.
Catholic Central still proved too much to overcome.
Davison, the top-ranked school all season and the top-seeded team for the state tournament, couldn’t hang on to a 19-13 lead through eight matches, as Catholic Central closed out with a 21-0 run by winning the last six matches to prevail.
CC’s Drew Garcia outlasted Davison’s Jordan Cooks in overtime, 3-1, at 189 to clinch the title — Catholic Central’s third straight title and fourth in five years.
"All season long our coached told us not to talk about a three-peat," said Garcia, a two-time defending individual state champion. "He told us that we had to go out and try to win a state championship and not try to defend it. Our goal all along was to win the state title and we (rose) up and did it."
The win marked Catholic Central’s 11th state title, which ties the MHSAA record for most in Class A/Division 1 lore.
“This ties Temperance-Bedford for the most in Division 1 history. That’s shows how hard the kids work in this wrestling program,” said Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock, who has guided CC to a 149-32 record over seven seasons as the head coach. "That’s something we take a lot of pride in. But I told the entire team, coaches and parents at the beginning of the season that we were not to mention the (phrase) three-peat. Every year is different and our goal was to go out and try to win a state championship."
Davison defeated Catholic Central, 31-28, in a match in December. The Cardinals couldn’t match up with the Shamrocks this time around.
"They had a couple of guys out the last time, so they had everyone back this time and those guys made a huge difference for them," noted Davison coach Roy Hall, whose program slipped to 8-3 all-time in state championship matches. "This played out similar to what I thought. We needed a couple of close matches to go our way and they didn’t. That’s wrestling. We wanted to get them back (for last year) but came up short."
Down 19-13 through 140, Catholic Central’s Myles Amine started the comeback at 145 with a 6-4 decision over Dominic Russ. Brother Malik Amine (152) continued the momentum swing with a 5-3 win over Brenden McRill that tied the match at 19-19.
"Those guys are amazing. They were in the wrestling room three days after football season ended (in the state championship game) and ready to go at it," said Hancock. "What else can you say about those guys. They are champions on and off the mat. That’s the type of dedication that we have here at Catholic Central. These kids never stop working."
Nick Bennett (160) pinned Davison’s Jacob Robart in 1:40 to put Catholic Central up for good at 25-19. Freshman Tyler Morland (171) gutted out a 9-5 victory over Thomas Garty for a 28-19 advantage and set the stage for for Garcia.
CC’s Nick Geise (215) ended the match with a 4-1 triumph over Jake Ellis.
"This is all about Catholic Central High school, representing Catholic Central, the administration, the parents, and giving glory to God," added Hancock. "We would not be able to do this without any of them."
NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL 34, DAVISON 19
(Feb. 22 at Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek)
285: James Russell (DCC) d. Dakota Powers 6-1; 103: Aaron Rehfeldt (DCC) p. Jacob Alverez 1:33; 112: Maxwell Johsnon (D) d. Parker O’Brien 4-0; 119: Trevor Zdebeski (DCC) maj. dec. Jacob Madrigal 9-1; 125: Lincoln Olson (D) maj. dec. Evan Toth 13-5; 130: Derek Humphrey (D) d. Gregory Johnson 9-4; 135: Matt Miller (D) d. Eli Joseph 3-0; 140: Justin Oliver (D) p. Ryan O’Connor 1:07; 145: Myles Amine (DCC) d. Dominic Russ 6-4; 152: Malik Amine (DCC) d. Brenden McRill 5-3; 160: Nick Bennett (DCC) p. Jacob Robart 1:40; 171: Tyler Morland (DCC) d. Thomas Garty 9-5; 189: Drew Garcia (DCC) d. Jordan Cooks 3-1 (OT); 215: Nick Geise (DCC) d. Jake Ellis 4-1.
RECORDS: Novi Detroit Catholic Central 18-4; Davison 25-5.