WRESTLING: Catholic Central inches closer, reaches state semifinals for fifth straight season; Hartland back in semis
BY DAN STICKRADT
BATTLE CREEK — There seems to be a common thread when it comes to Division 1 Team Wrestling in Michigan and Novi Detroit Catholic Central is part of that fabric pattern.
The powerful Shamrocks, who are the two-time defending state champions and winners of 12 state championships and two state runner-up trophies dating back to the late 1960s, took the next step Friday afternoon at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena in its title quest.
Third-ranked Catholic Central cruised past Plymouth, 57-19, to set up a 9:30 a.m. date Saturday with Hartland in the state semifinals. It marks CC’s fifth straight trip to the Final Four and Hartland’s 10th in 11 seasons.
“I honestly don’t know how many times we’ve been here since they started the (team state tournament),” admitted Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock. “Our goal is to get here every year and try to win a state championship and represent Catholic Central the best way we can.”
This marked the ninth time in 14 years that CC has reached at least the state quarterfinals. The Shamrocks lost in the Elite Eight in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009 before reaching the state finals each year from 2010-13.
CC won state titles in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and lost in the finals to Oxford in 2011.
Ninth-ranked Oxford and top-ranked Davison match up in the other state semifinal Saturday morning, setting up four state powerhouse teams on the Final four stage.
“I think there’s a lot of factors why these teams are here a lot, and why it’s a lot of the same teams in each division,” offered Hancock. “I think it has to do with quality coaching at all levels, commitment in the off-season and hard work. That is something that we always preach at Catholic Central.”
Against Plymouth, the Shamrocks showed no mercy on the Wildcats, who were making their first-ever appearance in Battle Creek in the 12-year history of the school.
Nick Jenkins (285), Evan Toth (125), Nick Bennett (152), Drew Garcia (171), Nick Geise (189) and Jimmy Russell (215) all recorded pins on the day for Catholic Central, which amounted for 36 points. Davis rastigue (103, major decision), Trevor Zdebski (119, decision), Eli Joseph (135, major decision), Myles Amine (140, decision), Malik Amine (145, decision) and Tyler Morland (160, major decision) also won matches for the Shamrocks.
Plymouth’s sole victories came at 103 and 112 early in the match and again at 130.
HARTLAND CRUISES PAST MACOMB DAKOTA
Hartland has made a living at making an annual trip to Battle Creek, site of the MHSAA wrestling state tournament since 1988. The Eagles have also made a laving at reaching the Final Four.
For the 10th time in 11 seasons, the Eagles advanced to the final day by pinning Macomb Dakota, 40-27, in the state quarterfinals Friday at Kellogg Arena. This marks Hartland’s sixth straight trip to the semifinals.
Hartland built a 21-6 lead after six weight classes and never looked back. The Eagles led 36-6 at one point before Dakota won four of the last five weight classes, two by pin, to close the final gap down to 13 points.
“We knew we clinched it at 145 if we didn’t get pinned and I felt pretty good (looking ahead) about the 189 pound match because we lost to that kid last time,” said Hartland coach Todd Cheney. “But I really thought that was a match we could win, and they needed to pin out to beat us, so at that point I was pretty comfortable.”
Under Cheney, Hartland has recorded a 595-91-2 record over 22 seasons, yet despite 10 Final Four appearances have never won a state championship. The Eagles lost in the state finals four times (2004-2007) and the semifinals five times.
Hartland will face two-time defending state champion Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 9:30 a.m. at Kellogg Arena.
Hartland has now finished in the top eight in the state, between Division 1, Class A or Class B a total of 17 times dating back to 1981.
NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL 57, PLYMOUTH 9
285: Nick Jenkins (DCC) p. Ricky Burke 5:24; 103: Davis Rastigue (DCC) maj. dec. Zach Lundburg 9-1; 112: Brandon Harris (P) d. Tommy Herrmann 6-1; 119: Trevor Zdebski (DCC) d. Mohamad Youssef 7-3; 125: Evan Toth (DCC) p. Spencer Schiftar 2:19; 130: Dylan Dwyer (P) p. Greg Johnson (DCC) 3:02; 135: Eli Joseph (DCC) maj. dec. Daniel Ahearn 10-2; 140: Myles Amine (DCC) d. Thomas Eschelbach 7-0; 145: Malik Amine (DCC) d. Sofus Nielson 4-0; 152: Nick Bennett (DCC) p. Sam Campbell 0:19; 160: Tyler Morland (DCC) maj. dec. Joey Shaver 11-3; 171: Drew Garcia (DCC) p. Terek Tamimi 0:40; 189: Nick Geise (DCC) p. Hussein Youssef (P) 1:31; 215: Jimmy Russell (DCC) p. Jake Noll 1:36.
RECORDS: Novi Detroit Catholic Central 24-4; Plymouth 36-5.
HARTLAND 40, MACOMB DAKOTA 27
285: Josh Charneski (HA) p. Colin Shock 2:49; 103: Sal Caruso (MD) d. Eric Lundwall 8-1; 112: Garnet Potter (HA) maj. dec. Nick Barrett 16-6; 119: Zack Prater (MD) d. Reece Hughes 8-4; 125: Sage Castillo (HA) tech. fall Andrew Burnham 22-7, 5:50; 130: Justin Rollins (HA) p. Jacob Patterson 1:26; 135: Nate Hughes (HA) d. Kyle Cendrowski 4-0; 140: Austin Eicher (HA) d. Anthony Voisin 1:53; 145: Jacob Gorial (HA) p. Nick Papas 0:37; 152: Alex Bozinovski (MD) maj. dec. Anthony Colaianne (HA) 11-1; 160: Jake Johnson (MD) maj. dec. Logan Vish 17-2, 4:12; 171: Josh Burnham (MD) p. Nate Smith 1:04; 189: Jake Economou (HA) maj. dec. Greg Brohl 8-0; 215: Antonio Balabani (MD) p. Ben Dumond (HA) 0:55.
RECORDS: Hartland 39-2; Macomb Dakota 25-6.