WRESTLING: Catholic Central wins fourth straight prestigious Oakland County title
WRESTLING: Catholic Central wins fourth straight Oakland County title
Oxford, Rochester, Clarkston, Lake Orion round out top five
BY DAN STICKRADT
LAKE ORION — Since moving from Redford to Novi five years ago, Detroit Catholic Central has held a stranglehold on the Oakland County Wrestling Tournament field.
The Division 1 top-ranked Shamrocks, the defending state champions, won their fourth straight county title Saturday afternoon at Lake Orion.
In 2008, CC did not compete at the county meet due to a prior commitment. That was the first year that CC was located in Oakland County.
“Sure, we love to win. But what impresses me more is the time commitment we have in order to do this this,” smiled CC coach Mitch Hancock. “We have a lot of guys that have really put in the time to make us such a strong team. Winning this is such a great (accomplishment)t. It’s not only one of the more difficult meets in the state to win but one of the toughest in the country. There was some great competition here and to win it again means a lot. It never gets old.”
The Shamrocks amassed 347 points to topple the field of more than 40 schools, and did so without two All-State wrestlers who missed the tournament due to injury. Oxford was second with 278 points and Rochester third with 264.5 points, as three of the state’s top five D-1 teams dominated the 53rd running of the prestigious meet.
Catholic Central had medalists in 12 of the 14 weight classes, with four champions, four runners-up, a fourth-place finisher, two fifth-place finishers and a seventh-place finisher on the day.
Clarkston was fourth with 239.5 points, while Lake Orion claimed fifth (207.5), as OAA Red Division schools took places second through fifth in a field where 39 schools scored points. Holly was sixth (187.5), while Ortonville Brandon (176), Rochester Stoney Creek (152), Waterford Kettering (146) and Rochester Adams (135.5) rounded out the top 10 in the team standings.
“We were right where I thought we would be,” offered Oxford coach Brandon Rank, who squad was second for the fourth straight year. “We knew we would be one of the top three teams and we were able to score in a lot of weight classes to do so.”
Trevor Zdebski (119), Evan Toth (125), Drew Garcia (171) and Bob Coe (285) all won titles for Catholic Central, as the Shamrocks scored in more weight classes than any other squad.
Zdebski took down Rochester’s Justin Kim (7-1), Toth tackled West Bloomfield’s Ross Bahro (12-4), Garcia doubled up Rochester’s Dean Vettese (4-2) and Coe tripped up Oxford’s Zach Wood (5-2) to reach the top podium.
“Our goal is to make it back (to the state finals), but doing well here will help us mentally believe we can do it,” said Toth, a junior and three-time champion. “It means a lot to me to win the county, but even better the whole team winning. We have a lot of goals this season and this was the first one.”
Rochester’s Schwan Shadaia outlasted Waterford Kettering’s Matt Okaiye, 3-1, in the 215-pound title match.
“This feels great because this gives me confidence for the rest of the season,” said Shadaia. “I think our whole team is going to do real well. Our goal is to make it to Battle Creek and once we get everyone back (in our lineup), I think we can have a chance. We did really well here today.”
Clarkston’s Chris Calvano earned some redemption this season by pinning Catholic Central’s Nick Giese in 3:34 in the 189-pound finals after not reaching the medals stand last season.
“Last year I didn’t even place. I wrestled really bad on the first day,” recalled Calvano. “This season I looked at the brackets and saw a bunch of kids I knew I could beat or have beaten before. I figured I could have a shot if I wrestled well.”
Birmingham Brother Rice’s Andrew Napieraj (145) won one of the night’s marquee finals with an 8-7 decision over Rochester’s Kaelan Richards. Rice teammate Shon Powell (160) edged Clarkston’s Nick Vandermeer 9-6 in his finals bout.
“I was1-1 against (Richards) as a freshman and beat him last year,” said Napieraj. “I really came in here thinking I could win. I did the best I could.”
Holly produced a pair of champions in Anthony Gonzales (140) and Mason Cleaver (135). Gonzales downed Catholic Central’s Malik Amine (8-5) and Cleaver posted a 10-2 major decision over Lake Orion’s Charlie Highlen.
Stoney Creek’s Kyle Noonan toppled Catholic Central’s Parker O’Brien (12-4) in the 112-pound finale. Stoney Creek teammate Andrew Price (152) blanked Oxford’s Wesley Ma skill 8-0 in the 152-pound finals.
Ortonville Brandon freshman Bryan LaVeran (103) got a taste of victory at the tournament with an 8-4 decision over Alex Hrisopoulos of Oxford, while Farmington’s Immanuel Govantes (130) pinned Catholic Central’s Myles Amine in 3:40 to round out the winners circle.
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