WRESTLING: Rochester stuns Oxford for district crown
LAKE ORION — During the regular season, Rochester wrestling coach Frank Lafferty was just waiting for his entire starting lineup to be healthy on the same night.
That finally happened Wednesday night — on the big stage.
Seventh-ranked Rochester posted one of the biggest wins in the history of its wrestling program, posting a 34-28 victory over fifth-ranked Oxford in a Division 1 district final at Lake Orion High School.
Rochester (26-6) lost to Oxford in January without four starters of the lineup and finished second to the Wildcats at the OAA Red Division championships last Saturday without three starters.
The Falcons made up for it in this year’s state tournament.
“It’s been hard on us the whole season because we’ve always had guys injured and out of the lineup,” offered Lafferty, who echoed that this was one of the biggest wins of his coaching career. “But we had Josh Wood who has missed most of the year and he wanted to wrestle so bad tonight. Shane Shadaia has been out for a month and he came back. We couldn’t have beaten a class team like Oxford without our full lineup.”
For the third time in two years, the match went down to the final weight class. Rochester junior Aaron Morgan stuck Oxford’s Liam Logan in 3:56 at 160 for the final six points.
Rochester defeated Oxford in the regular season in 2012, while Oxford defeated Rochester in the Division 1 regional finals last season in another match that went down to the final bout.
“I don’t know the magnitude of this win. The coaching staff talked about juggling our lineup to give us the best chance and to worked out,” added Lafferty. “We beat one of the best wrestling programs in the state.”
Oxford’s run has been quite remarkable. The Wildcats had won 10 straight district titles and five straight league titles. They have also been to the Final Four in five straight seasons with two state runner-up trophies and one state championship in that span.
“It’s really hard because we’ve had a great run,” said Oxford coach Brandon Rank. “I thought that we could have gone down to the final couple of weight classes with the lead. But Rochester moved some guys around and got some points where we didn’t expect them to. They wrestled very good and hats off to Rochester.”
Rochester never trailed, building an early 7-3 lead through three weight classes. The Falcons added to the advantage to build a 22-16 lead with five weight classes to go.
Ryan Morgan (135) posted a 6-2 victory over Oxford’s Adam Schlicht and Rochester teammate Kaelen Richards (140) downed Mike Willits, a state runner-up last season, 6-1 to move the lead to 28-16 with three bouts to go.
Oxford’s Rocco Borg (145) and Wesley Maskill (152) both walked off the mat with pins in less than a minute for a 12-0 run and tie the match at 28-28, setting the stage for a winner-take-all matchup at 160.
Dean Vettese (171), Shane Shadaia (189), Schwan Shadaia (285), Justin Kim (112) and Josh Wood (125) also had wins for Rochester.
Ben Line (215), Alex Hiroropoulos (103), Collin Campbell (112) and Edwin Schlickenmeyer (130) also recorded wins for Oxford (26-5).
ROCHESTER 34, OXFORD 28
(D-1 district final at Lake Orion H.S.)
171: Dean Vettese (R) d. Marty Giannola 11-3; 189: Shane Shadaia (R) d. Grant Krause 13-10; 215: Ben Line (O) d. Kyle Hilstead 7-1; 285: Shwan Shadaia (R) d. Zach Wood 8-2; 103: Alex Hiropoulos (O) by void; 112: Justin Kim (R) by void; 119: Collin Campbell (O) d. Seth Birchmeier 11-3; 125: Josh Wood (R) d. Daniel Curtis inj. default; 130: Edwin Schlickenmeyer (O) d. Joey Gunther 7-1; 135: Ryan Morgan (R) d. Adam Schlicht 6-2; 140: Kaelen Richards (R) d. Mike Willits 6-1; 145: Rocco Borg (O) p. Dillon Maier 0:33; 152: Wesley Maskill (O) p. Jacob Hardy 0:34; 160: Aaron Morgan (R) p. Liam Logan 3:56.
RECORDS: Rochester 26-6; Oxford 27-5.
OXFORD 42, LAKE ORION 9
(D-1 district semifinals at Lake Orion H.S.)
160: Liam Logan (O) d. Dan Sheridan 10-3; 171: Ethan Gros (LO) p. Levi Kinne 3:20; 189: Grant Krause (O) p. John Veglinski 4:20; 215: Ben Line (O) d. Durham Basso 5-2; 285: Zach Wood (O) d. Paul Scott 2-1; 103: Alex Hiropoulos (O) by void; 112: Collin Campbell (O) d. David Moore 3-2; 119: Double Void; 125: Daniel Curtis (O) d. Anton Lettica 3-2; 130: Edwin Schlickenmeyer (O) Charlie Highlen 5-3; 135: Juan Leon (LO) d. Adam Schlicht 8-2; 140: Mike Willits (O) d. Andrew Garretson 9-2; 145:Rocco Borg (O) p. Chris Warren 3:27; 152: Wesley Maskill (O) d. Devon Fulcher 9-3.
RECORDS: Lake Orion 27-11.
ROCHESTER 52, ROCHESTER ADAMS 17
(D-1 district semifinals at Lake Orion H.S.)
160: Aaron Morgan (R) maj. dec. Andrew Saboch 16-4; 171: Dean Vettese (R) by void; 189: Shane Shadaia (R) d. Steven Lott 8-7; 215: Alex Holder (RA) d. Kyle Hilstead 8-6; 285: Cam Daniels (R) by void; 103: Dylan Howcroft (RA) p. Andrew Sare 3:35; 112: Justin Kim (R) d, Justin Schofield 5-2; 119: Stephen Biebelhausen (RA) p. Seth Birchmeier 1:59; 125: Tyler Dukart (R) p. Scott Lillie 3:25; 130: Joey Gunther (R) p. Danny Jordan 1:35; 135: Ryan Morgan (R) d. Will Tang 11-5; 140: Dillon Maier (R) by void; 145: Kaelen Richards (R) p. Sam Addy 1:33; 152: Jack Addy (RA) tech. fall Jacob Hardy 15-0.
(Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)