Wrestlers from all over the state hit the mat Saturday for individual districts.
The top four finishers in each weight class stay on the road to the state finals. To make it to The Palace of Auburn Hills next month, the wrestlers have to be one of the top four finishers at regionals Feb. 18.
Here’s a wrap-up from this weekend’s action:
Division 1 - Hartland District
Hartland High School certainly enjoyed hosting its district Saturday.
Out of the 16 teams competing, the Eagles led the district with 10 regional qualifiers and seven district championships. But the host team wasn’t the only school to enjoy some success.
Andrew Napieraj, Thomas Girardot and Shon Powell won district championships for Brother Rice. West Bloomfield, Birmingham Seaholm and Troy Athens each qualified at least a pair of wrestlers.
In the 160-pound bracket, Powell didn’t break a sweat until the finals. He needed only 20 seconds to pin Farmington Harrison’s Nathan Shepherd in the quarterfinals and a 1:05 to pin Pontiac’s Jamell Humphrey in the semifinals.
The sophomore didn’t pin Hartland’s Chad Maks in the finals, but he did pick up an 18-9 majority decision. Powell heads to regionals with a 45-1 record on the season.
Napieraj (46-3) beat Seaholm’s Tim List in the finals of the 135-pound bracket on a 9-5 decision. Last year, the junior qualified for regionals in the 125-pound bracket.
After struggling to get past Hartland’s Nate Smith in the semifinals (4-3), Girardot (41-5) beat Pontiac’s Deishawn Stewart in the finals of the 145-pound bracket on a 7-2 decision. A year ago, the senior finished third place in the 140-pound bracket at districts.
Girardot is looking to make the state finals for the first time. Napieraj made the tournament as freshman in 2010.
Senior Jon Daniel (23-7) had the best finish of the day for Troy Athens. Daniel was strong in his opening bouts against Brother Rice’s Kyle Bindi and North Farmington’s Majd Mokbel. He pinned both wrestlers in the first round before losing to Clarkston’s Scott Devos in the finals on a 9-3 decision.
Teammates Tommy Keyes (38-6) and Jazz Hubbard (29-7) also qualified for the Red Hawks. Keyes, a sophomore, won the consolation bracket in the 119-pound bracket for a third place finish while Hubbard, a junior, lost in the consolation bracket of the 135-pound bracket to finish fourth.
Ross Bahro (44-5) gave West Bloomfield a shot at a district championship in the 119-pound bracket. He kicked off districts with two straight technical falls.
The sophomore beat Harrison’s Gabe Coltson in 17-1 at the end of the second round. He came right back with a 15-0 technical fall win over Waterford Mott’s Brennan Munley at the end of the second.
In the finals, Hartland’s Austin Eicher pinned Bahro at the 1:23 mark.
Lakers senior Danny Davidson (14-6) qualified for regionals in the 135-pound bracket winning the consolation bracket for a third place finish.
Seaholm was 0-2 in the finals Saturday. List lost to Napierag in the 135-pound finals. Teammate Ryan Law lost in the 140-pound finals to Anthony Colaianne of Hartland in a 14-9 decision.
Troy had nine wrestlers compete Saturday, but none of them qualified for regionals.
All qualifiers will compete next week at the regional hosted by Davison High School.
Division 1 - Birmingham Groves
The Royal Oak High School Ravens wrestling team saw five grapplers in the individual districts at Birmingham Groves High School on Saturday advance to next week’s regional tournament.
Three Royal Oak seniors and two freshmen will vie for a spot in the state tournament when they wrestle at L'anse Creuse High School next Saturday.
“Today we wrestled way above what we’ve done all year,” assistant coach Adam Matthews said Saturday.
Freshman Lee Hewson, in the 103 pounds weight class, made it to the finals where he lost on a first period fall to John Neis of University of Detroit Jesuit. Hewson recorded a first period fall of his own against Huy Ho of Sterling Heights in the semi-finals.
At 125 pounds, senior Tyler McCullough was Royal Oak’s sole champion, scoring a 4-2 decision over Mark Wise of U-D Jesuit in the finals. McCullough had earlier victories over opponents from Birmingham Groves, East Detroit and Fraser.
At 135 pounds, senior Joe Ledford fell in the second period to Adam Cross of Warren Cousino. Earlier in the tournament Ledford scored falls over opponents from Birmingham Groves and University of Detroit Jesuit.
Senior Dan Dobras, in the 152 pounds weight class, had a strong finish with a consolation finals fall over Jason Burge of East Detroit, who had beaten Dobras earlier in the tournament. Dobras had to fight his way all the way through the consolation bracket, scoring four victories during the day.
Freshman Cullen Conway finished in fourth place in the 285-pound weight class, recording two victories by fall before being pinned himself in the consolation finals.
Sophomore Aaron Par-Besemer reached the finals in the 112 pound weight class, losing to senior Doug Zundell of Roseville with a first period fall. Par-Besemer got to the finals by defeating Garrett Struby of Warren Mott in one of the most exciting matches of the day, registering a 4-2 decision.
Junior Miles Brown, at 119 pounds, won three matches during the day, two of them by fall. His final victory came in the consolation finals when he pinned Jonathan Hill of Fraser to take the bronze medal.
At 140 pounds, junior Austen Brantley finished third while compiling four victories during the day, his only loss coming to Paul Menth of Grosse Pointe North in the semi-finals.
Division 2 - Warren Fitzgerald
Avondale has probably had its fill of Holly. After losing to Holly in the team district finals Thursday 59-12, the Yellow Jackets watched the Broncos pick up five district championships at Warren Fitzgerald on Saturday. Holly and Fitzgerald tied for the most qualifiers out of the region with eight apiece.
Avondale didn’t bring home any individual championships, but did qualify seven wrestlers.
Jon Ozerties (130), Grant Sharkey (140), Troy May (145), Jacob Blomberg (160), Dillion Brancheau (160), Matt Wilson (189) and Chris Wilson (285) are headed to the regionals next Saturday at Tecumseh.
In the 171-pound bracket, Ferndale’s Chevez Farris won the district championship and was school’s lone qualifier.
Farris scored two technical falls and a majority decision on his way to the podium.
In the quarters, the senior beat Holly’s Blake Cuthbert 15-0 and in the semifinals he won 20-5 over Centerline’s Jaocb Legree. In the finals, he won a majority decision 13-4 over Lamphere’s Shawn Miller.
Going into the weekend, Andover head coach Tony Scigliano had high hopes for his team.
“We had a lot of success this season, with a 17-6 dual meet record, and winning the league championship,” Scigliano said. “We also won the Waterford Mott Tournament and took second place at the Annapolis Tournament. Overall, a very successful season, which I plan on continuing at the individual district championship.”
His team was successful with four qualifiers. Brice Stewart (103) and EZ Kidron (285) each placed third and Brody Wagerson (215) and Chris Jabero (152) each placed second. Wagerson’s loss in the finals to Holly’s Shawn Scott was only his third loss of the season. The senior is now 36-3 on the season and one of the top ranked wrestlers in the state in his weight class.
Lahser and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s failed to qualify anybody for the next round of the individual playoffs.
John Davids contributed to this report.