Division 1 Team Preview
MI Grappler High School Analyst Steve@michigangrappler.com
#1 Detroit Catholic Central
Ranked Wrestlers – 9
Key Returners: Trevor Zdebski (#4 119, State Placer), Evan Toth (125, 2011 State Qualifier), Myles Amine (#6 130, State Qualifier), Ken Bade (#1 130, 2X State Champion), Malik Amine (#1 140, State Runner-Up), Mike Babicz (#8 152, 2011 State Qualifier), Logan Marcicki (#1 160, 2011 State Champion), Drew Garcia (#1 171, State Champion), Jay Peterson (#6 215), Bob Coe (#1 285, State Placer)
Key Losses: Zac Colone (112), TJ Fagan (125, 2X State Placer), Alec Mooradian (152 3X State Champion), Nick Mason (160, 3X State Placer), Kevin Beazley (189, State Champion)
Impact Newcomers: Zack Prater (#10 103, Freshman)
Outlook: While the overall depth and talent level remains outstanding at Detroit Catholic Central, the Shamrocks face a vast challenge after graduating their most prolific senior class since Head Coach Mitch Hancock took over the program in the 2007-2008 season. Among those departing include 3X state champion Alec Mooradian, state champion Kevin Beazley, 3X state placer Nick Mason and 2X state placer TJ Fagan. The team is fresh off the heels of their second state championship in a three-year span, and has officially established themselves as the perennial gold standard in division one. However, in order to maintain their dominance the Shamrocks will need some of their younger talent to assume bigger roles, and fill the void left by their departed seniors.
While they have been known for their stellar
lowerweights in the past several seasons, this year’s
DCC team will have their best crop of upperweights
since Mike Martin graduated in 2008, a current member
of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Anchoring the top of the
lineup will be D1’s #1 ranked heavyweight, Bob Coe, a
three-year starter who has put together a stellar
preseason highlighted by a runner-up finish at the
Grappler Fall Classic, and a third place finish at the
Super 32 Challenge. Furthering their firepower in the
upper weights will be junior Andrew Garcia, a standout
sophomore who is one of three state champions in the
Shamrock’s lineup, and currently ranked #1 across all
divisions at 171lbs. One Shamrock big man who will be
looked upon to fill a bigger role this season is senior Jay
Peterson, slated to start at 215lbs. While he has yet to
be entered into individual districts, Peterson has
performed well at a number of offseason events and
enters the year ranked #6 in division one.
In the middle of the lineup the Shamrocks will rely on junior Logan Marcicki, a 2011 state champion who appears primed for a big season after dominating his way to a Grappler Fall Classic title in October, and enters the year as D1’s #1 ranked 160lbr. Another top-ranked wrestler in the middle of the Shamrocks lineup is junior Malik Amine, a state runner-up from a year ago, and another member of the team who will be looked upon to step up and help ease graduation losses. Additionally, senior Mike Babicz will also be a key asset in the middle of DCC’s lineup. A 2011 state qualifier who was not entered into districts last year, Babicz looked very good at last month’s GFC and enters the season ranked #8 at 152lbs. The top wrestler in DCC’s lineup for the 2012-2013 season will be Ken Bade, a 2X state-champion currently ranked #1 across all divisions at 130lbs, and ranked #18 nationally at 126lbs by Flowrestling. For the past three seasons Bade has been a key component in the Shamrock’s outstanding success, and now will be looked upon to provide a great deal of leadership as he serves as the team’s only captain. Joining Bade as a key contributor in the lighter portion of the Shamrock’s lineup is sophomore Trevor Zdebski. Ranked #4 in Division 1 to enter the season, Zdebski is coming off a 3rd place finish at 103lbs last year, and projects as a 119lbr for the 2012-2013 season. Also ranked highly for the Shamrock is Myles Amine, a state qualifier who is begins the season at the #5 spot at 130lbs. The final Shamrock to appear in the preseason rankings is Zack Prater, a tough incoming freshman who is expected to fill the 103lbs spot. They will also benefit from the experience of Evan Toth, a two-year starter and 2011 state qualifier projected to wrestle at 125lbs this season.
Ranked Wrestlers – 9
Key Returners: Lincoln Olson (#1 112, State Champion), Jacob Madrigal (#5 112, State Placer), Derek Humphrey (125, State Qualifier), Justin Oliver (#1 135, 2X State Champion), Dominic Russ (#5 140, State Placer), Carter Stoddard (#8 140, State Qualifier), Matt Miller (#4 145, 2X State Placer), Tomas Garty (#5 152, State Placer), Pat Rooker (#8 160, State Qualifier), Jordan Cooks (#1 171, State Champion),Ty Wildmo (171, Regional Qualifier), Jake Ellis (189), Trevor Thomas (215, Regional Qualifier)
Key Losses: Ryan Thick (171, Regional Qualifier)
Impact Newcomers: Max Johnson (#1 103, Freshman), Tanner Thomas (171, Freshman)
Outlook: In the 2010-2011 season the Cardinals began their return to prominence, bringing in one of the most impactful freshman classes to come through Michigan in quite a while. Although that otherwise great season ended early and in disappointing fashion, Davison laid the foundation for great things to come. Now having experienced a trip to the team state championships in Battle Creek, and with their highly regarded class of 2014 entering their junior seasons, Davison appears primed for what should be their best season since the glory years of the early 2000’s when the likes of Brent Metcalf, Jon Reader and Paul Donohoe donned the Maroon and Gold. While the incumbent Detroit Catholic Central stands in their way, this year’s Cardinal squad is well equipped to make a serious run at winning a team state title and unseating DCC.
As has been the case the past few seasons, Davison will feature an array of tremendous young talent in their lowerweights. After putting together one of the most prolific debut seasons in recent memory, Lincoln Olson returns for the Cardinals ranked #1 at 112lbs across all divisions, and #10 nationally at 106lbs by Flowrestling. Also ranked #1 for the Cards is freshman Max Johnson, a well established newcomer who is coming off a very impressive showing at the Grappler Fall Classic. Between Olson and Johnson, Davison will have a combination of two of Michigan’s elite little guys, and will have great flexibility thanks to junior Jacob Madrigal, currently ranked as D1’s #5 112lbr. At 130lbs Davison will benefit from the talents of junior Justin Oliver who returns with his eyes set on winning his third consecutive state title after a very active offseason. Further depth will be provided by Derek Humphrey, a 2011 state qualifier who will likely man the125lbs spot. Davison’s talent does not waiver much in the
middle of the lineup where they are as solid and
balanced as anybody. At 135lbs they have yet
another top-ranked wrestler, Dominic Russ, a
junior who will be a state title contender after
finishing 5th in the state as a sophomore. Two
additional state placers in the middle for Davison
are #4 Matt Miller at 145lbs and #5 Tomas Garty at
152lbs, both of whom are also members of
Davison’s highly regarded junior class. Seniors
Carter Stoddard at 140lbs and Pat Rooker at
160lbs are both returning state qualifiers with
top-ten rankings, and will also be key pieces of the
Headlining the Cardinals upperweights will
be yet another stud from the class of 2014, Jordan
Cooks, the defending 160lbs state champion in
Division 1. Currently ranked as the nation’s #20
160lbr by Flowrestling, Cooks is also ranked first
in Michigan across all divisions, and will likely see
time at 160lbs and 171lbs during the season. Another key big guy will be Tyler Wildmo, one of the state’s top sophomores and a USAW Cadet All-American who will probably wrestle at both 171lbs and 189lbs. While he often flies under the radar, Jake Ellis is another very impressive sophomore who the Cards should be able to use at 189lbs or 215lbs. Adding experience will be Trevor Thomas, one of just a few seniors on the team’s roster, and a returning regional qualifier expected to wrestle at 215lbs.
Ranked Wrestlers – 7
Key Returners: Daniel Curtis (#7 112, State Qualifier), Eddie Schlickenmeyer (#6 130, State Qualifier), Mike Willits (#2 145, State Runner-Up), Rocco Borg (#4 152, 3X State Placer), Wes Maskill (160, State Qualifier), Marty Gianolla (#8 171, State Placer), Liam Logan (#4 189, State Qualifier), Ben Line (215), Zach Wood (#10 285)
Key Losses: Kyle Hill (125, 2X State Placer), Noah Cantara (135, State Placer), Jacob Peasley (152, 3X State Qualifier), Prescott Line (215, 2X State Champion)
Outlook: Although the Wildcats were unable to capture a second-consecutive state title, the 2011-2012 season was still a spectacular one for the Oxford program. The team further solidified their status as one of the state’s elite, and showed yet another impressive display of character when they defeated a Davison team in the state quarterfinals that had dismantled the Wildcats a few months earlier. Now as the season rapidly approaches Oxford is once again poised to contend for a Division 1 state title. The team brings back seven state qualifiers that will be well distributed across the lineup, and no D1 team has reloaded more consistently than the Wildcats over the past five years. However, standing in their way of a return to the team finals is #5 Rochester, an immensely talented squad who Oxford split duals with last season.
As has been the case in past seasons Oxford has a very good spread of talent from top to bottom, but their greatest strength will be their big guys. Once again filling the Wildcats heavyweight spot will be Zach Wood, a well traveled junior who begins the year ranked #10 in D1, and appears primed for a breakout season. At 189lbs Oxford returns Liam Logan, a veteran senior who has been a key contributor in the team’s success. Logan begins his final high school season with a #4 ranking after reaching the state meet for the first time last March. Proceeding Logan will be Marty Gianolla, one of the Wildcat’s three returning state placers. Ranked #8 at 171lbs to begin the season, Gianolla is another senior with plenty of experience under his belt. At 160lbs Oxford has yet another returning state qualifier, junior Wes Maskill who competed at 145lbs in last year’s individual state tournament. Senior Rocco Borg has been a key component of Oxford’s program for quite some time, and will now serve as one of the team’s leaders in his final season. A rare three-time Division 1 state placer, for the past three seasons Borg has contributed for Wildcat teams which all advanced to the state
semi-finals or farther. He is projected to compete at 152lbs in
his senior year, and begins with a preseason ranking of #4.
One of last year’s breakout wrestlers across the entire state
was Mike Willits, who earned a state-runner up finish as a
sophomore after failing to break the varsity lineup as a
freshman. Following his breakout performance, Willits enters
his junior season expected to compete at 145lbs where he
carries a #2 ranking, the highest of any Wildcat. The next
Oxford wrestler to appear in the rankings is Eddie
Schlickenmeyer, a junior who begins the year slotted #7 in D1.
A 2011 state placer, Schlickenmeyer will look to get back on the
podium at 130lbs this season after falling a match shy of
all-state honors last March. Rounding out the large group of
ranked Wildcats is another senior; Dan Curtis. After coming
within a match of all-state status at 103lbs last season, Curtis
is expected to wrestle at 112lbs where he is currently ranked #7.
Ranked Wrestlers – 6
Key Returners: Nate Hughes (#7 119, State Qualifier), Jacob Gorial (#8 125, State Placer), Justin Rollins (125, State Qualifier), Austin Eicher (#2 130, State Runner-Up), Anthony Colaianne (#9 145, State Qualifier), Mitchell Thomas (#10 171, State Qualifier), Chad Maks (#8 189, State Qualifier)
Key Losses: Justin Charneski (171, 2X State Placer), Matt Ostermiller (189, State Placer), Brian Braun (215, State Qualifier)
Outlook: The eleven-time reigning regional champions have been a model of consistency across Michigan for over a decade, and once again Hartland finds themselves poised for a run to the team finals. Last year was an especially good one for the Eagles, who reached the state semi-finals, and qualified ten individuals for the state tournament. Of those ten state qualifiers, seven return for the 2012-2013 season, and the Eagles look to be exceptionally well balanced from top to bottom. However, in order to extend their streak to twelve consecutive regional championships, Hartland will need to get by some stout competition. Division rival #7 Brighton, along with #10 Clarkston, are both in the Eagles region and will also be intent on reserving a spot in Battle Creek.
As previously stated, this year’s Hartland squad has exceptional balance, and no stretch of the lineup is without returning state qualifiers. The strongest point of this Eagles team will come between 119-130, where they have a great deal of talent. The Eagles return four state qualifiers within this range, ensuring they will have a plenty of flexibility and various options on how they want to match up for dual meets. Leading off their ranked wrestlers is junior 119lbr Nate Hughes, a state qualifier at 103lbs last year who is ranked #7 to begin the season. Following Hughes will be another junior and returning state qualifier; Justin Rollins. Currently on the verge of breaking into the D1 rankings, Rollins will be back at 125lbs, the weight at which he qualified for last year’s state meet. Also at 125lbs for the Eagles is Jacob Gorial, one of their two returning all-staters. Gorial is coming off a fantastic freshman season that culminated in a 7th place finish at the state meet, and enters his sophomore season ranked #8 at 125lbs, which at this point is without a doubt the deepest and toughest weight class in D1. Capping of this stretch of the lineup is Austin Eicher, the Eagle’s top wrestler. A junior, Eicher begins the year with a #2 ranking at 130lbs after a runner-up finish at 119lbs last season, and a strong offseason that included a 3rd place finish at the Intermat JJ Classic. While not quite as potent as the lowerweights, there is ample talent and experience on the heavier side of the lineup. Manning the 145lbs spot will be senior Anthony Colaianne, a returning state qualifier who carries a #9 ranking. Veteran Mitchell Thomas returns for his final season at 171lbs, where he is ranked #10 after qualifying for the state tournament at 152lbs last March. The 189lbs spot will belong to Chad Maks, yet another senior and returning state qualifier who is ranked #8 in the D1 preseason rankings. Although the 215 and 285lbs spots remain a mystery, Hartland has a long and impressive history of producing highly successful big men.
Ranked Wrestlers – 6
Key Returners: Justin Kim (#4 112, State Placer), Josh Wood (#1 125, 2X State Runner-Up), Kaelan Richards (#2 140, 3X State Placer), Aaron Morgan (#6 152, State Placer), Dean Vettese (#4 160, 2X State Placer), Schane Schadia (171), Schwan Shadia (#3 189, State Placer)
Key Losses: Cody Devoe (171, 2X State-Placer)
Impact Newcomers: Ryan Morgan (130, Freshman)
Outlook: Over the past few seasons Rochester has
made a rapid ascent to prominence in Division 1, and
with six returning state-placers this year’s squad
should be among the best across the entire state. The
Falcons turned quite a few heads last season, clawing
their way into the upper-half of the D1 team rankings
after beginning the year unranked. It was a season of
many notable feats, but none was more impressive
than when the Falcons made a monumental statement
last January by defeating then-defending state
champion Oxford. Although they eventually fell to Oxford
in a re-match at team regionals, Rochester answered
any doubts in regard to their legitimacy as one of D1’s
top teams. The vast majority of last year’s team is
back, and the Falcons will be intent on making the trip
to the team finals in Battle Creek after falling just short
in 2011-2012. However, in order to do so they must go
through #3 Oxford, who once again is in their region.
This year’s Rochester team has studs across the
board, with six all-staters allocated between
112-189lbs that should account for a ton of bonus
points. Their first big weapon comes at 112lbs, where senior Justin Kim is ranked #4 after a top-six finish at last year’s state tournament. Next comes Josh Wood at 125lbs, one Michigan’s top wrestlers in the class of 2013. Following state runner-up performances in his first two high school seasons Wood missed last year’s state meet due to an injury, and should be hungry for a state championship in his senior year, which he begins with a #1 ranking in D1. Following Wood in the order will be Ryan Morgan at 130lbs, a talented Freshman the Falcons have high hopes for. Rounding out the lower half of Rochester’s lineup is #2-ranked senior Kaelan Richards , a rare three-time D1 state placer. The past two seasons Richards has finished third and the state meet, and is a big-time to contender to win it all at 135 or 140lbs this March.
The Falcon’s impressive array of talent continues in the heavier half of the lineup beginning at 152lbs. Filling this spot will be Aaron Morgan, a junior who holds a #6 preseason ranking thanks to an all-state sophomore season. Following Morgan in the lineup is Dean Vettese, another member of Rochester’s monster senior class. A 3rd place finisher at last year’s state tournament and two-time state placer, Vettese begins his final high school season with a #4 ranking at 160lbs. Rounding out Rochester’s fleet of heavy hitters is Schwan Schadia, D1’s #3-ranked 189lbr. Schadia returns following a breakout sophomore season in which he captured Division all-state honors. One final Falcon big-man to take note of is Schane Schadia, Schwan’s twin brother who will once again fill Rochester’s 171lbs spot.
#6 Temperance Bedford
Ranked Wrestlers – 4
Key Returners: Tyler Rogaliner (#4 103, Regional Qualifier), Mitch Rogaliner (#1 119, 2X State Champion), Mitch Pawlak (#9 125, State Qualifier), Jacob Lohr (140, Regional Qualifier), David Lijewski (171, Regional Qualifier), Brandon Sunday (#1 215, State Runner-Up), Adam Ortman (285)
Key Losses: Al Regnier (140, All-State), Jon Prajzner (171, Regional Qualifier), Brian Smith (215, 2X All-State), Logan Rimmer (285, 2X State Runner-Up)
Outlook: It is hard to imagine a better debut year for a head coach than the one Kevin Vogel had last year. In his first season at the helm of the Temperance Bedford program, Coach Vogel led the team to their first regional title since 2008. As great of a season as it was, the year ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Kicking Mules, who fell to Hartland in the state quarterfinals in a dual meet that was determined on the eighth tiebreaker criteria. Following this disappointing end to an otherwise tremendous season, expect to see a hungry and more experienced Bedford squad in 2012-2013. Although several key seniors graduated, the returning talent is considerable, and the Mules enter the year as clear-cut favorites to repeat as regional champions.
This year’s Bedford squad has sometime big time firepower, but also features nice balance throughout the lineup. The lower weights should be particularly good, especially between 103-125. Two-time state champion Mitch Rogaliner returns for his senior season with a #1 ranking at 119lbs across all divisions. A recent Michigan State commit, Rogaliner is one of Michigan’s most accomplished wrestlers, and recently won his second consecutive Grappler Fall Classic Championship. Once again joining Mitch in the lineup will be his younger brother, Tyler Rogaliner. After a strong freshman season in which he fell just short of being a state qualifier, Tyler is back at 103lbs and ranked #4 in D1 to begin the season. The Mules will have a veteran at 125lbs, where Mitch Pawlak is currently ranked #9 in D1 after falling just short of all-state status as a junior last March.. In addition to Mitch Rogaliner, who leads the lowerweights at 119lbs , Bedford also features a #1-ranked wrestler in the upperweights; Brandon Sunday. A senior who was a state runner-up last season, Sunday is coming off a dominant showing at the Grappler Fall Classic where he pinned his way to the top of the podium at 215lbs. While they are not household names yet, the Mules return a pair of very solid seniors in the middle of the lineup. At 140lbs Jacob Lohr is back and on the cusp of breaking into the D1 rankings after coming within a single point of qualifying for the state tournament last year. Also returning to the lineup is 171lbr David Lijewski, another wrestler who fell one match short of being a state qualifier in 2011-2012. Another with the potential to be a key contributor is big man Adam Ortman, who will fill the 285lbs spot after waiting behind two-time state runner-up and NHSCA All-American Logan Rimmer the past two seasons.
Ranked Wrestlers – 3
Key Returners: Jordan Amine (#3 145, State Placer), Ryan Foley (#8 145, State Qualifier), Aaron Calderon (#1 152 State Champion), Nick Brish (160, State Qualifier),
Key Losses: Matt Moody (112, Regional Qualifier), Jackson Pizzo (119, 2011 State Qualifier), CJ Brish (130, 2X State Qualifier), Evan Hoshaw (135, 2X State Placer), Jordan Maschke (160, State Qualifier), Andy White (171, State Qualifier)
Impact Newcomers: Grant Morrison (103, Freshman)
Outlook: While they have been solid for quite a while under Head Coach Sam Amine, Brighton has taken their success to the next level over the past two seasons, cementing their status as one of D1’s elite programs with back-to-back appearances in the state semifinals. However, this streak will be in jeopardy following the graduation of one the best senior classes in school history. A total of nine starters
depart from the Bulldogs lineup, five of whom were
state qualifiers last season. They do return some
big-time studs in the middleweights, but Brighton will
need new faces to step in and fill the voids created by
graduation in order to claim their third straight regional
championship. Furthermore, their path to Battle Creek
will not be an easy one, as the Bulldog’s share a
region with #4 Hartland and #10 Clarkston.
The middle of the lineup is excellent, and will be
the team’s biggest strength. Defending state
champion Aaron Calderon returns with a #1 ranking at
152lbs following a monster junior season in which he
established himself as one of the state’s elite
pound-for-pound wrestlers. The other stud in the
middle for Brighton is Jordan Amine, a senior who has
played a key role in the team’s recent success.
Following a top-four finish at 119lbs last March, Amine
will be transitioning all the way up to 145lbs where he
begins the year ranked #3. Also ranked at 145lbs for Brighton is senior Ryan Foley, who returns for his senior year with a #8 ranking after falling one match shy of placing at the state meet last season. The final state qualifier returning to the team is Nick Brish, who should vie for all-state honors at 160lbs after qualifying for states at 145lbs in his freshman season. While this stretch in the middle should be dominant, the Bulldogs will need to get a lot of production out of their new starters if they intend to topple Hartland and make a third consecutive late-February trip to Battle Creek.
#8 Grand Haven
Ranked Wrestlers – 4
Key Returners: Camden Bertucci (#2 112, State Runner-Up), Dakota Juarez (#2 152, 2X State Placer), Abe Westerman (160, Regional Qualifier), Connor Moynihan (#4 171, State Placer), Matt Mulcachy (#5 215, State Qualifier)
Key Losses: Josh Juchartz (125, State Qualifier), Allen Torres (135, State Qualifier), Dakota Smith (189, State Qualifier), Garret Kelly (215, State Placer), Ian Radde (285, State Qualifier)
Outlook: The 2011-2012 season was a great one for Grand
Haven, and perhaps the best in program history. For the first time
ever the team captured a regional title, Head Coach James
Richardson was named the MWA Division 1 head coach of the
year, and Assistant Coach Tom Foley was named the MWA
Division 1 assistant coach of the year. Following last year’s great
success the Buccaneers graduate an excellent senior class that
included five state qualifiers who will be missed greatly.
However, with four wrestlers ranked in the top-five of their weight
class to begin the season the cupboard is far from bare, and
Grand Haven enters the year as favorites to retain their regional
crown and make a return trip to Battle Creek.
There are plenty of spots that must be filled following
graduation losses, but to say the least, the Bucs have some
serious firepower. Their first stud is Camden Bertucci, currently
ranked #2 at 112lbs after a runner-up finish at the state
tournament as a freshman. Bertucci is coming off a monster
offseason in which he achieved USAW Cadet All-American status,
and posted an undefeated record at the USAW Junior Duals.
Another Grand Haven wrestler with serious state title aspirations
is 152lbr Dakota Juarez. Ranked #2 to begin his junior season, Juarez will have his eyes on the top of the podium after finishing 3rd at this weight last March. The final returning all-stater in the lineup is 171br Connor Moynihan. A two-time state qualifier, Moynihan enters his season with a #4 ranking following a 4th place finish at last year’s state meet. Also ranked highly is big man Matt Mulcachy, who is back with a #5 ranking after reaching the state tournament as a junior. Finally, another to watch is Abe Westerman, who is projected to fill the 160lbs spot after qualifying for regionals as a sophomore.
#9 Grand Ledge
Ranked Wrestlers -3
Key Returners: Jake Brabrant (#6 103, Regional Qualifier), Jay Jay Brickley (#5 119, State Placer), Bryan Jones (125, Regional Qualifier), Billy Reed (#10 130, Regional Qualifier), Patrick Powers (135, Regional Qualifier), Kyle Winstanley (140, Regional Qualifier), Nick Cugini (171, Regional Qualifier), Nick Verran (189, Regional Qualifier)
Key Losses: Dalton Kirkey (140, Regional Qualifier), Curtiss Brownell (145, State Placer), Corey Arnouts (285, All-State)
Impact Newcomers: Dylan Steward (130, Freshman)
Outlook: For the past several seasons Grand Ledge has been right on the cusp of winning a regional title, falling just short on multiple occasions. With a manageable draw and a plethora of returning staters, the upcoming season will offer the Comets a great opportunity to break through and make their first trip to Battle Creek for the team finals since 2005. To begin the season three Grand Ledge wrestlers are ranked in the top ten of their weight class, and the team features an impressive total of eight returning regional qualifiers. Although they will miss two graduated state placers, the core of the team remains largely intact, and the Comets are the early favorites to emerge from their region.
What the Comets lack in firepower they
make up for with tremendous balance across the
board. Their strength appears to be in the
lowerweights, but the team’s upperweights are
very competent as well. Returning at 103lbs will
be junior Jake Brabrant, one of Grand Ledge’s
eight returning regional qualifiers, and currently
ranked #6 in Division 1. At 119lbs the Comets will
feature their only returning state placer, Jay Jay
Brickley, who begins the year ranked #5 after a 6th
place finish at last year’s state meet. Continuing
the strong stretch of lowerweights is Bryan Jones,
another regional qualifier who projects at 125lbs
for his senior season. The Comets will have a
pair of good options at 130lbs; Billy Reed and
Dylan Steward. After coming within a match of
qualifying for the state meet last season Reed is
ranked #10 in the D1 preseason rankings.
Steward is a talented freshman who further
bolsters a very good group of lowerweights,
and should have a shot at qualifying for the state
tournament in his first high school season.
Filling the 135lbs spot will be Patrick
Powers who is back after qualifying for regionals as freshman last winter. Following Powers in the lineup at 140lbs will be Kyle Winstanley, yet another regional qualifier, and one of the team’s seniors. Occupying the team’s 171lbs spot will be Nick Cugini, a junior who qualified for regionals at 160lbs a year ago. Rounding out Grand Ledge’s large and impressive group of key returners is Nick Verran, who will once again wrestle at 189lbs where he came within a match of reaching the state tournament last season.
Ranked Wrestlers – 2
Key Returners: Ethan Lisewski (112, Regional Qualifier), Greg Miller (112, Regional Qualifier), Cameron Wilkie (125, State Qualifier), Jack Dionne (130, Regional Qualifier), Grant Ulrich (145, Regional Qualifier), Nick Vandermeer (#5 160, 2X All-State), Chris Calvano (#3 171, All-State), Adam Meyers (215)
Key Losses: Ethan Frick (189, All-State), Scott DeVos (285, 2X All-State)
Outlook: A perennial regional championship contender, Clarkston will once again be among D1’s top teams. Despite a few key departures, the Wolves bring back the majority of last year’s squad, which lost to Hartland in the regional finals. Once again #4 Hartland stands in their way of the team finals in Battle Creek, but with eleven starters returning the Wolves will be a legitimate contender to emerge from their stacked region, which also includes #7 Brighton.
Balance will be a strong point for this Clarkston team, which has no apparent weak spots in their lineup. Their highest ranked wrestler is Chris Calvano, currently slotted #3 at 171lbs. Calvano returns after a breakout junior season that ended with a 3rd place finish at the state tournament. Proceeding Calvano in the lineup is Nick Vandermeer, another senior stud. A two-time state placer for the Wolves, Vandermeer was also a USAW Junior All-American this spring, and a serious darkhorse in the 160lbs state title race. Another returning state qualifier is Cameron Wilkie, a junior who will vie for all-state honors at the 125lbs spot. Other Wolves to keep an eye on will be four regional qualifiers from last season; Ethan Lisweski at 112lbs, Greg Miller at 112lbs, Jack Dionne at 130lbs, and Grant Ulrich at 145lbs.
Ranked Wrestlers – 3
Key Returners: Chad Medley (112, Regional Qualifier), Joey Dombrowski (125, Regional Qualifier), Eric Rybarz (#5 135, 2011 State Placer), John Yank (#9 152, State Qualifier), Jon Bourcier (#5 160, State Placer)
Key Losses: Zach VanOverbeke (215, State Qualifier)
Outlook: One of D1’s most consistent programs, 2012-2013 figures to be another solid one for Anchor Bay. The Tars bring back the majority of last year’s district championship squad, and feature a large senior class that has helped account for three consecutive district titles as well as a regional title in 2010. Now with a regional draw that is far more favorable than last year’s, this season should present the Tars with a great opportunity to make their return to the team finals in Battle Creek. Leading the way is #5 ranked Jon Bourcier, a multiple-time state qualifier expected to return to the lineup at 160lbs where he was all-state last season. Another former all-stater on the Tar’s roster is Eric Rybarz, D1’s #5-ranked 135lbr. Rounding out the ranked wrestlers is John Yank, a senior who is ranked #9 at 152lbs after qualifying for the state meet last season.
Ranked Wrestlers – 3
Key Returners: Benny Gomez (#2 103, State Placer), Shayne Wireman (#2 119, 2011 State Champion), Mino Trevino (125, State Qualifier), Kyle Grander (130), Dom Trevino (#3 140, 2X State Placer), AJ Presley (152, State Qualifier)
Key Losses: Drew Dyer (135, State Qualifier), Jeff Lyon (152, State Placer)
Outlook: From an individual firepower standpoint the talent level at Holt is excellent, and this is a proven program that is only four seasons removed from a team state title. However, lingering questions about their upperweights keep the Rams out of the top ten for the time being. The team returns just one wrestler to post a winning record between the weights of 145-285, so until the wrestlers in this stretch can establish themselves, Holt will likely remain on the bubble of the rankings. But if they can get some production from their big guys, this has the potential to be a fantastic season.
2011 state champion Shayne Wireman is currently ranked #2 at 119lbs, and is one of the elite lowerweights across the entire state. At 103lbs Benny Gomez is ranked #2 as well, and primed for a run at a state title. Two-time all-stater Dom Trevino is ranked #3 at 140lbs, and joins Wireman and Gomez as being a serious state title contender. Additional returning state qualifiers Mino Trevino at 125lbs and AJ Presley at 152lbs should make Holt’s stretch from 103-152 among the best in any division. Furthermore, there is a possibility that 2011 state placer and USAW Junior All-American Martin Rodriguez will be back with the team at 125lbs, which would give the Ram’s four serious state title contenders between 103-140. If that is the case Holt will have a great opportunity to thwart Grand Ledge at team districts and make their return to the team finals in Battle Creek, especially if they can improve in the upperweights.
Ranked Wrestlers – 2
Key Returners: Frank Drogosch (112, Regional Qualifier,) Jake Johnson (#4 140, State Placer), Kenny Seelye (#7 145, 2011 State Placer), Alex Bozinovski (160, 2011 Regional Qualifier), Josh Burnham (171), Antonio Ballabani (189)
Key Losses: None
Outlook: The past few seasons have been good ones for the Macomb Dakota program, which has established itself among Macomb County’s best. The team consistently yields top-notch individuals, and is competitive from a dual meet standpoint as well. Now the Cougars will look to take the next step and win a regional title, as they bring back virtually all of last year’s team, which was very solid from top to bottom. Two Cougars are ranked to begin the year, and an impressive total of eleven wrestlers return after finishing with winning records last season. The Cougar’s top wrestler is Jake Johnson, ranked #4 at 140lbs to begin his junior season after an all-state finish as a sophomore. Another to keep an eye on will be #7 Kenny Seelye, a 2011 state placer who will be hungry to get back on the podium at 145lbs in his senior year. Given their balance and experience, Macomb Dakota appears to have great opportunity to beat out Anchor Bay and L’Anse Creuse and emerge from their region.
Ranked Wrestlers – 2
Key Returners: Brandon Harris (#8 112, State Qualifier), Mohamad Youssef (112, Regional Qualifier), Trey Berry (125, Regional Qualifier), Chase Kalill (#4 130, State Placer), Joe Conn (135, Regional Qualifier), Alec Breckinridge (140, 2011 State Qualifier), Hussein Youssef (145)
Key Losses: Said Youssef (140, State Placer)
Outlook: One of D1’s young rising programs, all signs indicate that this year should be the best in the short history of Plymouth wrestling. The 2011-2012 season saw the Wildcats capture their first Division 1 district title in team history, and only one key wrestler from last year’s squad departs to graduation. Leading the way for the Wildcats will be a very talented fleet of lowerweights, where every wrestler between 112-140 will have a good shot at qualifying for the state meet. Highlighting this group is Chase Kalill, Plymouth’s only returning state placer, and currently D1’s #4 130lbr. Also ranked for the Wildcats is Brandon Harris, a sophomore who begins the season slotted #8 at 112lbs. Additionally, former state qualifier Alec Breckinridge at 140lbs and regional qualifier Trey Berry at 125lbs are both on the cusp of being ranked, and should vie for all-state honors. However, as good as the lighter half of the lineup looks, Plymouth will need to get production out of their big men in order to compete with #6 Temperance Bedford and Westland John Glenn for a regional title.
Westland John Glenn
Ranked Wrestlers – 3
Key Returners: Kyle Gillies (#3 112, 2X State Placer), Quinn Dupraw (130, Regional Qualifier), Travis Mann (#2 152, State Placer), Jordan Brandon (#2 215, Regional Qualifier), Dylan Morantes (285, Regional Qualifier)
Key Losses: Jesse O’Neal (130, State Qualifier), Kevin Wakcer (145, Regional Qualifier), Anthony Long (152, State Placer), Danny Croft (171 State Placer)
Outlook: Under Head Coach Bill Polk the Rockets have a track record of producing tough, scrappy and resilient teams that wrestle well at the right time of the year. This year’s Westland John Glenn team has three big-time studs, and if they can fill the surrounding weights with solid wrestlers they should be competitive with #6 Temperance Bedford at team regionals. Back at 112lbs for the Rockets is veteran Kyle Gillies, who is ranked as D1’s #3 112lbr after filling Glenn’s 103lbs spot the past three seasons. The big weapon in the middle of the lineup is Travis Mann, another senior, and D1’s current #2 ranked wrestler at 152lbs. In the upperweights, the Rockets will look for big things out of Jordan Brandon, who begins the year ranked #2 at 215lbs following a very impressive sophomore season. All three of the aforementioned wrestlers are serious contenders for individual state titles, so the firepower is certainly in place for another strong season in Westland.
Copyright 2007-2012, Michigan Grappler, LLC
May not be republished or reproduced without expressed, written permission