SOUTHFIELD — Engaged in one of the final matches of the evening, Novi’s Evan Smith and Cameron Smith of Birmingham Brother Rice needed overtime to determine who’d survive to wrestle another day at the Oakland County wrestling championships.
When it was over, Smith had pulled out a 5-4 victory in the 135-pound class, surviving the struggle, as he walked out of the Southfield High gym in exhaustion.
“He had a long day, mentally (exhausted) more than physical,” said Novi coach Brad Huss. “He’s tough to wear down physically ... but it’s great for him.”
Indeed, on the first day of the 54th annual tournament, held at Southfield High and Oxford Middle School, the battles were intense, and some were brief as wrestlers were trying to get to Saturday’s medal rounds.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central had 13 wrestlers advance to today’s action with nine still in the running for championship medals, including Malik and Myles Amine, Evan Toth, Parker O’Brien, Nick Bennett, Drew Garcia, Joe Lyons, Jimmy Russell and Tyler Morland. Toth is going for his fourth straight Oakland County title.
“I think they came out and competed well,” said Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock. “I was real happy with those guys who are filling in.”
Indeed, At least three CC wrestlers — all-staters Nick Giese, Trevor Zdebski and Logan Marcicki — are taking a breather as the Shamrocks prepare for the national-caliber Medina Invitational tournament next weekend in Ohio.
Southfield coach Vernon Burden was enthused with the Bluejays’ performance eight wrestlers advanced to the next round, including Davian Williams (140), Keith Lee (135) and Ezekiel Baker (285), who each tallied a pair of victories.
“We brought 13,” Burden said, “(and) the five guys that didn’t make it, four lost in the blood round. (But) everybody got a win today. They were in a good position and I’m excited about it.”
South Lyon’s Jameson Donahue was feeling swell after posting a pair of victories in the 215-pound class.
“First match I pinned him in 30 seconds,” said Donahue, who’ll have tougher competition today.
Clarkston had a number of wrestlers advance, including Brett Foltz who notched a pair of victories in the 135-pound class.
“I’m excited about it, I didn’t get to wrestle counties last year so I’m ready to make a name for myself this year,” said Foltz.
Ortonville Brandon’s Bryan LaVearn also was among the victors for the Blackhawks, while Holly’s Vince Bianchi outdueled Zachary Manfroni of Ortonville Brandon in the 189-pound class among the Bronchos’ advancing wrestlers.
Troy’s Tim Fedosseev earned a victory over Donte Humphrey of Southfield in the 135-pound class, but Humphrey survived his consolation match to advance to Saturday’s action.
Whisper Martin of Hazel Park, the only female in the competition, lost an 8-4 decision to Louis DuBose of Ferndale in the 140-pound class as DuBose avenged an earlier defeat at the hands of Martin.
DuBose fended off her attacks better this time. “I just wish my shots were more clean,” said Martin.