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Hartland tops Walled Lake Central in regional final WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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Eagles reach state quarterfinals for 14th straight year

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COMMERCE TWP. >> Armed with perhaps its best wrestling team in nearly two decades, Walled Lake Central was primed to get to the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

But Hartland, a team accustomed to state finals appearances, proved to be too much of an obstacle to overcome.

The Eagles took flight in the final matches against the Vikings and flew away from their fellow KLAA rival for a 34-25 victory Wednesday at Walled Lake Central, securing their 14th straight trip to the state quaterfinals.

With the outcome still to be decided with two matches remaining, Hartland coach Todd Cheney pumped up 103-pounder Noah Lopez with an inspiring pep talk, and Lopez pinned Nick Freeman, whom he lost to last week, and clinched the victory for the Eagles, setting off a celebration among the wrestlers.

“In my mind this was an upset, that’s an incredible team over there,” exclaimed Cheney, who figured his squad would have trouble against the Vikings. “We wrestled incredible ... yes, yes, Lopez is the absolute man in my mind right now.”

Hartland won eight of 14 matches, including a stretch of five straight victories which got the Eagles the lead.

Central finished ahead of Hartland at the KLAA tournament, and had more individual qualifiers than Hartland at last week’s district tourney.

But head-to-head competition proved to be a different story.

“It’s amazing, all the work we put in this week ... people were doubting us, we showed the whole state we’re still in it,” said senior heavyweight Jake Economou.

Central, the Oakland County tourney and KLAA runnerup, had lost only to top-ranked Brighton in dual meets this season.

But the Vikings couldn’t overcome Hartland in a battle of state-ranked team. “It’s very disappointing,” said Central coach Al Freeman, whose squad led 13-3 at one point.

The Vikings gave up too many bonus points. George Noutai, Central’s 171-pounder, was penalized for stalling by backing up out the circle too many times and gave up six points.

Although Prince Onwenu (189) and Alex Sovel (215) earned victories, Sovel was nearly pinned by Aaron Laird, who had recently returned to the team, and had to go into overtime for his win.

That pumped up Hartland as Economou pinned Takale Ezell, and Lopez followed with his clincher.

“I really thought the turning point was win Laird put Sovel on his back,” said Cheney, delighted with his youthful squad. “We were pumped. This team is the youngest team I’ve coached in 15 years. This group has that mentality ... we’re not losing and if we’re losing, we’re going to go down fighting.”

Hartland’s 119-pounder Hayden Culver managed a 2-1 victory in overtime of Walled Lake Central’s Bernie Barden in the opening match.

Central won the next three, opening its biggest lead before Hartland came storming back.

The Vikings had primed for the Eagles with a 68-12 triumph over Birmingham Seaholm. Chris and Mike Saadatjoo got the only victories for the Maples, who ended their season at 19-6. “We had a real good year, beat a lot of good schools,” Maples coach Neil Tuomi said, “(but) Central was just better.”

Hartland topped Clarkston 61-10 in the other semifinal.

HARTLAND 61, CLARKSTON 10

112 - Garnet Potter (H) p. Justin Bliem 3:26; 119 - Hayden Culver (H) p. Drew Dorman :34; 125 - Kyle Cavanaugh (H) p. Houston Hemminson 3:53; 130 - Reece Hughes (H) p. Jacob Rygielski 3:40; 135 - Zach Zoll (H) d. Sean Lucas 11-2; 140 - Nick Dinoble (H) d. Jake Calvano 8-2; 145 - Logan Vish (H) p. Tyler Retford 3:22; 152 - Jacob Gorial (H) d. Nate Vandermeer 20-5; 160 - Lucas LaForge (H) d. Kyle Masters 5-3; 171 - Kas Waitkus (C) d. Jack Smith; 189 - Josh Cohoon (C) by void; 215 - Jake Economou (H) p. Percy Fowler :26; 285 - Ben Dumond (H) p. Kyle Morgan :43; 103 - Noah Lopez (H) by void.

WALLED LAKE CENTRAL 68, BIRMINGHAM SEAHOLM 12

112 - Kaleb Marion (C) p. Nick Law 3:52; 119 - Bernie Barden (C) d. Mac Fritz 12-0; 125 - Dom Paterra (C) p. Kohsuke Tashiro 2:31; 130 - Ben Freeman (C) p. Matt Maloney 5:07; 135 - Dan Shear (C) p. Blair Boerkel 1:00; 140 - Nick Costanzo (C) p. Matt Malattieri 3:49; 145 - Haydn Kinjorski (C) p. Max Campbell 4:34; 152 - Jacob Stitely (C) d. Pete Donaghue 18-1; 160 - Chris Saadatjoo (BS) p. Nick Onwenu 3:10; 171 - Mike Saadatjoo (BS) p. George Noutai 3:48; 189 - Prince Onwenu (C) by void; 215 - Alex Sovel (C) p. Dakota Tuomi 4:31; 285 - Takale Ezell (C) p. Sam McGlynn :53; 103 - Nick Freeman (C) by void.

HARTLAND 34, WALLED LAKE CENTRAL 25

119 - Hayden Culver (H) d. Bernie Barden 2-1 OT; 125 - Dom Paterra (C) d. Kyle Cavanaugh 13-4; 130 - Ben Freeman (C) tech. fall Zach Zoll 26-9; 135 - Daniel Shear (C) d. Reece Hughes 11-3; 140 - Sage Castillo (H) d. Nick Costanzo 12-7; 145 - Logan Vish (H) d. Haydn Kinjorski 10-7; 152 - Joey Livingston (H) d. Nick Onwenu 5-3; 160 - Jacob Gorial (H) d. Jacob Stitely 15-4; 171 - Lucas LaForge (H) d. George Noutai, disq., stalling; 189 - Prince Onwenu (C) d. Andrew Spizs 5-3; 215 - Alex Sovel (C) d. Aaron Laird 10-8, OT; 285 - Jake Economou (H) p. Takale Ezelle; 103 - Noah Lopez (H) p. Nick Freeman 1:40; 112 - Kaleb Marion (C) by void.

Last Updated: 2/19/2015 10:32:32 AM EST


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