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Hartland captures first team state wrestling title WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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Eagles fly high with 36-23 triumph over Davison

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MOUNT PLEASANT - The old speech Hartland wrestling coach Todd Cheney was accustomed to using after the state finals was null and void this time.

After so many visits to the state tournament in the past and the best showing of a runnerup trophy, the Eagles got the grand prize, the first wrestling state championship in school history, after a 36-23 victory over Davison Saturday at McGuirk Arena.

Hartland, who had reached the state tournament 15 straight years, had always come up short. Last year the Eagles lost to Brighton in the finals.

But not this time.

With the victory secured with two matches to go, Cheney got up from his chair and raised his arms in triumph as the Hartland faithful cheered the moment. Tears welled up in his eyes as his ship finally came in.

“It was hard to coach in the last two matches,” said Cheney, as the hugs spread among the Eagles. “It’s just unbelievable.”

After the match, and after the Eagles shook hands with the Cardinals, Cheney went into the stands. “I ran up and hugged my dad,” said Cheney, recalling that moment as a youngster when he started wrestling. “I told him I was going to wrestle and he said I was going to get killed.”


But Cheney has had fun, along with some heartache, along the way. But it’s been a lot more fun for the veteran coach, especially this season where in his 24th season, he and the Eagles finally got the elusive state championship.

Hartland was on fire throughout the tournament. The Eagles routed Temperance Bedford (53-24) in the quarterfinals, and sliced through Oxford (42-19) before taking on a Davison squad which knocked off Novi Detroit Catholic Central 29-25 in the semifinals.

Hartand’s triple threat - Sage Castillo (145), Logan Vish (152) and Lucas LaForge (160) - recorded consecutive victories by fall early to stake Hartand to a 21-3 lead over Davison after five matches. “That was huge … those guys just started us off,” said Cheney, an advocate of offensive wrestling. “That’s what people like to see, they want to see people get thrown on on their back.”

However, with Davison’s upcoming wrestlers, along with the heartache of the past, Cheney was never comfortable.

Davison’s Brenden McRill answered LaForge’s pin with a fall of his own, and it was 24-12 after heavyweight Tanner Thomas's win at 215.

Hartland’s 103-pounder, Kyle Kantola, got a pin at 103 to give the Eagles some breathing room, and a 33-12 advantage with four matches remaining.

Davison was still in contention, but barely, needing pins and technical falls to catch up. Max Johnson got a technical fall at 112, but when 119-pounder Carter Hankins avoided giving up bonus points in his 14-7 loss, it was over, as he celebrated as if he had won.

But the Eagles did, and 130-pounder Garnet Potter, who lost the final match in last year’s defeat to Brighton in the state finals, scored a 6-5 decision over Ryan Schlak in Saturday’s final match to cap the triumph.

Davison had its eighth state title in its sights, but wouldn’t close the deal this time. "I’m proud of them for the fact we’re second in state,” he said. "That was a great team final.”

In other finals, Lowell beat St. Johns 37-22 in Division 2, Dundee beat Remus Chippewa Hills 40-16 in Division 3 and New Lothrop defeated Hudson 35-27 in Division 4.

Division 1 Final


135 - Brian Case (Davison) def. Nick DiNobile (Hartland) 9-3; 140 - Reece Hughes (Hartland) def. Cal Stefanko (Davison) 3-2; 145 - Sage Castillo (Hartland) pinned Kurt Schlak (Davison) 1:28; 152 - Logan Vish (Hartland) pinned Trevor McGowan (Davison) :39; 160 - Lucas LaForge (Hartland) pinned Gabe Ellis (Davison) 5:41; 171 - Brenden McRill (Davison) pinned Ryan Pietilla (Hartland) 1:48; 189 - Andrew Spisz (Hartland) def. Logan Mabbitt (Davison) 7-2; 215 - Tanner Thomas (Davison) def. Aaron Laird (Hartland) 5-3; 285 - Brandon Krol (Hartland) def. Reme Martin (Davison) 7-2; 103 - Kyle Kantola (Hartland) pinned Steven Garty (Davison) :56; 112 - Max Johnson (Davison) tech. fall Corey Cavanaugh (Hartland) 16-0; 119 - AJ Facundo (Davison) def. Carter Hankins (Hartland) 14-7; 125 - Deven Perez (Davison) def. Noah Lopez (Hartland) 6-5; 130 - Garnet Potter (Hartland) def. Ryan Schlak (Davison) 6-5.

RECORDS - Hartland 34-1. Davison 24-5.

Last Updated: 2/27/2016 7:52:41 PM EST

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