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Joe Okaiye (right) of Waterford Kettering tries to escape the grasp on Ryan Hill of Hartland during their 189-pound division match during a scrimmage at Walled Lake Northern. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN).


WRESTLING: Wrestlers get ready for season at scrimmage WITH VIDEO

Walled Lake Northern gives athletes a tournament atmosphere

Derek Gasco (right) of Walled Lake Northern tangles with Tyler James of Waterford Kettering in a 171-pound division match which James won. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN).

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COMMERCE TWP. — There are still a few days before high school wrestling matches are contested but some athletes got a chance to compete during a scrimmage Saturday at Walled Lake Northern High School.

However, this was no ordinary scrimmage as Northern coach Andrew Wilson had referees, scoring tables, announcers, uniformed athletes and all the trimmings in what seemed like a tournament atmosphere. The stands were also filled with spectators, who got a glimpse of what’s coming this season.

Teams from Walled Lake Central, Waterford Kettering, Livonia Churchill and Stevenson, West Bloomfield and Hartland were among those who assembled at the Northern gymnasium.

“We’ve got great officials and we’ve got some pretty good teams here and it’s good,” said West Bloomfield coach Greg Alessi, impressed with the setting.

He said many teams have been practicing for nearly a month and the chance for live action was welcomed. “They gave us an extra week of wrestling,” he said, “so it’s nice to see some other kids.”

Hartland coach Todd Cheney, in his 21st year at the helm of the Eagles, enjoyed the format.

“This is good,” he said, between matches. “Most of the scrimmages you go to are like practice and this is more of a tournament style where kids actually have to warm up ... (and) get prepared for their match.”

Dozens of matches were contested throughout the afternoon and the only saving grace was that wins and losses did not count.

Still, coaches and athletes got a gauge of the competition as well as assessing their progress.

Wrestling season starts Wednesday with a plethora of matches around the area, including a showdown between defending Division 1 team state champion Novi Detroit Catholic and Davison, two of the state’s top-ranked teams. That match is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. at Catholic Central.

Last Updated: 12/1/2012 6:42:29 PM EST

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