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WRESTLING: Downriver League preview (PHOTO)

Anderson's Alex Molloy

Last season the Anderson wrestling team secured a Downriver League title and already this season league coaches are dubbing the Titans, “the team to beat.”

Coach Jerry Frazier would love for his team to win the league title, their sixth straight district title and qualify for team regionals as they did in the 2010-2011 season, but knows it will take a lot of hard work.

“It’s going to be a rough road and we’re going to have to work really hard to get there,” Frazier said.

The Titans graduated a lot of their horses in the top of their lineup and Frazier says it will be interesting to see how the younger guys fill in and do up top this year.

He said he will be looking for the jay-vee kids from last year to fill the shoes of several state- and regional-qualifiers from last season.

The Titans return two state qualifiers from last season. Senior Jared Fernandez (112-119) was a state qualifier, and Alex Molloy is a two-time state placer.

He finished second in 2010 and seventh in 2011.

Returning regional qualifiers include seniors Raven Schmitt (119-125) and Josh Lockwood (152-160), and sophomore Logan Parks (140-145).

Senior Tyler Carson returns for his third year as a starter.

Two-year starters returning to the team are senior Jacob Deibis, juniors Cody Stanley and Chris Pauly and sophomore Jacob Balogh.

Joining them are seniors Robert Fisher, Cory Groat, Julius Rodriguez, Austin Sloan and Zachary Ward; juniors Trevor Graham, Tyler Martinez, Vincent Tafelski, David Sharp and Caleb Williams; sophomores Tyler Bridge, Mariano Burgos, Brendan Carnill, Tony Hill, Alex Labadie, Shane Madera, Hunter Majeske, Aidan Maloney, Brendan Maloney, Michael McLaughlin, Michael Molloy, Cody Tis, Marcelo Trevino and Benjamin Wheeler; and freshmen William Boda, Jakob Davis, Michael Grasso, Robert Hodge, Joseph McCourt, Nico Schmitt, Nicholas Terry, and Kyle Wherry.

The guys in the senior class have been around for a long time and are very, very talented according to Frazier.

The Titans host Trenton and Woodhaven in their only home quad meet of the year tonight and Frazier says he isn’t sure what to expect from his younger guys but is excited to see where they are at as a team.

“I’m not sure what the other teams have been up to,” he said. “(But) we’re gonna be ready to go and give it everything we have and see what we can do.”



Woodhaven

Head Coach Rudy Weirch and assistant Doc Russell are returning 10 starters from last season – including four regional qualifiers – to the Woodhaven wrestling team.

Among the starters is junior Derek Hillman who was a state-meet qualifier last year and is currently ranked seventh in the state.

Joining Hillman are returning starters Mickey Sutton, Garret Weirich, Quinten Riddell, Chris Guttman, Devin McClain, Matt Horne, John Hancock, Jared Ammons and Troy Irvine.

The Warriors finished second in the Downriver League last year and have plans to push further.

“We look to capture the Downriver League,” Coach Russell said. “We’re (also) hoping to capture a team district for the first time in Woodhaven school history.”

In the first Downriver League quad meet of the season, the Warriors will open up against Trenton, Anderson and Allen Park tonight.

Russell is excited to face such strong teams early on in the season.

“We get them right out of the gate which is exciting,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a really good season.”

The biggest push for the Warriors this year will be the goal for state qualifiers.

There were a few from last season who just missed the state qualifications and Russell is hoping to send quite a few members to the state meet this season.

Woodhaven also has a “B” wrestling team, coached by Jim Patton and Devin Foster. They open up at Grosse Ile tomorrow night.



Trenton

If there’s one thing that veteran Trenton Coach Tom Bluhm knows, it is wrestling.

He has been coaching the sport for 42 years, the last 36 at Trenton High School.

Two years ago, Bluhm’s team was Downriver League champs. Last season, they finished third in the league and won their district, before being eliminated at the regional level.

This season, the Trojans return nine seniors, eight of whom will be starters.

Tom Stackpole is a state qualifier at heavyweight. Regional qualifiers Maverick Johnson (112 last season) and Gabe Wykle (145 last season) will also be returning.

Joey Sainato (125), Dean Noffsinger (135), and Shane Danyko (145) are all four-year starters returning for their senior seasons.

Senior Tyler Purcell (215) will also be starting.

Rotating out in the heavyweight will be Justin Youngert.

Also starting for Trenton will be senior Rob Cosgrove (152), juniors Josh Berry (215), and Josh Frye (171), and sophomore Brad Boler (119), who was a starter last season.

Rounding out the Trojan roster are Ian Collier, Brandon Russo, Nolan Rickman, Vince Bartaway, Antonio Duperron, Chris Good, Austin McQuiston, John Murdock, Jack Thomas, Brandon Vincent, Connor Youngs, Caleb Coleman and Marco Kaleugher.

Bluhm says any of the guys on his roster have a chance to be in the starting lineup at any point during the year.

His expectations for his team this season are pretty high, especially with eight senior starters returning, the most in his 42 years of coaching.

“We have a lot of balance and support,” Bluhm said. “We could have some of our better kids get beat on any given night, but some of our younger kids can step in and pick up the slack.

“We’ll get stronger as the year goes on and these younger kids learn from the seniors.”

The Trojans open tonight in a Downriver League quad meet against Anderson and Allen Park. They will wrestle in their annual Doyle McIntosh tournament on Saturday with Dearborn Heights Annapolis, Dearborn Divine Child, Carleton Airport, Dearborn Fordson, and Farmington.



Roosevelt

The Wyandotte Bears are coming into this wrestling season a very young team.

Coach Brett Greene, who is in his 11th season as head coach at Roosevelt, has just five seniors on his 55-man team and only 15 juniors, leaving the remaining 35 all sophomores and freshmen.

Last season the Bears finished 13-13 and graduated just four seniors. Greene has three key returners to his team this season.

Senior Vince Pizzo (285) is a returning regional qualifier and junior Quentin Santiago (135-140) is returning after finishing sixth place in the state last season. They will be joined by another key returner, senior Austin Rice.

Timothy Adkins, Robert Krentler, Michael Whittecar, and Austin Rice round out the senior class and Greene expects good output from them this season.

“(They’re a) good group of athletes that we are looking up to to both contribute a lot of team points and help guide our young athletes,” Greene said.

The Bears will have their first quad meet of the season tonight, playing host to Lincoln Park, Carlson, and Melvindale.

On Saturday, they will travel to the team John Glen tournament.



Allen Park

Dave Bearden is new to Allen Park this season but has been in the area as a wrestling coach for quite some time.

He has spent the last two years at Grosse Ile where he took the Red Devils to a team district championship and to the regional finals last year. Prior to that, he spent seven years with Huron as an assistant.

Although Bearden is not sure exactly what to expect this season being with a new team in a new league, he is already pleased with the effort and the attitude he sees from his team so far.

“They are very eager to learn,” he said. “I think we might surprise some people this year.”

Leading the team for the Jaguars will be seniors Sean Spears (125), Tony Dunlap (152) and Robbie Brown (171).

Spears is a transfer student from Florida where he placed fourth in the state meet last year and is expected to make an immediate impact for the Jaguars.

Other key Allen Park wrestlers include juniors Shane Atkinson (119) and Dan Schmidt (135). Other starters are freshman John Rodriquez (103) and sophomore Dylan Miner (112) and the rest of the lineup is yet to be determined.

Bearden and his team travel to Southgate tonight to wrestle against Trenton and Woodhaven in their first quad meet of the season and will travel to Westland John Glen for a team tournament on Saturday.



Lincoln Park

After finishing 17-5 last season and 4-3 in the Downriver League, the Lincoln Park wrestling team will be using a large number of returners to help lead them to a stronger finish in the league this season.

Coach Don McKenzie is entering his ninth year as head coach for the Railsplitters and is looking to push his team to regional meets, after being eliminated in districts last season by the Anderson.

A key returner this season is found in senior Dylan McLeod (119) who is a two-time regional qualifier.

Other key returners for McKenzie include seniors Brandon Duvall (140), Roberto Davis (152), Darren Lozano (125), and Christian Villarreal (171), junior Sonny Botello (189) and sophomores Tyler Castillo (112), Quinn Chapman (135) and heavyweight Blake Johnson.

Also on the Railsplitter roster are seniors Nathan Bailey and Zackary Neubecker, juniors Josh Cote, Giovannie Gonzalez, Julian Pena, and James Rodgers, sophomores Luis Angeles, Robert Lee, Robert Green, Dominic Greene, Thomas Hernandez, Neftali Matco and Ottis Rhodes, and freshmen Trevor Anderson, Brandon Bussell, Jordan Contreras, Patrick Cook, Charles Dunn, Adrian Garcia, Gabe Hiske, Jesse Jividen, Rodney Miracle and Alexzander Moore.

“We have a pretty good part of our team returning from last year,” McKenzie said said. “We had a pretty successful season last year and we have high expectations this season.”

With only seven seniors this season, the Railsplitters will be looking for the younger guys to step in and learn from the senior leadership.

“Wrestling’s one of those sports where attitude reflects leadership,” McKenzie said. “Our senior captains are busting their butts every day, setting examples. It shows our younger guys what they need to do to be successful.”

Lincoln Park opens tonight against Roosevelt and Melvindale before heading to Warren on Saturday for the Warren Lincoln Individual tournament.



Carlson

New head Coach Lance Hassell said he feels that this season is the beginning of a new era for Carlson wrestling.

Hassell, who graduated from Carlson and wrestled at Ohio Northern University from 2005-2008, has been with the Carlson wrestling team for six seasons now.

In this, his first year as head coach, he has brought in two assistants he feels will help the Marauders be successful this season.

Lester France is a two time state champion from Flat Rock, who wrestled NCAA Division 1 level for five years.

Matt Rodgers is a 2004 Carlson state-meet placer.

“I feel like we will take Carlson wrestling to a new level and give these kids the best opportunities to excel and reach their goals,” Hassell said.

Hassell has several key returners from last season. Senior Jake Mydloski (160-171) was a state qualifier last season andenior Paul Sawicki (152) has qualified for regionals the past two years at 171.

Other key returners include junior Zach Underwood (215) and sophomores Travis DeRossett (112), Doug Bunea (171-189), and Sam Bilot (215).

Rounding out the Marauder roster are freshmen Mason Brott, Jordan Ferrell, Austin Francis, Dylan Kohair, Cullen McTaggart, Chris Olson, Maxwell Underwood and Ahblaza Zavala, sophomores Avery Alfredo, Jakob Beach, Dominick Boone, Brandon Bourgarian, Nick Carlson, Kyle Fraczek, Alex Franco, Billy Gibson, Jerry Lakos, Mike Sanders and Nathan Skuratovich, juniors Logan Farrington, Eric Golenick, Matthrew McNiven, and Tim Ray, and senior Jacob Ruszkowski.

Hassell said he is thrilled with the group of juniors and seniors he has this season and says they are great leaders to the rest of the team.

“They lead the team by example on and off the mat and are taking the proper steps to excel as individuals, which rubs off on the rest of the team,” Hassell said.

The Marauders open against Roosevelt and Melvindale tonight at Wyandotte and will be at the Garden City Invitational on Saturday.

Hassell is excited about the changes this season and expects good things from his team.

“We have a completely different competitive attitude as a team this season from previous season,” he said. “Everybody is competing to be the best at everything we do this season.”



Melvindale

Last season, the Melvindale wrestling team graduated eight seniors and have just four seniors this year.

Key returners for third-year head Coach Fiasal Munaffar are his three senior captains. Ramzy Yousef (112), Andrew Barron (135), and Luis Perez (152) will all be captains this season and help to lead the team to another successful season. The Cards were after 11-9 last year.

“These seniors we have this year are special,” Munaffar said. “They will keep the team as a family on or off the mat.”

Joining the captains are senior Noe Pineda (215), juniors Skylar Slotka (130), Josh Hoak (135) and Ross Ladach (160), sophomores Matt Curmi (103), Ben Durisin (119), Ryan Large-Agee (145), Nathan Derocco (145), Matt Nasceif (152), Dylon Maki (152), Manuel Roldan (171), Kyle Blevins (189) and Rafael Mitchell (heavyweight).

The Cardinals will compete in their first quad meet of the season tonight at Wyandotte, where they will wrestle Lincoln Park and Carlson. Saturday the team will travel to the John Glenn team tournament.

Munaffar said he believes his team is on schedule to compete and looks forward to finding out more over the weekend.





Last Updated: 12/4/2012 1:37:00 PM EST

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