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WRESTLING: Downriver League preview (PHOTO)

Roosevelt's Quentin Santiago will again be one of the top wrestlers in the area

Summit's TJ Barnes


With six consecutive district championships to its credit, along with four of the last five Downriver League titles, Anderson looks poised for yet another successful season.

Titans’ Coach Jerry Frazier said having a big roster, full of talent, gives his team the potential to be a force once again.

“We’ve got good numbers in our room, we have over 40 kids, so we’ve got a lot to choose from,” said Frazier, who is now in his eighth year in charge at Anderson.

“I think we’ve got a good shot,” he said. “I think we have some really, really tough individuals. We’ve got three or four kids I think are state-placing material right now.”

Big names back from last year are juniors Logan Parks (145), Jacob Balogh (145) Cody Tis (215) and seniors Chris Pauly and Cody Stanley.

Parks qualified for the state meet last year, won a league championship and posted a 50-10 record. Tis qualified for regionals and Balogh was a DRL champ who put up two wins at districts.

Pauly and Stanley both helped lead the team to another district title with wins in the semis and finals.

Junior Tyler Bridge, who wrestled at 112 pounds last year, and senior Da’sion Love should both have an impact this season, Frazier said.

The veteran head man also said he’s looking to sophomore Nico Romero, who wrestled at 189 pounds last season, as well as junior heavyweight Cody Kwasniewski.

A pair of freshmen will have a shot to make an immediate impact for Anderson, as Frazier is high on Dillon Hoagland (103) and Donte Rivera-Garcia (112). Rivera-Garcia comes into the season ranked highly and Hoagland was a champion in junior high.

The Titans will open their season Saturday morning competing in the Rocket Duals at Westland John Glenn High School.


A season ago Trenton won its second consecutive district title, reached a Division 2 regional final and had three wrestlers qualify for the state meet.

For Trojans Coach Tom Bluhm to repeat that type of success, he’ll have to do it with some new faces, as eight seniors from the 2012-13 squad have graduated.

“We’re really inexperienced and young, Bluhm said. “It’s going to take a while through the season to get them mat time; to get them experience.

“I think we’ll get tougher as the year goes on, but we’re still lacking the experience right now. But we’re working real hard; they should be all right as the year goes on.”

One key member of last year’s squad who is back is junior Vince Bartaway (171). He was among the trio of state qualifiers, courtesy of a third-place finish at regionals and he also took fourth at the league meet.

Returning seniors Bluhm will count on this year are Ian Collier (125), Josh Frye (160) and Josh Berry (215); three wrestlers who performed well at last year’s team regionals. The fourth 12th grader in the lineup for this season is Connor Youngs (152).

Aside from Bartaway, two other juniors hitting the mat for Trenton will be Brandon Russo (112) and Brad Boller (145).

Sophomore Nolan Rickman (140) will be looked to for contributions this season and is joined by fellow 10 graders Aaron Magryta (103) and Caleb Coleman (130). As of last week, sophomores Jack Thomas (189) and Brent Kennedy were battling for a spot on the A team, as well.

Two freshmen Bluhm expects a good year from are Jackson Rickman (119) and Connor Charping (135). Despite being in their first year of high school wrestling, Bluhm said this year’s freshmen are a strong group that has been active in the sport for about seven years already.

Also with a shot to make the Trenton A team are senior John Murdock, sophomore Dylan Pasquali and freshman Ean Purcell.

The 2013-14 campaign kicks off Saturday at home for the Trojans, as they’ll host the Doyle McIntosh Tournament, featuring Annapolis, Divine Child, Fordson, Airport, Farmington and Madison Heights Lamphere.


As the season gets started for Roosevelt, hopes are high that the team will have a strong showing and will place higher than last year in the league standings.

“Last year we finished third in the league and are working hard to improve on that position,” said Bears Coach Brett Greene. “We have a great group of young, hard-working athletes this year.”

Greene has a 55-man squad this year and as of last week was still working to determine his lineup and the individual weight classes.

Leading the way for the Bears will be senior Quentin Santiago, who wrestled at 135 pounds last year. He has qualified for two consecutive state meets and last season finished with a 43-6 overall record.

Two seniors Greene expects big things from are Andrew Storms and Sean Chrislip. Storms, who was a standout lineman on the football team this fall, wrestled at 215 pounds last year. Chrislip competed at 125 pounds last season.

Junior Collin Vargo and sophomore Lucas King should also have a big impact this year for the Bears. Vargo wrestled at 130 pounds last season and King competed at 112 pounds.

The Bears will kick off their season Saturday morning at the Rocket Duals at Westland John Glenn High School.


As Woodhaven wrestlers prepare to hit the mat again, Warriors’ Coach Rudy Weirich has his eyes set on a big season.

Weirich said he’s confident Woodhaven can bring home a Downriver League title and take first place at the league tournament this year.

“My expectations (for) this team (are) to win the DRL dual-meet season and the DRL tourney,” he said.

Last year the squad took fourth place in the league and third at the league tournament.

Senior Derek Hillman (189), who has qualified for back-to-back state meets, is expected to make a strong run at an individual state championship, Weirich said.

Hillman finished last season with a 47-4 record and was both a DRL and district champion.

Jared Ammons (152), also a senior, is back this year after qualifying for regionals and winning a DRL championship last season.

Other regional qualifiers wrestling again for the Warriors are seniors Matt Horne (130) and Justin Patton (171), along with sophomore Austin Avison (140).

Senior Tyler Christian (215) and junior Billy Duncan (160) have moved up from last season’s B team and Weirich said both will “be a force to be reckon with” this year.

A trio of lower weight freshmen will also be looked to for contributions this season. Weirich said he expects big things from Xavier Graham (103), Jacob Emery (112) and Hunter Grasso (119).

Rounding out the Woodhaven team is senior Devin McClain, junior Ian Miller and sophomore Ian Sikina.

The Warriors open their season Saturday morning in Rochester at King of the Hills Tournament.


Last season Carlson finished with a total of 17 wins, improving upon a one-win performance the previous year.

With graduation losses at a minimum heading into the 2013-14 campaign, Marauders Coach Lance Hassell is extremely optimistic about his team.

“We only lost two wrestlers out of the varsity lineup from last season and have everybody else returning, along with some of the best freshmen wrestlers we've seen in years,” Hassell said. “I expect very big things on the mat from Carlson wrestling this season.”

Senior Zack Underwood (215) will be looked to as the leader of the Marauders squad. Last season he qualified for the state finals and finished with a 39-13 record.

Underwood, however, is only one of two seniors and Carlson will rely heavily on juniors, as it has 11 on the roster.

Returning juniors to the varsity lineup are: Jerry Lakos (112), Mason Brott (125) Travis DeRossett (125) and Nathan Skuratovich (130), Billy Gibson (135), Alex Franco (140), Doug Bunea (171-189), Andy Mydloski (171-189), Mike Sanders (285) and Nick Carlson (285).

Max Underwood (152-60) is one of five sophomores on the roster and he is expected to contribute this season.

Brent Neasz (119) and Jakob Lezotte (145), two of the squad’s five freshmen, should make an immediate impact for the Marauders, Hassell said.

Carlson gets its season underway Saturday morning at the Garden City Christmas V Invitational.


Although there are only 14 wrestlers on the Melvindale roster, and just three seniors, many of Coach Faisal Munassar’s guys are coming off of strong performances in 2012-13.

There is also a desire to succeed among this year’s group of Cardinals, Munassar said.

“We have a small team with a big heart,” he said. “Our goal is to get better every day and to be at our best in February.”

Last year the team won a district title and finished sixth in the Downriver League.

One key wrestler back this season is sophomore Ameer Munassar (135), who qualified for the state finals last year as a freshman and put up a total of 45 wins.

Junior Matt Curmi (103) has returned after a 39-win season that included a championship at the league meet.

Senior Josh Hoak (130) had more than 20 victories last year and will serve as a co-captain for the 2013-14 campaign. Junior Nathan Derocco (145), the team’s other co-captain, posted more than 20 wins last year, as well.

Senior Skylar Slotka (140) surpassed the 30-win mark last season but didn’t wrestle at districts due to an injury.

Junior Dylon Maki (160) was a regional qualifier last year, while classmates Manuel Roldan (189) and heavyweight Rafael Mitchell both had more than 20 wins for the Cardinals.

The Melvindale team is also made up of: senior Ross Ladach (171), juniors Ben Durisin (125) and Ryan Large-Agee (145), sophomores Sammy Almoharmy (112) and Julian Saldana (119) and freshman Essa Abulawi (215).

The Cards open the season Saturday at the John Glenn Rocket Duals in Westland.

Lincoln Park

Taking the helm this season at Lincoln Park is veteran wrestling Coach Dave Bearden.

Last year Bearden headed up Allen Park’s program and in previous seasons spent time at Grosse Ile and Huron.

The current Railsplitters are a dedicated group, he said, and they are putting in a lot of effort to improve upon last year’s seventh-place finish in the Downriver League.

“I’ve been around the area at various high schools over the years,” Bearden said. “So far I have been very impressed with my wrestlers at L.P. They are all very self-motivating and hard working. I love the attitude in the wrestling room.”

Seniors Sonny Botello (171) and James Rogers (125) will lead the Lincoln Park team this year. Botello won a league championship last year, as well as a championship in the team district semifinals and finals.

Returning juniors Blake Johnson (285) and Luis Angeles (189) will be looked for heavy contributions this season. Johnson qualified for regionals last year and Angeles finished fourth at the league meet.

Juniors Quinn Chapman (140) and Tyler Castillo (112), along with sophomore Zander Moore (152) are also poised to make an impact this season, Bearden said.

Five other sophomores who should help out are: Rodney Miracle (135), Jalen Carter (135), Patrick Cook (130), Gabe Hiske (119) and Charles Dunn (135).

Overall, the Lincoln Park roster features seven seniors, seven juniors, nine sophomores and 10 freshmen.

The Rails’ season kicks off Saturday morning at the Warren Lincoln Invite.

Allen Park

Taking over this winter at Allen Park is Mark Lowe, who inherits a young team that finished eighth last year in the Downriver League.

Lowe said that this season’s squad, which has 10 freshmen on the roster, is dedicated and he likes what he is seeing so far out of the program.

“I’m really happy, we’ve got a really nice group of kids and parents,” he said. (The wrestlers) are working hard, showing up to practice every day. Nobody is complaining. Everything you want to see as a coach is right there.”

Helping to lead the team this year will be returning senior Shane Atkinson (119-125), who Lowe hopes to see qualify for the state meet.

Senior Dan Schmidt (140) is also a hopeful for the state finals, but will start the season late due to an injury.

Two other seniors on the roster are Andy Porter (215) and Alex Leporowski (160).

The Jaguars’ are a junior-laden team this year and Lowe said all seven should contribute. Allen Park’s juniors are: Dylan Miner (112), Ben Lewis (130), Roy Llamas (135), Jake Chapman (152), Tim Durocher (189), Roman Urista (215) and Dustin Sabourin (215).

Sophomores wrestling for Allen Park this season are: Matt Skarbinski (130), Jared Galka (140) and Edgar Huanosta (285).

The Jags’ season will start Saturday morning with a trip to Westland John Glenn High School for the Rocket Duals.


A new test lies ahead for Summit this season as the team will make the jump from Division 3 and wrestle in Division 2.

Dragons’ Coach Patrick Grzecki said he’s anticipating the move, considering the team did well last season, despite a lot of adversity, and he has all but two wrestlers back.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of moving up to Division 2 this year and hopefully challenging for a team district championship,” Grzecki said. “Last year, battling with low numbers, injuries and eligibility issues we were able to win 13 dual meets.”

Returning senior T.J. Barnes (152), who is ranked No. 2 in the state in Division 2, will lead the team this year. Last season he placed third at the state finals, which was the highest of any Downriver-area competitor. Barnes also set a single-season school record with 55 wins and has a shot at earning 200 career wins.

Also leading the way will be seniors Jeremiah Gaynier (119) and Daryl Conley (171-189) and sophomore Shane Conn (140-145)

Overall, Grzecki heads into the season with 18 wrestlers on his roster, which features two other seniors and two juniors.

Jackie Riley and Seth Conn round out the team’s 12 graders, while Caleb Patrick and Cyle Frost both represent the junior class.

The Dragons will begin the 2013-14 campaign Saturday morning in Onsted at the Wildcat Duals.

Last Updated: 12/3/2013 2:06:27 PM EST

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