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The Melvindale Cardinals took down Annapolis Thursday night for their second consecutive district title. Photo by Jacob Newby



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Had they not already seen the Annapolis wrestling team earlier on in the season, the Melvindale Cardinals may not have been able to plan for them so well, and ultimately defeat them, to become district champs for the second year in a row on Thursday night.

“We had beaten Melvindale earlier in the year and they paid attention, they knew where our freshmen and first-year wrestlers were,” Annapolis Coach Victor McGuire said. “They had guys move down weight classes. Their coach manipulated their lineup and I give him all the credit it in the world, that’s what he had to do. Hats off to them.”

The district tournament was hosted by Allen Park on Thursday and in the first round, the Cardinals squared off with the host Jaguars while Annapolis tangled with Cesar Chavez Academy.

Melvindale defeated Allen Park by a final score of 62-18 in the opening round. Coming up victorious for the Cardinals were William Wessels (heavyweight), Matt Curmi (103), Ben Durisin (119), Ameer Munassar (130), Skylar Slotka (135), Nate Derocco (145), and Ryan Large-Agee (152). Dylon Maki (171) and Manuel Roldan (189) won by way of void.

Dylan Miner (112), Dan Schmidt (140) and Jake Chapman (160) earned the Jags’ three wins on the night.

On the other mat, the Cougars trumped Cesar Chavez 70-8. David Knapp (103), Shawn Cohan (119), A.J. Cortez (125), Jesse Taylor (135), Austin Hussing (140), Jake Smith-Elliot (145), Ronald Pongratz (152), Justin Beasinger (160), Hunter McCoy (171), Diallo Matsinela (189), Jakob Cain (215) and Chad Gross (285) took care of business for Annapolis.

“Cesar Chavez has come a long way, they wrestled us tough tonight.” McGuire said. “From where they were last year they came a long way. They have a lot of kids on their team now. I was really impressed with how they wrestled.”

In the district final, Melvindale stunned the Cougars out of the gate when 215-pounder Roderick Tubbs defeated Gross at 285 pounds.

“Our 215, we bumped up to heavyweight and that just set the tone when he won,” Melvindale Coach Faisal Munassar said. “He’s 1-1 on the year, he only wrestled twice all year and he came up big for us.”

The first half of the match was a bit of a seesaw battle. Following Tubbs’ win, Knapp of Annapolis scored a pin, then Mustafa Al-Aubeidx (112) won by decision for the Cardinals. In the 119-pound bout, Cohan of the Cougars beat his opponent by a 5-3 decision but then Melvindale rattled off three straight pins, scored by Durisin (125), Josh Hoak (130) and Munassar (135), three wrestlers who either wrestled at different weights in the opening round or didn’t wrestle at all, speaking to McGuire’s point about Coach Munassar’s lineup manipulation.

“They knew they could bring in (Hoak) and bump Munassar up to 135 to face our freshman and that was the hugest difference,” McGuire said. “Munassar’s going to win whether he wrestles at 130 or 135. He’s that good. So that’s a 12-point swing right there.”

Rounding out the final eight bouts of the night, Hussing defeated Slotka by decision, Large-Agee pinned Pongratz, Derocco defeated Beasinger by decision and Maki pinned Smith-Elliot to take the 40-12 lead, giving Coach Munassar the luxury of voiding the final three bouts of the night.

“We needed those pins that we got, those four pins, because those kids that we voided, we voided on purpose because they’re that tough,” Munassar said.

The Cardinals voided bouts against McCoy, Dylan Johnson (189) and Cain.

Annapolis’ brilliant season comes to end, and they finish off the year with a final record of 30-4. They’ll focus on the individual state tournament on Saturday while Melvindale moves on to take on Warren-Lincoln in regionals on Wednesday.

“We’re very excited to be moving on, Annapolis is a very good team,” Munassar said of the win. “They had six kids ranked in the state and they beat us pretty bad the first time we wrestled them. But we really never had a full lineup all year and then we finally put it together at the end so I’m more excited than last year’s district win.

“Annapolis has a great coach and a great team and I’m just very proud of our boys.”

In other action district action Thursday night, Summit Academy was knocked off 36-31 by South Lyon East, with wins coming from Jackie Riley, Griffen Mayes, Brian Alford, Shane Conn, TJ Barnes and Daryl Conley.

Last Updated: 2/7/2014 1:26:29 PM EST