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Rob Sherrill’s High School Notebook • March 1
St. Johns, DCC roll in Michigan
St. Johns’ senior class never lost a Michigan state tournament dual in their high school careers. The No. 6 Redbirds (22-4) breezed to their fourth straight Division 2 team title, 42-20 over Lowell. Jacob Schmitt (130) and Logan Massa (135) needed just 51 seconds between them to record pins to open the meet. Ben Whitford (145), Drew Wixson (152) and Payne Hayden (189) added pins as St. Johns won seven of the first eight matches and built a 36-3 lead. Lowell won five straight before two-time state champion Zac Hall closed the match for St. Johns with a pin at 125.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central (25-3) held on to its No. 18 ranking, rallying past Davison, 29-26 on Evan Toth’s pin in the Division 1 final match at 125. Davison managed a 7-7 match split against the defending champions and built an 18-3 lead by winning five of the first six matches. That included Dominic Russ’s first-period pin over defending state champion Ken Bade at 135.
The Shamrocks then ripped off four straight wins, with Drew Garcia (171) and Nick Giese (189) scoring major decisions, Jay Peterson (220) a decision and Bob Coe (285) a pin. That run produced a 20-18 lead, the only one the Shamrocks held prior to Toth’s clinching pin.
Dundee (31-2), the runner-up in four of the past five seasons, dethroned three-time defending Division 3 champion Richmond, 35-26. Hudson (30-6) became just the second Michigan team in any classification to win five straight team titles, beating Hesperia, 32-24 to take Division 4.
Blair continues nation’s longest title streak
No. 1 Blairstown Township Blair Academy extended its streak of National Prep Championships team titles to 33, a record for any wrestling series. The record state-sanctioned streak also stayed alive, with Bennington Mount Anthony completing a full quarter-century of dominance in Vermont by winning its 25th straight title.
Team battles on tap in California …
Two-time defending California state champion Clovis and Poway each qualified 12 for the California state tournament, which are taking place this weekend. The No. 2 Cougars got every weight class but 138 and 170 through the loaded Central Section tournament, with Jason Ladd (145), Adrian Salas (182) and 2011 state champion Nick Nevills (285) winning section crowns. No. 22 Poway missed out only at 160 and 285, with Ralphy Tovar (132), Sergio Enloe (138), Victor Lopez (145) and Steve Cervantes (170) winning San Diego Section titles.
California wrestling analyst Al Fontes projects Clovis with a 4-3 edge in state semifinalists over Poway.
… and Ohio
After winning the inaugural Division 1 dual state title in Ohio, No. 5 Lakewood St. Edward is the on-paper favorite to make it a double title this weekend. The Eagles advanced 11 to the state tournament at Columbus, including six district champions. They include the nationally-ranked Fab Five, three-time state champion Dean Heil (132), Colin Heffernan (138), Edgar Bright (145), Markus Scheidel (152) and Domenic Abounader (182).
If they don’t cut into St. Edward’s lead, the other three ranked Division 1 teams, No. 14 Massillon Perry, No. 15 Brecksville-Broadview Heights and No. 25 Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, could stage a classic showdown for the runner-up spot. Exiting from three different districts, the three teams each advanced identical rosters of wrestlers to the state tournament: nine state qualifiers, three district champions.
In Division 2, No. 4 St. Paris Graham advanced just eight in its bid to win a 13th straight team title, but seven were champions at the Goshen District.
Veterans trump rookies as Carl Sandburg repeats in Illinois
With line-ups which feature five and seven freshmen, respectively, Oak Park-River Forest and Aurora Marmion Academy are teams of the future in one of the nation’s top wrestling classifications, Illinois’ big-school Class 3A.
On Saturday, however, both were rolled by the team of the present, Orland Park Carl Sandburg, which won its second consecutive dual state title.
The blind-draw state series saw the classification’s consensus top two teams (and two of the nation’s 10 best), Oak Park-River Forest and Carl Sandburg, meet in the quarterfinals. In a meet that saw two individual state champions lose in a three-match span, the Eagles, sporting a line-up which included nine seniors, prevailed, 33-23, avenging a 27-24 loss to the Huskies in the final round of the Sandburg Duals on Jan. 12.
The winner was widely conceded to be the favorite to win the title, and Carl Sandburg didn’t disappoint. The Eagles prevailed over Carol Stream Glenbard North, 36-23 — the third straight year the two teams had met in the state semifinals — and rallied past Marmion, 38-17 in the title match.
Consecutive technical falls by Isaiah White (126), Larry Early (132) and Jake O’Mara (138) gave the Huskies their biggest lead, 15-4. Carl Sandburg rallied within 15-10 before Devonte Mahomes beat state champion C.J. Brucki, 9-3 at 160. Brucki had beaten Mahomes, 9-4 the previous week in the state quarterfinals en route to his title. Two matches later, Carl Sandburg’s Chris Pajak stunned previously-unbeaten state champion Joe Ariola, 2-1 on a second-period fleeing the mat call. State champion Ricky Robertson’s technical fall at 220 gave the Eagles the lead for good.
After falling behind 7-0 in the final against Marmion, Carl Sandburg ripped off seven straight wins, with Mitch Cook (152), Brucki and Robertson (195) scoring pins and state champion Colin Holler (170) a technical fall as the Eagles raced to a 32-7 lead and were never threatened.
Carl Sandburg moved up to No. 8 in the WIN Top 25 with the win, with Oak Park-River Forest dropping to No. 9. Class 2A champion Lombard Montini is No. 10 and Marmion remains No. 19.
A week after setting individual tournament state records with 38 state champions and crowning an individual state champion for the 14th straight year, Montini beat Geneseo, 49-10 in the 2A final to earn its record 11th team title. The Broncos also tied a record with their sixth consecutive state crown overall. Dakota won its first 1A state title since 2006, 35-25 over Aledo Mercer County.