Anchor Bay reaches its 1st semifinal; Detroit C.C. out
Battle Creek — New Baltimore Anchor Bay won its first quarterfinal match in school history Friday afternoon in the state team wrestling finals at the Kellogg Center, while Detroit Catholic Central's run of three straight Division 1 championships came to an end.
Anchor Bay, 37-0 and the No. 2 seed, put on an impressive performance in a 49-12 rout of No. 7 seed Grand Haven, winning 11 of 14 matches, including 10 of the first 11 to lead 43-3.
"Today, the atmosphere at this place brought out the best of them and we looked solid, we looked strong and this next match, I think it's going to be a match for the ages," Anchor Bay coach Jim Morisette said. His team faces No. 3 seed Hartland in a semifinal match Saturday morning.
"I know they (Hartland) want a revenge match. We're doing all the right things and for a team that hasn't been here in five years — the Davisons, the C.C.'s, Brighton and Hartland, all the time, every time — I feel we're adjusting pretty well."
Since Anchor Bay's last trip to Battle Creek in 2010, Catholic Central put together a 25-match postseason winning streak, including nine straight at Kellogg Arena before its 35-28 loss to Davison Friday. Davison lost to Catholic Central in the state title match in 2013 and last year. Hartland advanced to the state semifinals each year and Brighton was 39-0 in '12, advancing to the semifinals.
With that in mind, it's understandable that Anchor Bay is the underdog despite its perfect record.
"Being around this sport for 29 years they got a little edge, a chip on their shoulder and I'm not the guy to go knock it off," Morisette said of his Anchor Bay wrestlers. "It's too late for baby steps. There's a window and I told all the kids at the beginning of the year, 'Don't creep up and try to sneak out, blow it wide open and jump out,' and they are coming together at the right time and tomorrow will be a big day, I hope."
Morisette expects Anchor Bay to be successful during the second day of competition, as well. He just hopes the Tars start like they did in the quarterfinals with a pin in the opening match — Michael Romanoski put Seth Ryder on his back at the 3:03 mark.
Meanwhile, Hartland will be in search of avenging its season-opening 28-22 loss to Anchor Bay.
"Rematch of opening night, a long time ago, and it should be fun," said Hartland coach Todd Cheney, pointing out his Eagles have advanced to the semifinals every year since 2008 but are still in search of their first championship. "They (Anchor Bay) have a great program, great run going for them right now and it's on the line to get in the state finals."
Hartland had eight first-year varsity wrestlers in the lineup and they weren't afraid of the big stage, helping the Eagles to a 44-19 win over No. 6 seed Monroe.
"You really don't know what you're going to get out of a kid, one who gets a little bit nervous based on walking in here in front of 4,000 people, you really don't know what to think, and with that, the kids performed well," Cheney said. "We had eight new kids that had never wrestled at team state before today so it was a good start for us."
Cheney did have standout Jacob Gorial in the lineup and he earned a pin at 152 for career win No. 220 to open up a 35-9 cushion.
Gorial is looking forward to the rematch with Anchor Bay, saying: "Our team has a huge heart and we're mentally prepared. We have four new varsity wrestlers up (since the loss) so it will be a huge swing for us, and we had one varsity wrestler who was out, hurt, Logan Vish (43-3) at 145, and he's an animal now."
Catholic Central defeated Davison in the title match the previous two years, but sophomore Ryan Schlak and his Davison teammates finally felt what it was like to be victorious in the rivalry.
Schlak came back from a 6-3 deficit in the final period to earn an 8-6 decision over Catholic Central senior Tommy Herrmann at 135 to open up a 17-10 lead.
"I knew that I had it in me," said Schlak, who improved to 32-11. "My leg attacks were on and I was feeling fast. I just started getting in on his legs and I put him to his back. It felt real good, boosted our team's confidence, switched momentum and from then on it was smooth sailing."
Davison won the next three matches to take a commanding 29-10 lead.
"Our guys fought their butts off and I'm so proud of this senior class, and people forget those guys had a 25 consecutive postseason winning streak and nine consecutive Battle Creek wins," Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock said. "I'm really at this point a little disappointed for those guys because they worked extremely hard. We got beat and congratulations to Roy Hall and the Davison squad. They are well coached and it's their time."
Davison, the No. 5 seed, will take on top-seeded Brighton, a 39-19 winner over No. 8 seed Oxford. Brighton battled back from a 19-7 deficit, getting seven straight wins to close out the match, starting with a pin from senior Ryan Salmon (31-9) at 145.
"We showed some perseverance and our upper-classmen, our upper weights really stepped up and brought it home for us," second-year Brighton coach Tony Greathouse said.
Seniors Nick Brish (41-2) and Patrick Dowd (24-15) had pins at 171 and 189 to turn a 21-19 lead into a 33-19 advantage heading into the final two matches.
Brighton 39, Oxford 19
Davison 35, Detroit Catholic Central 28
Hartland 44, Monroe 19
Anchor Bay 49, Grand Haven 12
Lowell 63, Comstock Park 12
Gaylord 36, Flint Kearsley 32
Niles 29, Tecumseh 26
Eaton Rapids 42, Warren Lincoln 18
Dundee 57, Mason County Central 9
Saginaw Swan Valley 38, GR Catholic Central 35
Remus Chippewa Hills 46, Allegan 24
Richmond 37, Birch Run 19
New Lothrop 64, Cass City 9
Manchester 34, Leroy Pine River 33
Hudson 59, Norway 15
Decatur 47, Climax-Scotts/Martin 22
Division 1, 9:30 a.m.
Davison vs. Brighton
Hartland vs. Anchor Bay
Division 2, 11:45 a.m.
Lowell vs. Gaylord
Eaton Rapids vs. Niles
Division 3, 11:45 a.m.
Dundee vs. Saginaw Swan Valley
Remus Chippewa Hills vs. Richmond
Division 4, 9:30 a.m.
New Lothrop vs. Manchester
Hudson vs. Decatur
All finals at 4 p.m.