Detroit CC rolls into team wrestling state finals

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Canton — It would be safe to say Detroit Catholic Central is primed to make a deep run in next weekend’s team wrestling state finals at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant.

Catholic Central dominated Dearborn Fordson 73-0 in a Division 1 regional championship match Wednesday night at Salem High School after taking care of Salem in a regional semifinal, 80-0.

Now, Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock will take his team to Central Michigan, where he wrestled in the early 2000s. It will be its 10th straight trip to the state finals.

Catholic Central — 27-1 and ranked No. 15 in the country, with its lone loss coming against No. 2 St. Edward out of Lakewood, Ohio — will compete in a state quarterfinal match 2 p.m. Feb. 24 as the No. 1 seed, with the semifinals and title bouts slated for Feb. 25.

“Two blanks in a row, that’s hard to do,” Hancock said, “Twenty-eight matches up and 28 matches down, but more importantly I was really impressed by the way our guys wrestled. There were a lot of our guys that didn’t get a chance to wrestle in the district tournament that beat some guys who qualified for regionals tonight. Connor (Curnutte) lost a wrestle-off (against a teammate) so he didn’t get a chance to wrestle (in individual district) and he majored (13-5 win) over Amir Nasser (of Fordson at 189).

“I was most impressed with the tenacity our guys wrestled with tonight. I mean our depth is unreal. I said all along I think we could have two teams place in the top six at the state tournament, and I firmly believe it.”

In the Catholic Central-Fordson regional final, Joey Urso earned a 9-4 decision at 140 pounds to open up the match, followed by first-period pins by Cam Amine (145), Aidan Wagh (152) and Brendin Yatooma (160), along with a second-period pin by Rory Cox at 171 to open up a commanding 27-0 lead.

Then, after a 13-5 major decision by Curnutte at 189, Jackson Ross earned a 20-5 tech fall win at 215 for a 36-0 advantage.

Ben Kamali (119), Stone Moscovic (125) and Kevon Davenport (135) also earned pins for Catholic Central.

It was Ross who earned a spot on The News All-North first-team as a defensive end to help Catholic Central advance to the Division 1 state championship game in football this past fall.

“We’re really peaking and that’s what our coaching staff does, gets us ready for February and early March,” said Ross, who will play football at Hope College. “This is my last two weeks wrestling so I’m going to enjoy it.”

Senior Nick Jenkins, the defending state champion at 285, earned a 19-5 major decision. He will wrestle at Central Michigan next year.

“To make it through districts and regionals without giving up a point, it’s really fun to be around,” said Jenkins, who played center and defensive tackle on the football team. “You can see we’re all starting to come together as a team and really peak. We’re looking really good.”

Catholic Central will try to bring home its first state championship since advancing to five consecutive title matches from 2010-14, winning three straight (2012-14). Catholic Central lost to Davison the last two years, falling in the quarterfinals in 2015 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, then in the state semifinals at McGuirk last winter.

Catholic Central won head-to-head matches this season against defending state champion Hartland and state powers Davison and Macomb Dakota.