Detroit Catholic Central will be the overwhelming favorite to repeat as Division 1 state champion this weekend in the wrestling team finals, which start Friday at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo.
Catholic Central is unbeaten against state competition and is ranked No. 9 nationally, with its lone loss coming to St. Edward of Lakewood, Ohio. On Saturday in a regional at Saline, it advanced a record 14 wrestlers, including seven champions, to the individual state finals, set for March 2-3 at Ford Field.
Catholic Central had its own wrestlers competing against each other for individual regional championships Saturday in two weight classes, with two-time state champ, junior Kevon Davenport (36-2), earning a major decision over teammate Joseph Urso at 145, and at 189 with Rory Cox defeating Brendin Yatooma, 3-1, avenging a loss in the district tourney.
“The guys had a good day,” said Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock, who has led his program to five team state championships in the last eight years. “They looked good. I was pretty impressed. They were very sharp today. They were gritty and pretty darn focused and resilient.
“I think the attitudes are pretty positive around Catholic Central wrestling right now.”
And they should be, especially since Catholic Central won the Division 1 state team championship last year, won three straight from 2012-14, and also won in 2010.
State Team quarterfinal matches for Division 1 are set for 2:15 Friday, with semifinals at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The title bouts will be at 3:30 Saturday.
This is the first year the state team finals will be at the Wings Event Center.
Catholic Central is led by a trio of two-time individual state champions in Benyamin Kamali (29-1) at 119 pounds, Davenport at 145 and Cameron Amine (38-2) at 152 pounds. They all won regional titles, as did Cox (38-5), Josh Edmond (18-0) at 130, Derek Gilcher (33-5) at 135 and Easton Turner (33-1) at 215.
Davenport, who already has offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, North Carolina State and several other schools, said this Catholic Central team is even more talented than a year ago.
“It’s really exciting, really fun, especially being around a team like this, guys who are super supportive,” said Davenport who wrestled at 119 pounds his freshman year and at 130 as a sophomore before moving to 145 this season.
“We’re a team that loves to have fun, but also loves to work hard.”
While Catholic Central is looking to repeat, Westland John Glenn (28-3) would just love getting a quarterfinal victory to move on to Saturday’s semifinal. It was last year at Central Michigan where John Glenn suffered a heartbreaking 26-25 quarterfinal loss to Macomb Dakota.
The KLAA will be sending three teams to the state finals, with league champion Brighton and Hartland joining John Glenn. Davison, Dakota, Hudsonville and Oxford also will be in the field.
“We lost 26-25 to Dakota in the quarters last year, lost on the last match,” said John Glenn coach Bill Polk, who is hoping his team advances to the semifinals for the first time in his 20 years leading the program.
“I think 2-through-8 (seeds) will be competitive matches, but I think C.C. is in a class of its own this year.”
John Glenn senior Mikey Mars, who has more than 200 career wins, is a two-time individual state champion (103, 112), losing in the 119-pound state title match a year ago.
“I think our team is a lot more motivated this year,” said Mars (49-0), who will wrestle next year at Michigan. “I see a lot of our guys putting in a lot of extra work, just working harder this year.”
Girls Catholic finals
In the Catholic League girls finals at Calihan Hall on Sunday, Birmingham Marian defeated Dearborn Divine Child, 49-30, for the A-B championship and Royal Oak Shrine edged Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, 37-36, in the C-D title game.
Detroit Edison was crowned as PSL boys basketball champion for the first time in school history Friday at Calihan Hall. And Detroit Mumford won its first PSL girls basketball championship since 1977.
Now, it’s on to the Catholic League semifinal for the boys, with defending champion U-D Jesuit playing Orchard Lake St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Birmingham Marian, and Warren De La Salle set to play Detroit Catholic Central on Wednesday night, with the winners to play for the title Sunday at Calihan.
The MAC, meanwhile, will have a new champion, with Grosse Pointe North defeating defending champion Macomb Dakota. North will play host to Chippewa Valley in a semifinal Tuesday night.
Canton will try to keep its unbeaten record going when it opens the KLAA playoffs Tuesday night, when it hosts Howell.
Other first-round games have Northville playing at defending champion Wayne; Plymouth playing at Novi; and John Glenn going to Grand Blanc. The championship game is set for March 1.