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Jason Schmitt is the editor of, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wrestling action coming at you fast and furious Friday

Day 1 of the wrestling finals is fairly laid back, allowing the wrestlers and fans a chance to take it all in. Every wrestler has one match.
But now, in Day 2, chaos ensues. The morning starts with a consolation round, then the quarterfinals follow. Next up, another consolation round. At this point, about 24 hours after the tournament began, half the field is eliminated. Those who remain, those who won two before they lost two, will have earned the right to stand on the podium Saturday night.

They got through
Oakland County had 79 wrestlers qualify for the tournament, and 40 picked up a win in the first round. Among the winners were: Andrew Napieraj, Thomas Giradot and Shon Powell of Brother Rice; Tim List of Seaholm; Chris Calvano and Scott DeVos of Clarkston; Malik Amine, Ken Bade, Kevin Beazley, Bob Coe, T.J. Fagan, Drew Garcia, Alec Mooradian and Trevor Zdebski of Catholic Central; Immanual Govantes of Farmington; Charlie Highlen of Lake Orion; Kevin Miller of North Farmington; Rocco Borg, Marty Giannola, Prescott Line and Mike Willits of Oxford; Cody DeVoe, Justin Kim, Aaron Morgan, Kaelan Richards, Schwan Shadaia and Dean Vettese of Rochester; Serge Andreou and Nick Gajdzik of Stoney Creek; Matt Okaiye of Waterford Kettering; Ildo Luca of Walled Lake Central; Chevez Farris of Ferndale; Cody Vanderhagen of Hazel Park; Mason Cleaver, Anthony Gonzales and Shawn Scott of Holly; Skip Conner and Andrew Gorman of Lamphere; Matt Smith of Ortonville Brandon; and Brenton Pippin of Bishop Foley.

Shamrocks roll through first round
Catholic Central had eight of its 10 wrestlers get through the first round, including all four of its No. 1-ranked wrestlers - Bade, Beazley, Garcia and Mooradian. I said in yesterday's blog that Beazley was a determined young man. It took him just 22 seconds to pin his first-round opponent Thursday. I don't see him being challenged in either of his matches Friday, and realistically, he should win Saturday night, too. Ditto for Bade and Mooradian. Garcia does have an extremely tough road ahead of him. The sophomore faces No. 4-ranked Cody DeVoe of Rochester in the quarterfinals Friday morning, and if he gets by that, he'll get the No. 2 seed, Connor Moynihan of Grand Haven. He can do it, but the preset bracket system failed him this year.

Head of the (weight) class
Along with CC's four No. 1-ranked wrestlers, there are a number of other top-ranked wrestlers from Oakland County. And all are alive heading into Friday's action. In Division 1, Rochester's Kaelan Richards is the top wrestler at 135 pounds. Oxford's Prescott Line (215) is also ranked atop his weight class. Rochester's Dean Vettese (140) and Stoney Creek's Nick Gajdzik (285), along with CC's Malik Amine (135) and Trevor Zdebski, Oxford's Kyle Hill (125) and Brother Rice's Shon Powell (160) are all ranked No. 2 in their respective weight classes. All but Hill made it to the quarterfinal round.

Intriguing quarterfinal matchup
Stoney Creek's Nick Gajdzik is unbeaten and ranked No. 2 at 285 in Division 1. But I tell you what, his second round match against Catholic Central's Bob Coe could be interesting. Coe is 37-7 and has gotten better as the season has gone on. I saw him wrestle Oxford's Prescott Line at last week's team finals and he looked awfully impressive in a loss to the nationally-ranked Wildcat senior. Upset?

Six for six
Rochester qualified six for the state finals. And all six won their first-round matches. Justin Kim, Kaelan Richards, Dean Vettese, Aaron Morgan, Cody DeVoe and Schwan Shadaia are on to the quarterfinals. The six wrestlers have combined for 257 wins this season. So it shouldn't be a huge surprise.

Tough road ahead
Ortonville Brandon senior 285-pounder Matt Smith won his 50th match of the season Thursday. He's 50-3 this year. The eighth-ranked Smith has arguably the toughest road ahead of him if he wants to fulfill his dream of winning a state championship. Next up in the quarterfinals is No. 2-ranked Adam Robinson of Mason. The winner of that match would get unbeaten No. 3-ranked Adrian Foster of Middleville-Thornapple Kellogg in the semifinals. And to top it all off, whoever is fortunate enough to get out of this half of the draw, will face Fowlerville's Adam Coon for the title. Coon is ranked second in the country among high school heavyweights.

Remember this link
Remember, for an easy way to keep up with all of Oakland County's wrestlers this weekend, click this link. It will take you to a page with all of the county's wrestlers. From there, just click on their names to be taken to their bracket.



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