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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.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wrestling Finals: Friday proved to be separation day for county's best individuals

Oakland County once again will be well represented when the championship final round begins Saturday at 4:45 p.m. Twelve wrestlers from five different schools will battle it out for individual glory. And at least one title is guaranteed, as Oxford's Mike Willits and Catholic Central's Ken Bade will wrestle for the 130-pound title in Division 1.
Catholic Central had a tremendous first two days at The Palace. The Shamrocks advanced five of their wrestlers to the championship match and nine of their 10 state qualifiers have earned a spot on the podium (top eight). Oxford, which sent a county-high 11 wrestlers to The Palace, will have six wrestlers medal, including two who will be in the championship match. Holly has three in the finals in Division 2. Shawn Scott is a favorite to win a state title, Anthony Gonzales is a former state champion looking to get back to the top, and Mason Cleaver is looking to better last year's fifth-place with a top-of-the-podium finish Saturday.
Here's a quick look at the finalists from Oakland County:

130 POUNDS: Ken Bade (49-1), Catholic Central vs. Mike Willits (44-11), Oxford - On paper, this match isn't all that close. Bade is a defending state champion who has won nearly every tournament he's wrestled this year. He's the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 130 pounds and beat No. 2 Dominick Trevino of Holt by tech fall, 20-5, in the semifinals Friday night. Willits saved his best wrestling for when it has mattered most. He, too, beat a pair of top-10 wrestlers to get to the final, including No. 4 Tyler VanRooyen of Rockford, 7-3, in the semis. Just a sophomore, Willits will learn a lot from this year's run. But in the end, Bade is one of the state's best, regardless of weight or division. PREDICTION: Bade major dec. Willits, 14-4

135 POUNDS: Malik Amine (43-6), Catholic Central vs. Alec Pantaleo (52-3), Canton - The draw at this weight played out as most would have expected. The top-four ranked wrestlers all made it to the semifinals. But Pantaleo, ranked third, knocked off No. 1 Kaelan Richards of Rochester in the semifinals. Amine, ranked No. 2, beat No. 4 Jake Johnson of Dakota to reach the title match. Amine and Pantaleo are very familiar with each other. Pantaleo beat Amine, 3-2, for the district title three weeks ago, then Amine avenged that loss two weeks ago by winning, 8-6, to take the regional championship. Pantaleo is the aggressor of the two, but Amine is a very smart wrestler who can make you pay if you miss. That's what happened in the regional final. I could see this one going either way. If Pantaleo wrestles smart, he can take it to Amine and win. But if it backfires, Amine could give CC yet another individual title. PREDICTION: Pantaleo dec. Amine, 8-5

152 POUNDS: Alec Mooradian (45-2), Catholic Central vs. Aaron Calderon (57-2), Brighton - Nos. 1 and 2 in the finals. That's the way it should be. The easy pick here would be Mooradian, who is a three-time defending state champion looking to become just the 16th wrestler in state history to win four titles. He's technically superior to almost everyone he wrestles and rarely makes a mistake. And he has the intelligence and confidence to match. Calderon, though a great wrestler in his own right, just hasn't faced the kind of competition Mooradian has this year. And it will show in the finals. PREDICTION: Mooradian dec. Calderon, 6-2

171 POUNDS: Drew Garcia (45-3), Catholic Central vs. Charlie Myers (37-3), Utica Eisenhower - Garcia has been here before, having lost in OT last year in the championship match at 152 pounds. He's ranked No. 1 and has benefited from wrestling some of the best competition around, with the schedule CC wrestles. The sophomore has scored 42 points in his first three matches and beat No. 2-ranked Connor Moynihan of Grand Haven in the semifinals. Myers, ranked third at 171, has had a nice season. He beat Clarkston's Chris Calvano in overtime to reach the final. But he's outmatched in this one. Garcia's road to the final was tougher than the final itself. PREDICTION: Garcia dec. Myers, 10-3

189 POUNDS: Kevin Beazley (47-1), Catholic Central vs. Brandon Sunday (48-5), Temperance Bedford - I said in an earlier blog that Beazley is determined to win a state title. I've never had a wrestler call me "Sir" as many times as Beazley has in my interviews with him this season. But don't think he's that nice on the mat. He's a pinner. And you'd have to go back a month to find the last match he wrestled where he didn't stick his opponent. It's hard to predict a pin in a state championship match. But Beazley makes it much easier. PREDICTION: Beazley, p. Sunday, 4:45

215 POUNDS: Prescott Line (48-0), Oxford vs. Dimitrius Renfroe (49-2), Wayne Memorial - Coming into this weekend's tournament, I thought Prescott Line was the surest thing to win a state championship. Despite his narrow, 7-6 decision over No. 2-ranked Bryan Smith of Temperance Bedford Friday night, I'm not backing off that statement. He and Smith are clearly the two best 215-pounders in the state. Line handed Smith his only two losses of the year. And Smith proved to be Renfroe's Achilles' heel, handing him his lone losses of the season. Expect Line to finish his high school career strong. He's faster, and stronger than Renfroe. PREDICTION: Line p. Renfroe, 2:58

285 POUNDS: Nick Gajdzik (45-0), Stoney Creek vs. Logan Rimmer (47-1), Temperance Bedford - If not for Rimmer's early-season loss Fowlerville's Adam Coon - the second-ranked wrestler in the country - this would be a matchup of Nos. 1 vs. 2, a battle of unbeatens. As it stands, it's still one of the featured matchups in Division 1. Rimmer is a big, strong heavyweight who finished runner-up at this same weight a year ago. Gajdzik, also a returning runner-up - at 215 - is taller and quicker. Should be an interesting contrast in styles.This is a match I can see going the distance. PREDICTION: Gajdzik dec. Rimmer, 5-4

125 POUNDS: Mason Cleaver (51-1), Holly vs. Jacob Schmitt (42-2), St. Johns - Both Holly and St. Johns are well represented in the finals Saturday afternoon. Cleaver is one of three Bronchos who will be wrestling for a state title. Schmitt - no relation to this blogger, despite St. Johns being my hometown - is one of a remarkable nine Redwings to reach the title match. Cleaver will have his hands full with Schmitt, who won a state title as a freshman before finishing runner-up a year ago. Cleaver matched his win total (51) of a year ago in an 8-6 win over No. 2-ranked Alex Melinn of Coopersville in the semifinals. He might have to settle on that number, however, as No. 1-ranked Schmitt is just a little more battle-tested. PREDICTION: Schmitt dec. Cleaver, 10-3

130 POUNDS: Anthony Gonzales (47-3), Holly vs. Kyle Simaz (60-2), Allegan - Both come from great pedigree, with their family names carrying a lot of weight within their wrestling communities. Gonzales stormed onto the scene as a freshman, winning a state title. He finished fifth a year ago. The same could be said of Simaz, just a sophomore. He finished 58-3 last year and was runner-up at 119 pounds. One of his wins along the way ... a 15-9 win over Gonzales in the quarterfinals. I think this year's match will be a little closer, but the result the same. PREDICTION: Simaz, dec. Gonzales, 11-7

171 POUNDS: Chevez Farris (43-2), Ferndale vs. Taylor Massa (43-0), St. Johns - Farris is one of the feel-good stories this year. He's a two-time defending semifinal loser, who finally broke through to the finals in 2012. He lost to Jordan Thomas of Greenville (62-0) last year, denying him a spot in the finals. This year, he beat undefeated Brett Dempsey in the semis, only to run into arguably the best high school wrestler Michigan has ever seen. Massa is 220-0 and is ranked No. 1 in the nation (among all seniors) by Intermat and will be wrestling at Michigan next year. A win over Farris would make Massa just the fifth wrestler in state history to finish as a four-time, unbeaten, state champion. Last year I saw Massa toy with 54-3 Adam Bonner in the championship match. This year, he's needed a combined 3:13 to pin his three opponents. I can see him wanting to go out in style. Sorry Chevez. PREDICTION: Massa p. Farris, 3:21

215 POUNDS: Shawn Scott (51-0), Holly vs. Payne Hayden (42-6), St. Johns - Don't let the six losses fool you. The Redwings wrestle one of the most competitive schedules in the state, so his losses were to great wrestlers. And no one will be fooled by Scott's perfect mark. After finishing runner-up a year ago at 171 pounds, Scott has been on a mission this year. His biggest win came against CC's Kevin Beazley at the Oakland County Tournament. His mission is clear. PREDICTION: Scott dec. Hayden, 8-5

Oakland County also has 32 other wrestlers who reached the consolation rounds Saturday morning. That guaranteed them a spot among the top-8, a medal and a spot on the podium. Read below to see how each of the 79 county wrestlers have done this tournament. Click on their names to check out their brackets.

Birmingham Brother Rice (3 wrestlers)

135 - Andrew Napieraj, Jr. (49-3)    1-2 (out)
145 - Thomas Giradot, Sr. (44-6)     2-1 (consolation round)
160 - Shon Powell, So. (47-2)   2-1 (consolation round)

Birmingham Seaholm (2)

135 - Tim List, Jr. (37-8)    1-2 (out)
140 - Ryan Law, Sr. (41-8)   0-2 (out)

Clarkston (5)

119 - Cameron Wilkie, So. (36-14)   0-2 (out)
152 - Nick Vandermeer, Jr. (37-10)   2-1 (consolation round)
171 - Chris Calvano, Jr. (31-10)   2-1 (consolation round)
189 - Ethan Frick, Sr. (39-10)   1-2 (out)
285 - Scott DeVos, Sr. (29-3)   2-1 (consolation round)

Novi Detroit Catholic Central (10)

103 - Trevor Zdebski, Fr. (34-5)   2-1 (consolation round)
112 - Myles Amine, Fr. (33-12)  1-2 (out)
125 - T.J. Fagan, Sr. (22-4)   2-1 (consolation round)
130 - Ken Bade, Jr. (46-1)   3-0 Championship match
135 - Malik Amine, So. (33-12)   3-0 Championship match
152 - Alec Mooradian, Sr. (44-2)   3-0 Championship match
160 - Nick Mason, Sr. (41-9)   2-1 (consolation round)
171 - Drew Garcia, So. (42-3)   3-0 Championship match
189 - Kevin Beazley, Sr. (44-1)   3-0 Championship match
285 - Bob Coe, Jr. (37-7)   2-1 (consolation round)

Farmington Hills Harrison (1)

125 - Andrew Fialka, Jr. (33-15)   2-1 (consolation round)

Farmington (1)

125 - Immanual Govantes, Jr. (32-12)   2-1 (consolation round)

Lakeland (1)

112 - Brandon Calma, Sr. (30-8)   0-2 (out)

Milford (1)

130 - Steve Shay, Sr. (33-15)   1-2 (out)
Lake Orion (1)

125 - Charlie Highlen, So. (47-7)   1-2 (out)

North Farmington (2)

189 - Kevin Miller, Sr. (43-4)   2-1 (consolation round)
285 - Majd Mokbel, Sr. (36-12)   0-2 (out)

Novi (2)

171 - Jake Dobras, Sr. (37-14)    0-2 (out)
285 - Jimi Keller, Sr. (38-12)    2-1 (consolation round)

Oxford (11)

103 - Dan Curtis, Fr. (41-14)  1-2 (out)
112 - Edwin Schlickenmeyer, So. (33-8)  1-2 (out)
125 - Kyle Hill, Sr. (47-7)   2-1 (consolation round)
130 - Mike Willits, So. (41-11)   3-0 Championship match
135 - Noah Cantara, Sr. (38-17)   2-1 (consolation round)
140 - Rocco Borg, Jr. (45-8)   2-1 (consolation round)
145 - Wes Maskill, So. (35-16)   0-2 (out)
152 - Jacob Peasley, Sr. (33-4)   1-2 (out)
160 - Marty Giannola, Jr. (43-15)   2-1 (consolation round)
171 - Liam Logan, Jr. (25-21)   0-2 (out)
215 - Prescott Line, Sr. (45-0)   3-0 Championship match

Pontiac (1)

145 - Deishawn Stewart, Sr. (35-6)   1-2 (out)

Rochester (6)

103 - Justin Kim, Jr. (35-1)   2-1 (consolation round)
135 - Kaelan Richards, Jr. (46-5)    2-1 (consolation round)
140 - Dean Vettese, Jr. (40-6)   2-1 (consolation round)
145 - Aaron Morgan, So. (38-9)   2-1 (consolation round)
171 - Cody DeVoe, Sr. (49-4)   2-1 (consolation round)
189 - Schwan Shadaia, So. (43-14)   2-1 (consolation round)

Rochester Adams (3)

103 - Justin Schofield, Jr. (35-15)  1-2 (out)
125 - Alex Potoniec, Jr. (36-18)   0-2 (out)
145 - Jack Addy, So. (30-17)   0-2 (out)

Stoney Creek (3)

145 - Andrew Price, Fr. (38-11)   1-2 (out)
215 - Serge Andreou, Sr. (32-5)   2-1 (consolation round)
285 - Nick Gajdzik, Sr. (42-0)   3-0 Championship match

Waterford Kettering (4)

112 - Deven Acker, Jr. (29-11)   0-2 (out)
140 - Dave Dolehanty, Jr. (34-17)   0-2 (out)
215 - Matt Okaiye, So. (32-11)    1-2 (out)
215 - Daulton Arthur, Sr. (26-15)    0-2 (out)

West Bloomfield (2)

119 - Ross Bahro, So. (47-6)    2-1 (consolation round)
135 - Danny Davidson, Sr. (16-8)   0-2 (out)

Walled Lake Central (3)

171 - Conner Marion, Sr. (30-10)    0-2 (out)
189 - Charles Sovel, Sr. (42-7)    2-1 (consolation round)
285 - Ildo Luca, Sr. (25-18)   1-2 (out)

Walled Lake Northern (1)

130 - Christian Lauderback, So. (42-10)   1-2 (out)

Bloomfield Hills Andover (1)

215 - Brody Wagerson, Sr. (39-4)   2-1 (consolation round)

Ferndale (1)

171 - Chevez Farris, Sr. (40-2)   3-0 Championship match

Hazel Park (1)

135 - Cody Vanderhagen, Sr. (38-7)   2-1 (consolation round)

Holly (5)

119 - Tyler Gibson, Sr. (45-7)   2-1 (consolation round)
125 - Mason Cleaver, Jr. (48-1)    3-0 Championship match
130 - Anthony Gonzales, Jr. (44-3)   3-0 Championship match
145 - Andrew Scott, So. (39-7)   0-2 (out)
215 - Shawn Scott, Sr. (48-0)    3-0 Championship match

Madison Heights Lamphere (3)

103 - Trevor Gorman, So. (49-3)   1-2 (out)
112 - Andrew Gorman, Jr. (47-2)   2-1 (consolation round)
285 - Skip Conner, Sr. (42-9)   2-1 (consolation round)

Ortonville Brandon (1)

285 - Matt Smith, Sr. (49-3)   1-2 (out)

South Lyon East (1)

215 - Luke Patterson, Jr. (27-19)    0-2 (out)

Clawson (2)

119 - Jason Palmer, Sr. (32-13)   0-2 (out)
171 - Deonte Hill, Sr. (41-11)    0-2 (out)

Madison Heights Bishop Foley (1)

189 - Brenton Pippin, Sr. (27-4)   2-1 (consolation round)

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