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WRESTLING: Clarkston trying to get over the regional hump; Rochester eyeing first trip to Battle Creek

| February 13, 2013 | Comments (1)

Avondale, Troy, Holly also look forward to regional berth

 

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

 

For three straight years, Hartland has emerged as a roadblock for Clarkston reaching the pearly gates of Battle Creek.

The perennial powerful Eagles have ousted Clarkston in the Division 1 Sweet 16 each of the past three years.

Clarkston could have another shot at Hartland this season.

The state-ranked Wolves, who are enjoying their best season since reaching the Division Final Four in both 2004 and 2007, will participate in Wednesday’s Division team regional at Hartland. Clarkston will face Brighton, which reached the Final Four last season, while Farmington Harrison will tangle with host Hartland in the other regional semifinal at 5:30 p.m.

HEAD FIRST: Clarkston’s Nick Vandermeer (left) and the fifth-ranked Wolves will compete in the team regionals for the fourth straight season Wednesday. File Photo | Dan Stickradt

The winners will advance to the regional finals 20 minutes following the completion of the two semifinals matches.

“We have our work cut off for us,” admitted Clarkston coach Derek Moskovic, a three-time individual state champion at Birmingham Brother Rice from 1990-92.

Clarkston is one of three teams in the Hartland regional, as Hartland is ranked third, Clarkston fifth and Brighton ninth in Division 1. Hartland and Brighton both reached the state semifinals last season, although Brighton graduated 10 starters from that squad.

The Wolves finished tied for second overall in a loaded OAA Red Division this season, sharing that position with seventh-ranked Rochester, which wrestles in the Oxford regional tonight. Rochester eliminated sixth-ranked Oxford in last week’s districts after Oxford reached the Final Four in five straight seasons.

Clarkston has quietly picked up a 26-6 record this season, with all six losses coming against teams ranked in one of the state’s four divisions. With a lineup with several seniors and juniors, there is plenty of experience in the Wolves’ lineup.

“It all goes down to matchups and sometimes one or two wrestlers can make a huge difference,” offered Moskovic. “Last season Hartland won a couple of swing matches, matches that I felt we could have won. They ended up beating us. We would love another chance at them. They are always very deep and talented. We have to beat Brighton first. They have been very good the past couple of years and very well-coached.”

Clarkston fell to Hartland in last year’s regional final, 44-24. In 2011 and 2010 the results were the same, as Hartland posted a 48-15 victory in 2011 and a 42-19 win at the same level in 2010. Ironically speaking, Hartland also defeated Clarkston in the state semis in both 2004 and 2007.

“They have had our number,” said Moskovic. “We would love to get to Battle Creek. That’s always the goal for most teams. But we know we have to beat two top-10 teams to get there.”

ROCHESTER KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Two years ago, Rochester fielded one of its best teams. Still, the Falcons could not seem to get past the district hump.

Rochester saw a couple of its better individuals get upset in its district final against Romeo that year and Romeo not only went on to upset the Falcons for the district title, but the Bulldogs also reached the Elite Eight in Battle Creek.

Last season, Rochester got a couple of steps further with its first district crown in 19 years. The Falcons eventually lost in the regional finals to Oxford, 31-27, in a match that went down to the final weight class.

Three times in two years, Oxford and Rochester have battled down to the wire, with Rochester winning the district crown last week with a dramatic victory. Wrestling with its full lineup for the first time all season, Rochester posted a 34-28 victory over the Wildcats

Rochester is the heavy favorite to win the Oxford regional crown Wednesday, taking on Troy in the one semifinal and facing the winner of Birmingham Seaholm-Utica Eisenhower in the finals. The Falcons, who hold a 27-5 record, are eying their first trip west to Battle Creek for the state quarterfinals Feb. 22.

Since the inception of the Team Dual State Tournament in 1998, Rochester has only reach the regional round three times and last year’s Sweet 16 appearance was the furthest the Falcons have advanced in the team format.

“I think the boys are really excited,” said Rochester coach Frank Lafferty, who took over Rochester eight years ago and has molded the Falcons into a legitimate contender. “We have work hard for this. We just have had bad luck the past couple of years. This year we’ve had so many injuries. Now we finally have our lineup back and we’re only a couple of wins away from marking it.”

TOUGH ROAD

Holly, competing in Division 2, will have the toughest road. The ninth-ranked Bronchos, who have won four straight districts and reached the state quarterfinals, will face unranked Flint Kearsley in the semifinals, a team they have defeated handily twice this season. Waiting in the wings on the other half other regional is top-ranked St. Johns, which is the three-time defending state champion.

THE STING

Auburn Hills Avondale may be under a new coaching staff for the first time in nearly four decades, but the Yellowjackets are still a competitive squad.

Avondale will compete in the Division 2 regional Wednesday at Madison Heights Lamphere, taking on Southfield in one regional semifinal. Tenth-ranked Warren Lincoln will tangle with Lamphere in the other match.

A pair of wins will send Avondale into the state quarterfinals for the second time in two years. In 2001, the Yellowjackets edged Lincoln for the regional title and reached the quarters before falling to eventual state runner-up Greenville.

St. Johns opens against unranked St. Clair.

 

Wrestling Rankings

(By Michigan Grappler)

Division 1 — 1. Novi Detroit Catholic Central; 2. Davison; 3. Hartland; 4. Temperance Bedford; 5. Clarkston; 6. Oxford; 7. Rochester; 8. Macomb Dakota; 9. Brighton; 10. Battle Creek Lakeview.

Division 2 — 1. St Johns; 2. Lowell; 3. Niles; 4. Allegan; 5. Fowlerville; 6. Tecumseh; 7. Greenville; 8. Hamilton; 9. Holly; 10. Warren Lincoln.

Division 3 — 1. Dundee; 2. Richmond; 3. Whitehall; 4. Grand Rapids Catholic Central; 5. Shelby; 6. Remus Chippewa Hills; 7. Birch Run; 8. Allendale; 9. Saginaw Swan Valley; 10. Manchester.

Division 4 — 1. Hudson; 2 Hesperia; 3. New Lothrop; 4. Addison; 5. Decatur; 6. Constantine; 7. Bronson; 8. Carson City-Crystal; 9. Blanchard-Edmore-Montabella; 10. Leroy Pine River.

 

MHSAA WRESTLING TEAM REGIONALS PAIRINGS

Below are the 2013 MHSAA Wrestling Team Regionals involving high schools from the www.northoaklandsports.com coverage area. Call host school for further details.

 

DIVISION 1

REGIONAL NO. 104 HOSTED BY HARTLAND

MATCH 1 — Clarkston vs. Brighton, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 1 — Farmington Harrison vs. Hartland, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 3 — Finals, 7 p.m.

(Winner advances to the state quarterfinals Feb.22 at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.)

REGIONAL NO. 105 HOSTED BY OXFORD

MATCH 1 — Troy vs. Rochester, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 1 — Birmingham Seaholm vs. Utica Eisenhower, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 3 — Finals, 7 p.m.

(Winner advances to the state quarterfinals Feb.22 at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.)

DIVISION 2

REGIONAL NO. 110 HOSTED BY ORTONVILLE BRANDON

MATCH 1 — St. Clair vs. St. Johns, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 1 — Holly vs. Flint Kearsley, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 3 — Finals, 7 p.m.

(Winner advances to the state quarterfinals Feb.22 at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.)

REGIONAL NO. 116 HOSTED BY MADISON HEIGHTS LAMPHERE

MATCH 1 — Southfield vs. Auburn Hills Avondale, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 1 — Madison Heights Lamphere vs. Warren Lincoln, 5:30 p.m.; MATCH 3 — Finals, 7 p.m.

(Winner advances to the state quarterfinals Feb.22 at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.)

 

 

 

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About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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