BY DAN STICKRADT
BATTLE CREEK — For the first time, Rochester finds itself amongst the Division 1 state quarterfinalists in wrestling and headed to Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.
The Falcons, ranked seventh in the final regular season polls, gained the No. 5 seed and will wrestle No.4 Temperance Bedford at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.
In the team dual state tournament, which dates back to 1988, Rochester has never advanced to Battle Creek until now. The Falcons lost in the regional finals to Oxford (31-27) last season, one win shy of the goal.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central, last year’s state champ and the top-ranked team in D-1, gained the top seed and will wrestle eighth-seeded Grandville. Second-seeded Davison will tangle with Holt and third-seeded Hartland will face sixth-seeded Macomb Dakota, which like Rochester, is making its first trip to the semifinals.
“this is the first time we’ve been this far. Making it to Battle Creek was our goal from the beginning of the season, offered Frank Lafferty, Rochester’s head coach for a 10thseason. “We knew we had the talent to do it, but we finally were able to put it all together.
Saddled with injuries all season, Rochester is 23-11 in dual matches with all 11 losses coming against ranked schools from various divisions. Rochester wrestled shorthanded the whole season and finally gained its full lineup back just in time for the state tournament.
Rochester lost to its state quarterfinals opponent Temperance Bedford by one point last month without three staters.
“It seems that in a lot of our losses, we were a Josh Wood away from winning or we had a few other guys out of the lineup,” said Lafferty. “I think now that we are healthy, we are wrestling at our best we have all season.”
Kaelen Richards, a senior 145-pound all-stater, believes his team is a tad bit underrated.
We’ve dreamt of this since we were freshmen and now we get to go where no other (Rochester) team has gone before,” said Richards. “Now that we are going, we think we can go even further and maybe beat some teams. We finally have our top lineup healthy. A lot of the teams we wrestled this year we saw when we had multiple guys out.”
2013 TEAM WRESTLING STATE QUARTERFINALS
(Friday, Feb. 22, Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena)
Division 1: 3:15 p.m.
Mat 1: No. 1 Novi Detroit Catholic Central (22-3) vs. No. 8 Grandville (22-7)
Mat 2: No. 4 Temperance Bedford (26-2) vs. No. 5 Rochester (23-11)
Mat 3: No. 3 Hartland (32-1) vs. No. 6 Macomb Dakota (37-4)
Mat 4: No. 2 Davison (12-4) vs. No. 7 Holt (15-10)
Division 2: 7:45 p.m.
Mat 1: No. 1 St. Johns (19-4) vs. No. 8 Mason (30-8)
Mat 2: No. 4 Warren Lincoln (30-4) vs. No. 5 Allegan (30-5)
Mat 3: No. 3 Niles (33-1) vs. No. 6 Tecumseh (30-12)
Mat 4: No. 2 Lowell (17-6) vs. No. 7 Greenville (28-4)
Division 3: 1 p.m.
Mat 1: No. 1 Dundee (20-2) vs. No. 8 Belding (17-8)
Mat 2: No. 4 Birch Run (27-3) vs. No. 5 Remus Chippewa Hills (26-4)
Mat 3: No. 3 Whitehall (25-0) vs. No. 6 Parchment (32-1)
Mat 4: No. 2 Richmond (24-4) vs. No. 7 Gladstone (12-0)
Division 4: 5:30 p.m.
Mat 1: No. 1 Hudson (27-6) vs. No. 8 Norway (21-2)
Mat 2: No. 4 Bronson (21-0) vs. No. 5 Sand Creek (25-9)
Mat 3: No. 3 New Lothrop (31-4) vs. No. 6 Carson City-Crystal (26-6)
Mat 4: No. 2 Hesperia (33-2) vs. No. 7 Kent City (35-4)
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