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WRESTLING: Usual suspects: Oxford tames Clarkston, Lake Orion for 10th regional title in 11 years

| February 15, 2018 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

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dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

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CLARKSTON — When it comes to high school wrestling in the state of Michigan, Oxford definitely qualifies as part of the usual suspects.

The seventh-ranked Wildcats advanced to the state tournament for the 10th time in 11 years with the school’s 12th overall regional title Wednesday night.

Oxford (23-7) defeated ninth-ranked Clarkston 36-24 in the semifinals, while the Wildcats rolled past  Lake Orion in convincing fashion, 51-20, in the finals match.

Lake Orion defeated Troy 49-18 in the other semifinal

Oxford advanced to the Division 1 state quarterfinals for the 12th time in 19 seasons at Kalamazoo Wings Stadium Feb. 23-24 against an opponent to be named later.

“This is always the goal for this program,” said frat-year Oxford coach Ross Wingert. “That’s a credit to Paul McDevitt, who has been a coach in the program for (over 20 years). And longtime assistants Adam Wolfong and Brandon Rank. Those guys have been here a long time preparing these guys. It takes a lot of people to get a wrestling program to get to this point.”

Oxford held a 16-15 lead on Clarkston before a pair of pins gave them a 28-15 cushion and the Wildcats never looked back. In the finals against Lake Orion (20-8), Oxford built a 18-5 advantage through five weight classes and kept the pressure on the Dragons.

The Wildcats never trailed and won 10 of 14 weight classes against Lake Orion, closing with a 24-0 run on two pins and two wins by void to ice the victory.

Upset wins by Trent More (152) and Caleb Tabert (160) aided Oxford’s effort.

“(Lake Orion) is strong where we are strong and it was exciting to have that excitement in our dual,” said Wingert, “We had some key wins and we closed out the way we wanted to in both matches.

“Moving onto states, it’s something that these kids know well, especially the seniors,” continued Wingert. “The coaches know it well. Last year we lost in the quarters (to Hartland) and who knows what the draw will be this year. We’ll just get back and have a great week of practice and see what the draw is.”

Lake Orion reached the Final Four in both 2008 and 2009, but went through a dry spell. Reaching the regional finals is the furthest the Dragons have advanced in nearly a decade.

“Overall I’m pleased with the season. We have not (advanced) this far since 2009,” said fourth-year Lake Orion. “We match up well with Oxford in a lot of weight classes, but there were a couple of upsets, we void two weight classes and we were missing a couple of kids. So we could never get going. We made long strides this season.”

Clarkston (20-8) lost to Oxford twice this season and finished behind the Wildcats at both the Oakland County meet and OAA Red/White Division Tournament. The Wolves cracked the top 10 in the rankings this season and are closing the gap on the dominant Wildcats.

“We’ll get there,” said first-year Clarkston coach Joe Wood, whose program lost in the regional round for the 10th straight season. “We’re still young. We have some seniors, but we’ll return quite a bit next season. We’re building (for the future).”

Troy won its first district since 2013 but could not match up with Lake Orion in the semifinal. Veteran coach Gary Harlan returned to the sidelines after a five-year hiatus and saw vast improvements in the Colts, who only lose three starters to graduation.

“We came a long ways this season and we talked about what it will take in the offseason to get better and maybe one day to be able to compete with the other teams in this regional,” said Harlan. “We wrestled and beat a really good Utica Eisenhower team last week and were really competitive with them. Now we need to keep building and keep working to get better.”

OXFORD 51, LAKE ORION 20

(regional finals)

130: Dalton Myers (O) p.Dylan Altman 1:58; 135: Joe Vackaro (O) d. Anthony Vellucci 5-1; 140: Noah Smith (LO) tech. fall Jack Wandrie 15-0; 145: Ryan Miller (O) p. Austin Dolland 1:55; 152: Trent Myre (O) d. Jaden Fisher 15-9; 160: Caleb Tabert (O) d. Dylan Wellbaum 8-7; 171: Tyler Vestrand (LO) d. Devin Trevino 11-6; 189: Austin Schlicht (O) p. Sam Hardy 2:45; 215: Mason Slocum (LO) p. Melvin Eckels 3:01; 285: Hunter Chambers (LO) by void; 103: Matthew Curtis (O) by void; 112: Ashton Anderson (O) by void; 119: Liam Hillary (O) p. Nick Nowakowski 1:04; 125: Nathan Call (O) p. Kai Smith 3:21.

RECORDS: Oxford 23-7; Lake Orion 20-8

OXFORD 36, CLARKSTON 24

(regional semifinals)

RECORDS: Clarkston 19-8

LAKE ORION 49, TROY 18

(regional semifinals)

RECORDS: Troy 17-7

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Category: Clarkston, High School (M-Z), Lake Orion, Most Recently Updated Stories, NOS reference, Oxford, Prep Wraps, Sport, Top Stories, Troy, Uncategorized, Wrestling

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

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