The energy in the Kellogg Arena and the enormity of it all – that is the Michigan High School Team Wrestling Finals, can affect even the best wrestlers.
“I remember being here as a freshman. It was nerve-wracking. The gym is so huge and everything is going on around you,” said Lowell senior Andrew Morse. “I just remember I didn’t wrestle well and barely won my match.”
Morse used his experience to provide insight to the eight Lowell underclassmen making their first trip the state finals in Battle Creek on Friday night.
“I told them to go out on the mat and focus just on wrestling and don’t think about the other things around you,” Morse explained.
The three-time state champion then went out and showed them how its done. In the second match of the night, Morse pinned Andrew Scott in 1:35 of the first period in helping propel the second ranked team in Division 2 to a 54-15 win over Holly.
The win advanced the Red Arrows into the semi-final against Allegan (33-3). The Tigers won their quarterfinal match, 29-28, against Stevensville-Lakeshore on a Taylor Simaz (145) first-period pin.
“We saw Lowell at the Individual Regional and they qualified like 12 wrestlers for the state tourney. Lowell will be a tough one,” said Allegan wrestling coach Murray Rose. “I know this, we will have to wrestle a whole lot better than we did tonight if we are going to win.”
Lowell won eight of the opening nine matches against the Bronchos in building an insurmountable 45-3 advantage.
Along with Morse, Kanon Dean (152), Gabe Dean (189), Luke Stephens (285), Derek Krajewski (103) and Jordan Hall (119) and produced first-period pins.
“We wanted to wrestle well and be healthy going into Saturday,” said Lowell wrestling coach Dave Dean.
Lowell’s Jake Stehley (171 and Gabe Morse (140) both posted decisions while Bailey Jack (112) won via default. Angus Athur (145) ended the evening with a third-period pin against Holly’s Kyle Pepper.
“I though our kids with more experience wrestled well,” said Holly coach Don Pluta. “Our second tier wrestlers will need to prepare better in the offseason so when they return next year they can match the energy level on the mat that they encountered tonight. Overall, though, I was pleased with our performance.”
Holly’s wins were recorded by Shawn Scott (215); Mason Cleaver (125) via the pin; and Jesse Torres (135)
The Bronchos have won the Flint Metro League in each of the last two years along with three consecutive district titles and two straight regional titles.
In the other Division 2 quarterfinals, Tecumsah defeated Greenville 30-29 while top ranked St. Johns rolled Mason 61-11. The two winners will meet in the other semifinal on Saturday (11:45 a.m.)
Filed under: Wrestling