After convincing wins against Novi, Walled Lake Western, Livonia Franklin and Farmington in the district and regional bouts, Catholic Central's wrestling team won its ninth Division 1 state championship in Battle Creek Saturday.
The quarterfinals saw #1 CC destroy #8 Roseville by winning 13 of the 14 bouts, 10 by pin, and finishing with a 73-3 tally.
The semifinals pitted the Shamrocks against #5 Hartland. Hartland advanced to the semis by defeating #4 Temperance Bedford in the closest match of the weekend (and possibly the year). The match was tied at 27 when the last wrestlers left the mat following their double overtime bout. Hartland won the match tiebreaker only after the officials went to the eighth tiebreaker criteria: the total number of first match points scored - by a score of 13 to 12. Few of the other competitors or fans left the arena as the battle came down to its final moments. It was great wrestling to watch no matter what school colors you wore that day. But the Shamrocks did not allow Hartland to celebrate for long. Winning 11 bouts and adding 5 pins to its weekend total, the Shamrocks convincingly defeated Hartland in the Semis by 52-9.
No. 6 seed Oxford advanced through the brackets during the weekend with a one-point win over rival #3 Davidson and a convincing win over previously undefeated #2 seed Brighton 52-13. This set up a rematch of the 2011 championship battle between Oxford and CC, where Oxford came away with the win by a single point.
Fortunately for the Shamrock Nation, 2012 had nothing in common with 2011. CC controlled the match from the beginning and never looked back. Again winning 11 of 14 pairings and adding 3 pins to its weekend count, the Shamrocks won by a final team score of 47-9.
The Shamrocks put seven seniors on the mat this weekend; each one proudly represented the blue and white by getting at least one win during the weekend. The three senior captains, TJ Fagan, Alec Mooradian and Kevin Beazley, all completed their Shamrock team wrestling careers with pins in their final matches against Oxford.
Beazley finished the weekend with 3 pins in 3 matches with the longest bout lasting only 43 seconds. Seniors Nick Mason and Andrew Thompson also won their matches against Oxford. Also winning for the Shamrocks in the finals were Jay Peterson, Trevor Zdebski, Malik Amine and Ken Bade.
Junior Bob Coe fought a close match with Oxford’s Mr. Michigan Football, Prescott Line. In 2011, Line scored a tech fall over Coe, earning Oxford 5 team points. But 2012 was a different story. Coe held Line’s margin of victory to only four points. Although he lost the match, Coe’s courage and perseverance ensured the Shamrocks overall victory and state championship. Coe was the model of a true team player. Instead of taking risks in an attempt to win the match, he wrestled intelligently and gladly took the loss in return for clinching the state championship for the Shamrocks.
On Monday, the state championship wrestlers returned to school with their trophy. An all-student assembly was held in their honor, and the 2012 State Championship banner was raised next to the eight prior wrestling state champ banners.
Catholic Central now gears up for the individual state finals to be held March 1-3 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Ten Shamrocks have advanced through district and regional matches and are prepared to take on the best in Division 1.
Scott Confer is a parent at Catholic Central High School and citizen contributor to Patch.