Division 1 Team Preview

By Steve Widzinski
MI Grappler High School Analyst

1. Detroit Catholic Central
Ranked Wrestlers: Trevor Zdebski (#5 103), Myles Amine (#5 112), TJ Fagan (#7 125), Ken Bade (#1 130), Malik Amine (#5 130), Logan Marcicki (#1 140), Riley Hanson (#5 140), Alec Mooradian (#1 145), Nick Mason (#3 152), Mike Babicz (#10 152), Drew Garcia (#1 160), Kevin Beazley (#1 189)
Key Losses: Andy Erickson (160), Myles Trealout (189)
Impact Newcomers: Trevor Zdebski (Freshman), Myle Amine (Freshman)

Outlook: Redemption will be a key theme for Detroit Catholic Central in 2011-2012.  After spending the entire year ranked atop Division 1, the Shamrocks fell victim to one of last year’s biggest upsets when they were defeated by one point in their state finals dual against Oxford.  Now after having an entire offseason to contemplate the harsh defeat, expect to see an extremely anxious and hungry Shamrocks team this year.
While DCC will certainly be focused on regaining the title of Division 1
champions, the Shamrocks will also be trying to prove themselves as one of
the nation’s elite teams this year.  The team is currently ranked #11 in the
country by WIN magazine, and with national powers such as St. Johns and
St. Edward on their schedule they will certainly have ample opportunity to
compete against the nation’s best.
This year’s lineup could be DCC’s most talented ever, lead by ten
wrestlers ranked in the top five of their weight class.  A pair of immediate
impact freshman will anchor the lower weights for the Shamrock’s.  At 103
Trevor Zdebski has the potential to contend for a state title, and Myles Amine
should be one of Division 1’s best at 112.  The firepower in this lineup starts
to really become apparent at 130lbs, where they will have the option of using
returning state champion Ken Bade as well as state place winner Malik Amine. 
The strongest part of the team’s lineup will likely be at 140 and 145
where Logan Marcicki and Alec Mooradian will give the Shamrock’s a pair
of state champions who should provide them with a wealth of bonus points
during season.  They will be followed by veteran Nick Mason at 152 who is
currently ranked #3 in Division 1, and state runner-up Drew Garcia at 160 who is considered to be one of the country’s top sophomores.  Rounding out the Shamrock’s big guns is state runner-up Kevin Beazley who could see time at 171 and 189.  As was the case last year, the key area of question in DCC’s lineup will be the upperweights.  They struggled at 215 and 285 last year, and will be without the help of Myles Trealout who was a state finalist at 189.  Their ability to get production from their big men should be a key factor in determining if the Shamrocks will be capable of winning against the national powerhouses on their schedule.

2. Davison
Ranked Wrestlers: Lincoln Olsen (#3 103), Jacob Madrigal (#7 103), Marshall Conelly (#10 112), Dominic Russ (#6 119), Justin Oliver (#1 125), Matthew Miller (#7 130), Pat Rooker (#8 140), Jordan Cooks (#1 152)
Key Losses: Terry Turner (130), Jarrad LaBelle (189), Ryan Hankins (285)
Impact Newcomers: Lincoln Olsen (Freshman), Hunter Fifield (Freshman), Marshall Connelly (Freshman), Dominic Russ (Transfer), Ty Wildmo (Freshman)

Outlook: In many ways, last year marked the rebirth of Davison wrestling.  The Cardinals made waves early on by knocking off Oxford, the eventual state champions, in an opening night dual where they were lead by their strong contingent of young wrestlers.  However, the Cardinals season came to a premature ending in early February when they fell in a rematch against Oxford at team districts.  Now coming into
2011-2012 the Cardinals fabulous freshman from a year ago have
some valuable experience under their belts, and they will be joined
by yet another very impressive freshman class as they attempt to win
their first team state title since their winning five consecutive from
Davison is as loaded as anybody in the lower weights, with six
ranked wrestlers between 103-130.  Leading off at 103 will be highly
touted freshman Lincoln Olsen, whose accomplishments include a
first place finish last year at the prestigious Tulsa Nationals.  Marshall
Connelly, another immediate impact freshman will be another new face
to watch out for as he looks to break the lineup at 112.  Returning state
qualifier Derek Humphrey and transfer Dominic Russ should both see
time at 119.  At 125 the Cardinals will have the services of one of
Michigan’s top sophomores, Justin Oliver.  In his freshman campaign
Oliver showed why he has the potential to be the next great college
wrestler to come out of Davison, posting an undefeated record en route
to a state title.  He will be followed by another talented sophomore at 130,
Matt Miller who was all-state year ago.
While there is no denying the immense firepower the Cardinals have down low, the upper half of their lineup is where questions loom early in the season.  They will rely heavily upon top-ranked sophomore Jordan Cooks who will likely see time at 152 and 160.  State qualifier Thomas Garty and skilled freshman Ty Wildmo should also be key contributors in this part of a lineup.  However, 171-285 is currently a bit of a mystery for the Cardinals and they will need some contributors to emerge to compliment their lower weights if they are going to win a state title.  This is an immensely talented team, accompanied by a coaching staff that has proven their ability to develop talent on many occasions.  After several consecutive years of failing to reach the state meet, expect Davison to be itching to make some noise in Battle Creek come the end of February.

3. Oxford
Ranked Wrestlers: Daniel Curtis (#10 103), Kyle Hill (#3 130), Rocco Borg (#4 140), Jacob Peasley (#4 152), Matt Anger (#4 189), Prescott Line (#1 215)
Key Losses: Dylan Smith (103) Keegan Cantara (112) Mike Thomas (135) Matt Frisch (145) Dakota Peasley (152) Ben Ralston (160) Nick McMaster (215)

Outlook: The Wildcats are going to have an extremely tough act to follow in the upcoming season.  To put it mildly, 2010-2011 was a magical year for the Oxford program.  After being soundly defeated at the hands Detroit Catholic Central during the regular season, the Wildcats pulled last year’s most memorable upset when they defeated DCC 26-25 in breathtaking fashion to claim the Division 1 state title.  The team then went on to have a marvelous performance at the individual state meet where every Oxford wrestler that competed reached the podium, and three were crowned as state champions.
Now that the dust has settled from Oxford’s championship run of a year ago, the team will turn their focus towards rebuilding and working towards another state title.  They will have a steep mountain to climb, as last years team was built around a senior class that featured two state champions and a total of five state placers.  In addition to losing seven senior starters to graduation the Wildcats will also be without the services of former head coach Brad Keeney, who has left the team to tend to family issues.  While they will certainly be set back by losing so many key members of the program, there is no reason to believe that Oxford will not be back in the mix as one of D1’s top teams in 2012.  They return several high profile wrestlers, and have a history of getting the most out of their role players and upperclassmen.
Leading the way for the Wildcat’s will be an excellent group of upperweights headlined by defending state champion Prescott Line who will likely be used at 215 and 285.  Line will be in his fourth year as the Wildcat’s starter at 215, and is widely considered to be one the state’s premier big men.  Accompanying Line in the upper portion of the lineup will be Matt Anger at 189lbs, another Wildcat veteran.  Anger has been a key contributor in the lineup for a few years now, and will be anxious to prove himself after being forced to forfeit out of the individual state meet last March due to an injury.  A third key to the top half of Oxford’s lineup will be senior Jacob Peasley who likely will wrestle at 152 for most of the year.  Peasley’s season ended on a sour note last year when he was eliminated from districts, but he has looked like a stud in the preseason winning the Grappler Fall Classic and following up with a solid outing at Super 32.
In the lower weights the Wildcats will be depending on a lot of new additions to the lineup to step up and fill the voids left by graduation.  At 140 they will have Rocco Borg, who has bulked up considerably since placing third in the state at 119 last year.  Their other big gun down low will be Kyle Hill, a state placer from a year ago who could see time at 130 and 135.  Oxford does not have a ton of varsity experience in the 103-125 range, and filling these weights with strong wrestlers will be pivotal to the team’s success.  With the success their program has achieved in recent years, it is certainly reasonable to believe Oxford is capable of replacing their key losses and being a contender in Division 1.  However, with the large amount of leadership that has departed, the Wildcats will have a tough transition to make under newly appointed head coach Brandon Rank.

4. Brighton
Ranked Wrestlers: Jackson Pizzo (#8 125), Evan Hoshaw (#3 135), CJ Brish (#3 140), Aaron Calderon (#9 152), Andy White (#4 160)
Key Losses: Keith Kooperman (135), Brandon Hill (160), Vince Tkak (171), Kurt Alder (189)

Outlook: After several years of steadily climbing the ladder, 2010-2011 was a breakout season of sorts for Coach Sam Amine and the Brighton Bulldogs.  The team knocked off Holt to advance to the team state finals for the first time in recent memory, where they reached the semifinals before falling to Detroit Catholic Central.  They lose some key leaders from the upperweights, but the majority of the Bulldog’s lineup is back for 2011-2012 intent on building upon last season’s success.
The strength of Brighton’s lineup will be from 119-160, where they are loaded with talent and experience.  At 135 Evan Hoshaw is Brighton’s lone state placer from a year ago, and should provide the team with some key bonus points this year.  Four other state qualifiers from 2011 will add to the Bulldog’s firepower in the middle.  Jackson Pizzo, CJ Brish, Aaron Calderon and Andy White all reached the state meet a year ago, gaining some valuable experience along the way.  Additionally, Jordan Amine is a former state qualifier at 119 who gives Brighton another weapon they can rely on.
Now the big task for Brighton will be to replace their graduated by seniors in the upper weights, as well as to fill the voids left at 103 and 112 as their wrestlers move up in weight.  They have brought in a lot of young talent over the past few years, and if they can fill these holes they should be back in the semifinals at Battle Creek. 

5. Hartland
Ranked Wrestlers: Nate Hughes (#6 103), Jacob Gorial (#7 112), Austin Eicher (#3 125), Justin Charneski (#4 171), Matt Ostermiller (#7 189), Phil Rowland (#9 285)
Key Losses: Keith Boldt (119), Ross Kantola (125), Chase Snider (145), John Julien (152), Chad Hunt (160)
Impact Newcomers: Jacob Gorial 112 (Freshman)

Outlook: Few programs in the state of Michigan have experienced the steady success that the Hartland Eagles have enjoyed over the past decade.  Under head coach Todd Cheney the team has won ten consecutive regional titles while consistently producing a plethora of all-state wrestlers.  This year’s Hartland team fits the typical mold: lots of talent in the upperweights, kids with big time experience sprinkled throughout the lineup, and a top five ranking in Division 1.   Over the past ten years the Eagles have consistently proven they will always be a threat to reach Battle Creek and do some damage, so don’t expect this year to be any different.
Leading the way for the Eagles will be a strong group of big men who should be among D1’s best after gaining a great deal of experience last year.  Justin Charneski comes into the year ranked fourth at 171, and is one of two returning state placers on Hartland’s roster.  At 189 veteran Matt Ostermiller will be in his fourth year starting for the Eagles and should be a key contributor.  Another to watch out for will be heavyweight Phil Rowland who is currently ranked ninth in D1.  Hartland has a history of producing excellent heavyweights, and Rowland came within a match of qualifying for states as sophomore last year.
The Eagles lineup will also feature some highly regarded wrestlers in the lower weights.  After a stellar freshman campaign, Austin Eicher is ranked third at 125 and has a great shot of becoming Hartland’s next state champion.  Returning starter Nate Hughes will add some valuable experience at 103, and Jacob Gorial should be one of the state’s top freshman at 112.  With very capable wrestlers filling the lower and upper portion of their lineup, the middleweights will be the primary area of concern for Hartland heading into the season.  However year in and year out the Eagles continue to have new faces emerge as key wrestlers immediately upon breaking the varsity lineup, so there is no reason to doubt they won’t be able to make up for their graduation losses and continue to perform at a high level as a team.

6. Southgate Anderson
Ranked Wrestlers: Jourdain Spurlin (#2 125), Alex Molloy (#4 130), Caleb Wilson (#2 171), Devon Bronson (#2 189), Ben Dominguez (#5 215)
Key Losses: Brandon McLaughlin (152), Tomas Gomez (171)

Outlook: Amidst all the drama of last year’s Division 1 title race, it is easy to
forget all that Southgate Anderson accomplished.  The Titans surprised a lot
of people by unseating a very good Temperance Bedford to reach the team
finals, and qualified six wrestlers for individual states despite wrestling in
the state’s most competitive region.  The best part of all this for Southgate
is that of their six state qualifiers, five will be back this year.  Now with a trip
to Battle Creek under their belts, Southgate will not be catching anyone off
guard this year.
The Titans will be lead by several high caliber guys who are ranked in
the top five of their weight class.  Anchoring the lower portion of the lineup
will be Jourdain Spurlin at 125 and Alex Molloy at 130.  Molloy as a state
runner-up at 119 last year, while Spurlin finished third at 112.  Their big guns
in the upperweights will be Caleb Wilson, Devon Bronson and Ben
Dominguez.  Wilson was all-state a year ago, while Bronson and Dominguez
both lost in the bloodround at the Palace.  The firepower is certainly there for
Southgate to make another run, and they return some key role players who
should be improved.  The amount of production they get from their lesser
known guys and new starters should determine how far the Titans are
capable of advancing this postseason.

7. Temperance Bedford
Ranked Wrestlers: Mitch Rogaliner (#2 112), Al Regnier (#10 140), Nate Stevens (#8 145), Brandon Sunday (#6 189), Brian Smith (#3 215), Logan Rimmer (#1 285)
Key Losses: Brian Gibbs (140), Chaz Hudson (152)
Impact Newcomers: Tyler Rogaliner 103 (Freshman)

Outlook: This season will mark the dawn of a new era for the Temperance Bedford wrestling program.  After serving as head coach for sixteen seasons, Denny Brighton has retired and the Mule’s storied program will now be lead by Bedford alumni Kevin Vogel.  The past few seasons have had disappointing endings for the Mule’s, and Vogel will attempt to lead the team back to Battle Creek for the first time since 2008.
Coach Brighton certainly did not leave the cupboard bare
for Vogel, who will inherit a team rich in talent.  Some of the big
names on the Bedford roster include 2010 state champion Mitch
Rogaliner who will wrestle at 112, and state runner-up Logan
Rimmer at 285 who is currently D1’s top ranked heavyweight. 
In addition to Rimmer, state placer Brian Smith at 215 and sixth
ranked Brandon Sunday at 189 will give Bedford one of the state’s
best groups of big guys, while Al Regnier and Nate Stevens will
give the team two additional ranked wrestlers in the middle of the
lineup at 140 and 145.  They will have to go through the customary
transition that comes with a head coaching change, but the Mule’s
should have a good chance of avenging last year’s regional loss
to Southgate and reaching the team state finals.

#8 Holt
Ranked Wrestlers: Shane Wireman (#1 112), Martin Rodriguez (#3 112), Dom Trevino (#6 145), Marcos Reyes (#9 145), Jeff Lyon (#10 160)
Key Losses: Caleb Haddad (152), Seth Hanton (160), Justin Jones (215), Cole Johnson (215), Tyler Kulp (285)
Impact Newcomers: Martin Rodriguez 112 (Transfer)

Outlook: Last year marked the first time since 2007 that Holt did not reach the team finals in Battle Creek.  Despite putting together a solid regular season, the Rams fell against a vastly improved Brighton team in the regional finals.  While they will be hurt by a few a key graduation departures in the upperweights, the Rams have a lot of returning starters down low and should be a more experienced team.  They will receive an additional boost in January when all-state transfer Martin Rodriguez joins the lineup.
From 112-160 the Rams should be capable of matching up pretty well with all of their competition D1.  The combination of Rodriguez and defending state champion Shane Wireman will give them a pair of true studs that should make Holt lethal at 112/119.  AJ Presley qualified for states as a freshman last year, and should give the Rams a very capable starter at 130.  Returning state placer Dom Trevino should be another key asset for the Rams, likely wrestling at 145.  Marco Reyes at 145 and Jeff Lyon at 160 are additional ranked wrestlers in the middle of the lineup.  With most of lower and middleweights accounted for, filling 171-285 will become the team’s biggest priority.  All of these weight classes were occupied by talented seniors a year ago, and the Rams will need to find adequate replacements in order to return to the team finals.

#9 Grand Haven
Ranked Wrestlers: Allen Torres (#6 140), Dakota Juarez (#5 152), Conor Moynihan (#5 171)
Key Losses: Jerry Westerman (189), Tyler Rose (285)

Outlook: In 2011 the Buccaneers came within sniffing distance of the team state finals, losing to Hudsonville by a mere two points in the regional finals.  Now Grand Haven returns most of their key wrestlers, and enters the season as the top ranked west side team in Division 1.  The Bucs have a good regional draw, and at this point it seems anything less than a trip to Battle Creek would be a disappointment.
Three ranked wrestlers in the middle of the lineup will account for the majority of the team’s firepower.  After achieving all-state status as a freshman last year, Dakota Juarez is back for the Bucs and should be one of Division 1’s top wrestlers at 152.  As a sophomore, Conor Moynihan came within a match of placing at the state meet last March and enters the year ranked fifth in D1 at 171.  Allen Torres is another Grand Haven wrestler who reached the state meet in 2011, currently ranked sixth at 140.  The Bucs return several other quality starters from last year’s team, and should have the balance to improve upon last season and win a regional title.

#10 Rockford
Ranked Wrestlers: Stephen Jendritz (#9 103), Tyler VanRooyen (#3 119), Austin Scogg (#2 152), Robby Gorton (#6 171)
Key Losses: None

Outlook: The Rams experienced a bit of a drop off last season, following the graduation of one the state of Michigan’s best senior classes in recent memory in 2010.  After spending much of last year in the “rebuilding” phase, Rockford brings back all of their key wrestlers for 2011-2012 and should be a significantly improved squad.  While they may not have the gaudy firepower of past Rockford teams, this is a talented group that should not have many holes.
Leading the way for the Rams will be defending state champion Austin Scogg who will likely be used at 152 and 160.  Another highly ranked asset for Rockford will be former all-stater Tyler VanRooyen, currently ranked third in D1 at 119.  Other Rams included in the preseason rankings are Stephen Jendritz at 103 and Robby Gorton at 171.  If they can learn for the experience they gained last season, expect Rockford to be right there with Grand Haven vying for a regional title on the west side of the state come February.

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Drew Garcia (above), is one of five Shamrocks ranked #1 in their weight class.
Justin Oliver (above) will have a tough act to follow after going undefeated en route to a state tttle last year.
Jourdain Spurlin (above) is one of five ranked wrestlers for Southgate
Logan Rimmer (above) is Division 1's top ranked heavyweight