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February 16, 2011 - By Mike Musary

Special to The Review

On Thursday, Feb. 10, the Lake Orion wrestling team beat Pontiac 4721 to advance to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) District championship match but fell to Rochester Adams 3422 to finish in second place at the State Tournament Team Disticts.

John Atwater (130 lb.), Dom Arnold (152 lb.), Adam Gros (171 lb.), and Mitch Ladd (189 lb.) all went 20 on the night. David Moore III (103 lb.), Charlie Highlen (112 lb.), Anton Letica (119 lb.), Cam Masters (125 lb.), Deven Ellis (135 lb.), Ethan Gros (160 lb), and Mac Boyer (215 lb.) each had a win for the Dragons.

"Last night, Rochester Adams was better than us - hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes this year so we don't make them next year." said Head Coach Cory Kuzinski. "Twenty to thirteen isn't a bad record. We hammered some opponents and we got hammered a few times.

When you look at who those losses were to, it wasn't a big surprise. We need to take a step next year towards competing with the big dogs again."

"We won't have the "we're young" excuse anymore next year. Several freshman and sophomores got a ton of varsity matches this year," added Kuzinski.

The season for the Lake Orion wrestling team is now over, but several Dragon wrestlers went on to compete in the MHSAA Division 1 Individual District tournament on Saturday, Feb. 12 at Walled Lake Central.

Fourteen Lake Orion wresters participated, and Lake Orion was just one of 15 schools to compete. The top four placers in each weight division advanced to regionals.

Highlen and Adam Gros both finished in second place by winning their first two matches which advanced them to the championship match.

Highlen lost his championship match to Austin Eicher of Hartland who is ranked #3 in the state. Gros narrowly lost his championship match 30 to Matt Vandermeer of Clarkston who is ranked #1 in the state. Ladd went 41 on the day and finished in third place. Ladd defeated Matt Ostermiller, the #9 wrestler in the state from Hartland, 150 in his third place bout. Arnold went 32 on the day to finish in fourth place. He had to wrestle his freshman brother Zach Arnold in his 81 win for fourth place.

Masters, Ellis, Zach Arnold, and Ethan Gros all went 22 on the day and each had fifth place finishes. Letica, Atwater, Durham Basso (160 lb.), and John Yeglinski (189 lb.) all went 12 on the day. Juan Leon (119 lb.) and Boyer lost their only match.

"We obviously would have liked to get a couple more guys through, but it's really more about the guys who did qualify for districts," said Head Coach Cory Kuzinski. "Dom, Adam, and Mitch have extended their careers for another week and Charlie will gain valuable experience for the future; experience he can share with the other underclassmen."

The MHSAA Division 1 Individual Regionals will take place Saturday, Feb. 19, at L'Anse Creuse High School. There will be eight wrestlers in each weight class with the top four placers advancing to the State Championships at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

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