Grapplers ready to dominate state finals this week
March 02, 2011 - Six grapplers are counting down the hours until they step onto the mats at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the MHSAA Individual State Finals this week.
Sophomore Nick Vandermeer (135) will lead the pack wrestling, in the second bout in the starting weight class, going against Riley Hanson from Detroit Catholic Central.
For his first trip he qualified at Regionals after finishing in second place.
"I am scared a little bit about what's going to happen and a little shell-shocked," he said. "I am excited about it and I am hoping to place."
Also, making their first appearances in finals are senior Mike Henige (160), juniors Scott Devos (285) and Ethan Frick (215).
"I am excited I finally get my chance to get there," said Henige. "I have a good seed going into the state meet from regionals. It should set me up good to wrestle some good competition off the bat."
Devos and Frick also shared their excitement as they got ready for the match.
"I set goals for this season to go to regionals and wrestle as best as I could," said Frick, explaining he didn't expect to make it this far. "I am psyched - I met my goal and kept going placing for states."
Seniors Jeff Sloney (130) and Matt Vandermeer (171) return after finishing as All-State last year.
"I am pretty confident this time," said Matt. "I am expecting to make it to finals and win it."
He added what will help is the off-training he did after last year's finals by wrestling during the summer and by not playing football in his senior year.
"Pretty much since I was six I was training for my high school career and this is it," he said.
"They all have a good shot of placing," said Coach Andy Auten. "A few of them have a good shot at winning."
While the Wolves are looking to place in the top eight to make All-State or to win, they are also looking forward to the competition.
Nick has a possibility to go up against Jack Weissend from Carman-Ainsworth and avenge his 10-4 loss from earlier in the season.
Henige has his sights on Detroit Catholic Central's Andrew Erickson after beating him in the Oakland County and losing to him in the Tournament of Champs.
"I am pretty hyped to wrestle him," he said.
"Matt could see Adam Gros from Lake Orion in the finals again," said Auten. "He wrestled him in finals at districts and regionals and beat him both times. He has beat him quite a few times and I expect him to beat Gros again."
Matt is also looking forward to go against a Detroit Catholic Central foe, Kevin Beazley, after beating him at the Oakland County meet, 5-0.
The first rounds for the Wolves are as follows: Nick Vandermeer against Riley Hanson, Detroit Catholic Central; Henige against Troy Root, Howell; Matt Vandermeer against Matt Franklin, East Kentwood; Frick against David Pope, Monroe; Devos against Brandon Midcalf, Saginaw Heritage; and Sloney against Tyler Kuch, Bay City Western.
"Pope is one of the top four in the state," said Frick. "It is probably going to be my hardest match for the night and the tournament."
The first round begins at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, following the Grand March, set for 2 p.m.
The tournament continues through Friday and Saturday, championship round at 4:45 p.m.
Check Wolfpack Update on www.ClarkstonNews.com to see how the Wolves are doing in the tournament.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.