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Frisch, Line, Ralston earn 1st state titles

Matthew Frisch (click for larger version)
March 09, 2011 - There is no denying Oxford wrestling now.

The Wildcats proved to everyone in the wrestling world that winning the team division one state final last weekend was no fluke as they claimed three individual state championships on Saturday, March 5 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Seniors Matt Frisch and Ben Ralston, along with junior Prescott Line captured their first individual state championships, capping off a season of validation for the Wildcat wrestling program.

"It's phenomenal," head coach Brad Keeney said. "You work and work, and your goal is to make a class of young men and that is what we have all the way around. I don't know how much better you can do than win a division one state title and having eight all state kids, but if there is, that is impressive."

Frisch simply dominated in his finals match against Jared Zimmerman of Hudsonville. Frisch won 8-3 in a rematch of their regional match. "I knew if I came out and attacked I knew I would get him because that is what I did at regionals," Frisch said.

Frisch came into the finals ranked number one in the 145 lb. division and cruised to his finals match against Zimmerman. He opened up with a 10-2 victory over Erik Winnega of Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse before defeating Nick Tomski of Farmington 8-1 in the second round.

In the semi-finals, Frisch had to sweat out a 10-7 victory over Chase Singleton of Caledonia.

Ben Ralston (click for larger version)
Ralston, who also came in to the state finals with a number one ranking, showed no mercy on his opponents throughout the weekend.

In his finals match against Seth Hanton of Holt, Ralston dominated from the opening whistle, winning with an 11-3 major decision. Ralston said it felt really good winning a state championship and all of his goals were accomplished.

"I just took it as another match and tried to put up as many points as I could," Ralston said when asked how he was able to win by such a wide margin.

Ralston breezed right through the competition in the 160 lb. bracket. He crushed Josh Rezney of Fraser 18-2 in the opening round before defeating Brandon Hill of Brighton 13-7 in round two. Matt Roos of Livonia Franklin proved to be no contest for Ralston, suffering a 12-4 defeat in the semi-final round.

Line proved he was just as capable of winning a state title as his senior teammates. After pinning his first two opponents in less than 50 seconds, Line ran into the hottest wrestler in the 215 lb. division, Chris Nash of Roseville in the semi-finals, who had yet to lose a match during the season.

After an intense opening period which saw Nash accidently bite Line, he came out and pinned Nash 20 seconds into the second period, setting up his finals match against Nick Gajdzik of Rochester Hills Stoney Creek in the finals.

"My main goal was to win this and I knew I had to go out there and give 110 percent and just go at him (Nash)," Line said. "I couldn't leave any regrets on the mat."

Prescott Line (click for larger version)
Gajdzik gave Line all he could handle in the finals, but was unable to prevail and lost 3-2. Line set himself up to be the man to beat at 215 heading into next season.

"It's a great way to finish off the junior year," Line said. "I was glad I was able to win it with a couple of my buddies because I had them come up all the way with me and this feels really great."

As if winning three state titles wasn't enough, the Wildcats also placed five other wrestlers in states.

Sophomore Rocco Borg finished third in the states, defeating Eric Rybarz of New Baltimore Anchor Bay 2-0.

After a thrilling 11-9 overtime victory over Evan Guffey of Wyandotte Roseville in the semi-finals of the consolation tournament, Hill came up short in the third place match, losing 10-2 to Kaelen Richards of Rochester.

State championship hero senior Dylan Smith lost a 10-4 decision to Sterling Heights Stevenson's Eddie Schlickenmeyer in the fifth place match, while seniors Mike Thomas and Keegan Cantera finished seventh overall.

Keeney said this was a "dream season."

"I can't say enough about these kids, state titles and we place more than ever...these kids are amazing," Keeney said.

He added that all of the credit should go to everyone who helped build the program.

"Paul (McDevitt) did an excellent job making the program what it is. It stated when they were little with Doug Myer and some of those guys in the youth program. I just get to be the guy who was here when they finally did it."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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