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Line, Willits do Oxford proud at wrestling finals

Oxford's Prescott Line won the state championship in his weight class. He went 49-0 this season. (click for larger version)
March 07, 2012 - It was another highly successful individual state tournament for Oxford wrestlers as six Wildcats captured individual state medals.

Headlining the group was senior Prescott Line, who staked his claim as one of the dominant wrestlers in Oxford Wildcat history when he won his second straight 215 lb. individual state championship on Saturday, March 3 in front of thousands at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Line defeated Dimitrus Renfroe of Wayne Memorial High School 5-1 to secure his championship and cap off an undefeated 49-0 senior season.

"It showed a lot of poise," varsity wrestling coach Brandon Rank said. "It's hard for any of us to walk in his shoes, what kind of pressure that brings with it; everybody aiming at the target on his back."

"I think he showed incredible poise all season, just going out and every match handling his business and getting on with it," Rank continued. "He had a couple kids at the state tournament who really pushed him, but when push came to shove, he shoved a little harder."

Line had to prove himself during his championship run.

He matched up with Livingston High School's Jake Range in the opening round Thursday afternoon. Line quickly disposed of Range, getting an 18-3 technical fall.

Line followed up his technical fall victory with a major decision over Waterford Kettering's Matt Okaiye on Friday morning, setting up a semifinal bout with Bryan Smith of Temperance Bedford Friday afternoon.

Smith gave Line a battle through all three rounds, but Line prevailed 7-6 to reach the finals.

The individual success didn't stop with Line. In the 130 lb. division, sophomore Mike Willits battled all the way to the state finals before losing to Novi Detroit Catholic Central's Ken Bade 6-1.

Oxford also placed four other wrestlers - junior Rocco Borg was fifth in the 140 lb. division, senior Kyle Hill finished sixth in the 125 lb. division, senior Noah Cantara was eighth in the 135 lb. division and junior Marty Giannola was eighth in the 160 lb. division.

Rank said he was thrilled with his group's effort.

"It was real nice," Rank said. "We saw some kids that went out and really wrestled to the highest level of their potential, and that is very nice to see. We lost a couple heartbreakers, but overall, our kids are going to move on and keep working to get better."

Rank said one of the hardest parts of the individual state tournament was seeing his seniors wrestle for the last time.

"We are graduating some real good kids and we won't get to have them with us everyday," he said. "But we know they will go onto great things."

Overall, 11 wrestlers competed in the three day tournament. Seven wrestlers who competed were underclassmen.

"We are going to return with three all-staters and seven state qualifiers," Rank said. "I think when our kids saw how close we came to a team title this year, I think that really showed them that...we spend all 365 days of the year really getting ready for next season, that we can come in and win another state title."

"It's one of those things once you have been on top, it is hard to settle for anything else," Rank continued. "I think the kids...right now have that same exact feeling. So moving forward, I think our job is to improve ourselves all summer long to improve our team in the long run."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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