MT. PLEASANT – Earlier in the week, Davison coach Roy Hall said Novi Detroit Catholic Central’s lineup looked great on paper.
The Shamrocks looked even better on the wrestling mat today at Central Michigan.
Catholic Central won its sixth Division 1 team state championship since the dual format was instituted 30 seasons ago, with a 35-22 margin over the Cardinals, who beat CC in last year’s semifinals. CC won three straight titles in 2012-14.
“I’m so absolutely proud of our group of kids and the coaching staff and our community, our students for showing up here, sharing the brotherhood,” said Shamrocks coach Mitch Hancock. “It’s a remarkable moment for our guys. A special, special moment.
“I’ve gotta tell you that hurt,” Hancock added about losing to Davison last year. “But we didn’t do our best and compete, and our guys this year used that as motivation and they did a remarkable job. It’s been a whole year of motivation.”
Davison (26-4) got off to a solid start when Brenden Mcrill earned a tech fall over Connor Curnutte at 189 pounds, before Jackson Ross put CC back ahead with a pin at 215 in 1:43. The Shamrocks then won four of the next six matches to build a lead.
“Jackson Ross did a fantastic job, (Benyamin) Kamali did his job (at 112),” Hancock said. “How about Derek Gilcher being down 4-1 and kept building back (to win, 9-8, at 119)? And Aidan Wagh sealed the deal there at 145 (with a 7-3 victory). The guys wrestled really, really tough all weekend. To beat a good Brighton team like that (in Friday’s quarterfinals) and a darn good-coached Hartland team, then a Roy Hall-coached team like that, I’m very proud of our guys.”
Wagh’s win gave CC (31-1) a 29-16 edge, though Davison still had a chance to win the championship. could still win mathematically, But three-point victories in the next two weight classes kept the Cardinals at bay and trailing by seven with one match remaining. CC senior and defending state champ Tyler Morland then erased all doubts by finishing off the contest with a pin in 30 seconds at 171 for the final score.
“I just wanted to finish out my career with the Shamrocks, ending it the right way,” Morland said. “My goal is to pin every time I go out there, but it was cool just to finish it the way we did. It was a lot of fun.”
Morland said going last is not hard on him even if it means waiting two hours in the rotation.
“I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, as a senior,” he said, “because if it came down to my match, I wouldn’t want it to be on anybody but myself.”
Hall said he was proud of the Davison effort, finishing state runner-up for the second straight year and fourth time in the last five seasons, after winning five straight state championships from 2002-06.
“That’s a great team we just wrestled,” Hall said of CC. “Our kids wrestled wonderful this morning (in the semifinals win over Macomb Dakota) to put us in this situation. They are very disappointed but I think one day they’ll realize they put themselves in that great opportunity. We were outgunned a little bit but I thought or kids fought hard.
“Heck yeah, they are tough to beat on paper (with 14 state qualifiers). They’re impossible on paper, and they look great as a team. And next year, our guys are going to be back.”