Farmington Public Schools has seven wrestlers, including four district champions, advancing to the next round of the state individual tournament.
Harrison seniors Michael Volyanyuk and Dan Allor, Farmington junior Dan Manier and North Farmington sophomore Warren Stanfield won their respective weight classes Saturday.
Volyanyuk maintained his perfect record (38-0) and stayed on course to achieve his post-season objective by going undefeated in the 119-pound bracket.
After pinning his first two opponents in the Division 2 tournament at Warren Lincoln, Volyanyuk scored a technical fall over St. Clair Shores Lake Shore’s Josh Reiff in the final, 15-0.
“Mike was the No 1 seed, so he was projected to be the first-place guy,” Harrison coach Jon Herstein said. “He went out there and did what he was supposed to do. I thought he wrestled really well.
“The competition is going to get tougher at the regional. By winning the district, he set himself up well with a nice seed at the regional. That plays to his advantage.”
Another top contender Saturday in the regional tournament at Warren Fitzgerald will be Tecumseh sophomore Andrew Marten (47-1), who won the Carleton Airport district.
“There are a lot of good wrestlers in there, but that kid has an outstanding record just like Mike,” Herstein said, adding one of Volyanyuk’s goals is to be undefeated.
“I think he’s wrestling really well right now. He’s wrestling with a lot of desire. It’ll be an exciting weekend.”
Volyanyuk, who has a four-year record of 143-27, was a state runner-up two years ago at 103 and finished sixth last year at 112.
“I think he’s capable of (winning the regional),” Herstein said. “He’s seen really tough competition this year and been able to win. But you have to go out there and prove it. He has the potential; he just has to get it done.
“Obviously, he knows what it takes to get to the state finals. With the experience he’s had, I think he’s well prepared for this tournament. He’s very familiar with the process.”
Allor (36-3) won his first two district bouts by pin and technical fall, and he won a hard-earned, 3-1 decision over Lincoln’s Shawn Lindsey in the final.
“It was another terrific match,” Herstein said. “The other kid is a terrific wrestler, but Dan found a way to win (with a takedown late in the third period).”
As a district champ, Allor will be well positioned for a top-four finish in the regional and a return trip to the state meet March 5-7 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
“Dan just gets better with every practice,” Herstein said. “We’ve talked about peaking as the year goes on, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s improving every week, and you can see his confidence has really grown.
“Because of the competition Dan has seen and having been in tight matches, even though he lost a couple of those, that experience has helped prepare him to weather the storm of whatever is happening in a match.”
Allor has plenty of motivation to get back to the state meet. He lost close decisions in his first two bouts last year. If they had gone the other way, he might have placed and earned a medal.
“He knows what it takes to get there, and I think he knows what it takes to place,” Herstein said. “I think that experience was really good for him. It was an eye opener. ‘I can wrestle here; I do belong here.’
“All these kids are pretty darn good wrestlers to be regional qualifiers. You’re one of the top 32 in the state. That’s something to be proud of, but it also shows how tough the competition can be.”
Falcon, Raider stars
Manier (40-2) was the top seed in a weight class (103) with only seven wrestlers, so he had a bye through the first two rounds.
He won by technical fall over Lamphere’s Donny Glenn in the semis, 16-1, and pinned Lincoln’s Demarco Dixon in the final (3:03).
“In the matches he wrestled, he did well,” Farmington coach Al Beyar said. “He was in control the whole way in both matches.
“It’s a good spot to be in any time you go to the regional. If he wrestles as well as he should, I think he’ll do well and make it to the state.”
Top-seeded Stanfield (37-3) defeated Waterford Kettering’s Cory Conrad by major decision in the 119-pound final at the Division 1 district at Birmingham Groves, 12-1.
In earlier rounds, he pinned West Bloomfield’s Brendan Bauer in the second period (1:21) and earned a technical fall over Derek Lynch of Bloomfield Hills, 18-3.
On to the next round
The other three regional qualifiers are from Farmington High School – seniors Jesse Jones (130) and Chase Walkowiak (112) and sophomore Soloman Johnson (119).
Jones, who was the No. 2 seed and has compiled a record of 42-6, pinned his first two opponents and lost to Lamphere’s Austin Frederick in the semis, 4-0.
He came back in the consolation bracket to win his last two and finish third, defeating Fitzgerald’s Aaron McGinty by major decision, 13-3, and pinning Stevan Najeeb of Warren Woods-Tower in 1:56.
“He’s come so close to winning a tournament,” Beyar said, adding Jones was second in the Observerland and OAA Red Division tournaments. “Hopefully, he can do well next weekend.
“It’s going to be a tough weight at the regional. All the wrestlers in that weight class are good. He’ll have to have one of his best days to do well. He’s capable; he sure is.”
The second-seeded Walkowiak (27-11) was the runner-up at 112 pounds. He pinned Thurston’s Miquel Simmons and beat Lake Shore’s Trevor Tobias by a 6-4 decision before losing by pin to Hazel Park’s Kemonte Sims.
“Chase had a good day, too,” Beyar said. “He just made two mistakes against (Sims) that cost him a takedown, and he got put on his back twice. The first time he got out and the second time he didn’t.
“We’ll work on correcting that mistake. He could very well run into the same kid at the regional. He was on top of his matches except for those two errors in that one match.”
Best comeback effort
Johnson (15-13), who was seeded ninth, was the biggest surprise among the FPS contingent going to a regional meet.
After losing to Volyanyuk his second bout, he rebounded to win three straight in the wrestle-back rounds and finish in third place.
He did so in convincing style, too, as he beat Center Line’s Tyler Sark and Fitzgerald’s Alex Bailey by major decisions and nearly did the same against Joe Sammut of Lamphere in the consolation final, 9-3.
“He started the day under .500 and did a real nice job, coming back and taking third,” Beyar said. “If he put his game together, I knew he’d have a good day and, obviously, he did.
“Sometimes, you just need a little confidence, and I think this will help that a lot. I knew he could do it, but he was wrestling behind somebody most of the year. He’s coming on at the right time.”
North Farmington juniors Nate Penny (189) and Dilan Yaldo (215) were just one win away from the consolation finals and state-qualifying berths in the district at Groves.
Harrison freshman Divine Filemu (171) was two wins away and finished with a record of 24-15.
Farmington freshman Jake Justice (125) suffered a broken arm in the team district last week and was unable to wrestle Saturday, ending his season with a 23-11 slate.