Wrestlers from the South Lyon Matcats club competed in the girls War of the Roses state finals last weekend at Eastern Michigan University.
“I’m so proud that the Matcats have such a large and competitive girls team, one of the largest in the state, if not the country,” coach Steve Richardson said. “Girls wrestling has come a long way in a short time. Not every girl wants to be a cheerleader and there are few individual sports for them to compete in. Wrestling gives girls that don’t fit in to other sports or groups another opportunity. And this group, and sport, welcomes them all.
“The best part of this sport for girls is that there is no judging, bullying or intimidation from their peers. They all want the same things, to make friends and compete. And compete we did.”
Bella Cepak and Sabrina Nauss each earned a state title. Ashley Hardesty earned third place, while Tyler Swanigan, Grace Gallop and Rayna Richardson were all fourth. Brooklyn Hayes took fifth.
Other Matcats wrestler went to tournaments around the state in Flint, Vassar, Plainwell and Detroit.
Winning a title in the Open Division were Benny Leece, Simeon Mardossian, Wyatt Lees, Jack Toth, Trent Vella and Travis Richardson.
Runners-up were Isabella Cepak, Ethan Price, Brandon Oliver and Hunter Oliver. Taking third were Beck Yurkounas, Rayna Richardson, Mark Evalgalista, Devon Soman, Thaddeus Swanigan, Nathan Deboer and Brody Weaver.
Earning fourth were Tyler Swanigan, Andrew Nowacki, Mathew Cepak, Daniel Russel and Andrew Garcia.
In the Novice Division, titles were claimed by Nathan Radley, Julien Kimling, Russell Hollister, Ben Radley, Liam Seaver and Leighton Moll.
Gannon Limonte, Aiden Garcia and Jace Garcia were runners-up, while Evan Rohde and Hunter Parvu finished third. Jaxton Jimling was fourth.
NEMWA state finals
The South Lyon Matcats placed nine out of 16 wrestlers at the NEMWA state finals Feb. 27-28.
“While we had many standouts, I’d like to acknowledge this is the first time any of these kids places at the NEMWA state finals,” Richardson said. “In fact, Benny Leece, who wrestled up a weight class, lost an early match and had to battle his way back, including defeating last year’s state champion at that weight. Ryan Henderson also defeated a state champion on his journey.”
Winning a state title were Jack Toth, Ryan Henderson and Sabrina Nauss. Easton Hardesty was runner-up.
Benny Leece and Antonio Nauss were third, while Ryan Chanko, Dominic Nauss and Scott Cann were fourth.
Some of the Matcats traveled to Kansas City to take part in the Liberty Nationals.
“This was an individual meet, along with the National Dual Finals, that included the top 12 teams in the country,” Richardson said. “Our MatCats Travis Richardson, Brian Markiewicz, Aiden Meyers, Simeon Mardossian, Julien Kimling and Wyatt Lees all contributed to Team Michigan Select winning the national championship.
“This is the first time that Michigan Select has won the national title and the founder of Team Select personally thanked the MatCats for helping train, condition and host the national team. Along with the dual meet championship, some MatCats took honors in the individual national tournament.”
Wyatt Lees left as a Second Year Division national champion, while Julien Kimling was Second Year Division runner-up.
Simeon Mardossian finished third place All-America in the Open Division.
Travis Richardson was awarded the Liberty National All Tournament Most Valuable Wrestler trophy over all 1,200 wrestlers in attendance, voted on by Liberty Crown National board.
Both Brian Markiewicz and Aiden Meyers wrestled extremely well in their first national level tournament, narrowly missing All-America status.
Some Matcats went to Leslie and Flint for other tournaments.
Finishing first were Daniel Russel, Beck Yurkunas, Ben Machesky and Aidan Garcia.
Runners-up were Carter Yurkunas, Andrew Pado, Ethan Price, Jace Garcia and Nathan Walkowiak.
Russell Hollister and George Liangis were third, while Andrew Goodrich was fourth.