Rockets' Mars earns individual state wrestling title

Rockets' Mars earns individual state wrestling title


Rockets' Mars earns individual state wrestling title


Like his last name suggests, Westland John Glenn freshman wrestler Mike Mars’ poise is out of this world.

As it turns out, so are his mat skills.

“I have never seen anyone with Mikey’s level of composure,” said John Glenn head coach Bill Polk. “He is just so confident of his abilities, and he should be. All week leading up to the finals he we was very focused. It just seemed like he was up to the challenge.”

On Saturday afternoon, under the bright lights and intense pressure of the MHSAA Division 1 individual wrestling championships at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mars defeated Roseville’s Elijuh Weaver, 8-4, to capture the 103-pound championship.

Mars, who finished the season 55-2, redeemed his only two losses of the season during the three-day finals. In addition to Weaver, who nipped the Rocket freshman 6-5 in a season-opening tournament in December, Mars gained redemption against Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Rayvon Foley with a dominating 15-6 victory in Friday’s semifinal match.

Foley had upended Mars in a D1 regional final on Feb. 28.

Mars is the first freshman in the history of the John Glenn wrestling program to win an individual championship, Polk said.

Polk said Mars had more than a hunch that he’d be walking out of the Palace Saturday night with a first-place medal.

“During training last week, he said to me, ‘Coach, I really think I’m going to win this thing’,” Polk shared. “He wasn’t being arrogant or cocky. He said he felt like he was supposed to win it.”

Mars opened the tournament with an 8-0 triumph over Oxford’s Ryan Miller. He then took care of Walled Lake Central’s Nick Freeman, 9-2, to advance to the semis.

The son of a former high school wrestler, Mars has been competing at a high level since he was in elementary school.

“The Palace was a big stage for him, but he’s a former youth state champion and national champion, so he’s been on big stages before,” said Polk.

Once the final seconds evaporated off the scoreboard during his final match against Weaver, Mars reacted with a level of emotion Polk had yet to see from his ninth-grade phenom.

“He ran over to us coaches and hugged us, and he teared up a little,” Polk said. “It was really a great moment.”


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