One challenge succeeds another this time of season for high school wrestlers, and such is the case for six Plymouth Wildcats.
After finishing in the top-4 in their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Division 1 individual district, that sextet now gears up for the next step — this weekend’s D1 individual regional at Saline.
Saturday’s regional (which begins at 9 a.m.) is all that stands between Isiah Berry, Dylan Dwyer, Brandon Harris, Michael Jordan, Sterling Schiftar and Hussein Youssef and a trip to the state finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Just like districts, the top four wrestlers per weight class will move on.
“We’re in a tough part of the state for wrestling,” Plymouth head coach Quinn Guernsey said. “… I think all the guys have a shot. There’s not any weight that is so stacked that I don’t think we have a chance to get out.
“We’re just going to have wrestle well again, they’re all going to have to wrestle to their abilities or maybe a little bit above. But they all have a chance to qualify for states.”
Highlights for the Wildcats at the Westland John Glenn-hosted district were championships at 119 by senior Brandon Harris and 135 by junior Dylan Dwyer.
“Dylan looked good like he always does,” Guernsey said. “I think he only spent two-and-a-half minutes all day on the mat. That was pretty impressive. Really, all the guys wrestled tough.”
Harris earned a 10-9 decision over Dearborn’s Hassan Makled while Dwyer pinned Novi-Detroit Catholic Central’s Aidan Wagh in 47 seconds.
Placing second at 189 was senior Youssef, who lost via fall in 2:19 to CC’s Nick Giese. Youssef earlier prevailed in a hard-fought semifinal against Salem’s Mitchell Gross (who still qualified for regionals).
Junior Jordan came in third at heavyweight, having decisioned Livonia Churchill’s Jake Merciaca by an 8-3 count.
Also taking third was freshman Berry, who knocked off Livonia Franklin’s Antonio Herrera 2-1.
“Isiah had to wrestle a kid from Franklin twice, who he’d already wrestled twice this year and had lost the last (time),” Guernsey said. “We were a little concerned about that one going in, we knew it was going to be a good match. … He looked really good all day.”
Plymouth’s sixth regional qualifier was Schiftar, finishing fourth at 140.
With only two seniors among this year’s group of qualifiers, Guernsey said this week should be a worthwhile learning experience for the four underclassmen.
“This is a great week for them,” he noted. “When you’re training for regionals, the focus in the room gets to change a little bit, it becomes a lot more about making them individually better, not having to worry so much about the team.
“So it’s a great experience for the guys, because they get to get a lot better in a short amount of time.”