BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Jacob Billette, Mackenzie Hanselman and Devin Trevino finished their senior winter season as All-State placers during the MHSAA Wrestling Division 1 Individual State Finals at Ford Field, March 1-2.
“I was happy we had those three place,” said Clarkston Varsity Wrestling Head Coach Joe Wood. “They are good kids. We had seven qualify. It was sad to some of our kids careers end and them not get on the podium.”
Trevino finished in second place in the160-pound weight class as he posted wins over Belleville’s Blake Williams, win by a disqualification after Williams bit Trevino; Rockford’s Noah Anderson, 7-3; and Hartland’s Tanner Culver, 8-2.
“Devin wrestled a heck of a tournament,” Wood said, adding Anderson and Culver finished All-State in previous years. “He lost in the finals, but he wrestled Davison’s Alex Facundo really well.”
Hanselman (130) finished in fourth place with wins over Traverse City West’s Damien Ballan, 1-0; Howell’s Joe Barton, 3-2; Romeo’s Dominic Todaro, 7-5; Rockford’s Trenton Wachter, 2-1.He lost to Hartland’s Kyle Kantola, with a fall; and Detroit Catholic Central’s Camden Trupp, 9-6.
“Mac had one heck of a tournament. He beat a kid who beat him many times before Then, beat a kid from Rockford who only had two losses,” Wood said.
Billette (145) finished in fifth place with wins over Holt’s Ryan Granger, 7-6; Davison’s Landon Kish, 10-1; Rockford’s Jack Richardson, 9-7; and Detroit Catholic Central’s Kevon Davenport, with a fall at 3:21. He lost to Birmingham Groves’ Damon Dunbar, with a fall; Hudsonville’s Jack Samuels, 12-2.
“All three of those guys had great tournaments,” Wood said. “It’s more than just those three. All those kids who were there this weekend wrestled their butts off. I am proud of everyone of those kids who wears the Clarkston symbol. They have wrestled as hard as they can for us, some for their whole careers.”
Senior Cole Wiegers (125) and senior Conor Donahue (135) went 1-2 for the tournament. Wiegers defeated Temperance Bedford’s Cade Sutterfield, 5-2. Donahue defeated Dearborn Edsel Ford’s Joseph Marano, 7-1.
Senior Ethan Polick (140) defeated Lincoln Park’s Christian Neff, 7-4; and lost to Utica Ford’s Zach Wells, 6-4.
“Ethan had a great first round,” Wood added. “He beat a kid who ended up placing.”
Sophomore Grady Castle (135) lost his first two matches.
The Wolves had great season overall as they won the Oakland County tournament, OAA Red league title, district title, regional title and were in the top eight going into the MHSAA Wrestling Division 1 Team Quarterfinals where they lost to Detroit Catholic Central.
“It was a goal our team had after losing last year in the regionals was try to come out and just make it to the top eight in the state,” Wood said. “It is a pretty big distinction in itself. We were really excited just to be a part of it. Are we satisfied? No. We want to do better. The experience was one these kids will remember for a long time and those seniors got the job done. It’s the first time Clarkston has been there in 12 years so that’s the mark they leave on the program. We are really proud of this season and just everything that goes along with it and all the achievements these kids have earned. A lot of people like to use the word deserve, our kids earned this. They worked their butts off all summer, all year. They really did earn their season and it was a pretty good one. They came in good. They came in talented. They had to work to find it. they didn’t come in best of the state. They came in as decent wrestlers who had to work hard to get better and that’s what they did.”
He added being at the state finals helps motivate the athletes who are returning next year.
“They have a lot of goals,” he said. “The kids who are coming back want to do it again, but they want to win that first round. They have some work to do and getting there is going to be difficult. We have some good teams around here. Oxford has a tough program and they are well-coached. Our kids will have to work hard this summer. They want to win.”
Wood received accolades as Regional Coach of the Year for his second season as head coach for the Wolves. He noted it’s nice but it’s more about the team for him.
“It’s about the impact we have on kids’ lives. If I am doing that, that’s way more important than any coach of the year or anything like that,” he said.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE