BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston Varsity Wrestling qualified seven as they hosted regionals for the MHSAA Wrestling Individual Finals at Ford Field, March 2-3.
“It was one of the better days I have been involved with in wrestling in general,” said Joe Wood, head coach. “We took eight and got seven through. It speaks volumes to how big hosting an event like this is in your own gym. Our kids felt comfortable. More than anything our kids outworked people. They were ready for it. Our kids worked hard and they prepared. Our coaching staff did a good job of getting those kids prepared. We have a great team so that really helps.”
Jake Billette finished as regional champion in the 140-pound weight class, going undefeated for the day. He opened with a fall over Lapeer’s Kyle Fenner before defeating Bay City Western’s Alexzander Simmons, 10-4. He posted a 6-4 win over Lake Orion’s Noah Smith, who is ranked fifth in the state, in the final round.
Mac Hanselman (125) and Cole Wiegers (119) went 2-1 for the day to take second place.
Hanselman posted wins over Grand Blanc’s Jackson Turnbow, technical fall, 21-6; and Traverse City West’s Damien Ballen, fall at 3:20. Wiegers defeated Lapeer’s Gavin Monschau, fall at 5:15; and Midland’s Mateo Diaz, 15-10.
“Wiegers won a semifinal match against seventh in the state,” said Wood. “Just wore him out. He beat him by wearing him out.”
Houston Hemingsen (140) finished in third place going 3-1 for the day. He defeated Traverse City West’s Elias Sanchez, 14-0; Lapeer’s Fenner, 6-0; and Bay City Western’s Simmons, technical fall 20-3.
Ethan Polick (135), Jacob Jones (215), and Rocco Spindler (285) went 2-2 for the day, finishing in fourth place.
Polick posted wins over Swartz Creek’s Joe Carpenter, fall at 5:34; and Oxford’s Joe Vackaro, 9-6.
Jones finished in fourth place going 2-2 for the day. He defeated Traverse City West’s Zac Masiewicz, fall at 3:35; and Romeo’s Gavin Miller, 5-1.
“Jones pinned Masiecwicz who was 42-2 coming into the weekend,” Wood added.
Spindler posted wins over Alpena’s Noah Cannon, 1-0; and Flushing’s Conner Melancon, 5-1.
Anthony Welch (130) did not place and finished the season at the meet going 1-2. He lost to Lapeer’s Hunter Hohman. He moved on with a win over Oxford’s Daltan Myers, 8-3. He lost to Bay City Western’s Austin Hale, 8-1.
“We were pretty dang happy with how they wrestled,” Wood added.
The Wolves also hosted the team regional meet and lost to Oxford, 36-24.
“Considering the first time we wrestled them we lost 45-12, it was a vast improvement,” Wood said. “Our team has gotten a lot better throughout the year and it showed.”
He added the atmosphere with all the excited, energetic fans was amazing.
“The gym was pretty full and it was pretty cool to have that many people out to watch a wrestling match,” he said. “It was loud. It went from zero to 100 in a second. It was pretty great. It was great to have the community support.”
Polick started the scoring for the Wolves with a 5-4 win over Vackaro who had beaten him earlier in the season. Hemingsen was next with a pin on Jack Wandrie, 1:16.
Billette (145) not only pinned Ryan Miller, who is ranked fourth in the state, but posted his 100th win at home.
Cameron Pass (215) lost to Austin Schlicht but Wood added he did a nice job.
“He came out for us half way through the year. He was in anticipation of that dual,” Wood said. “He saved a bunch of bonus points for us. It was a big deal for us. He may have lost, but he did what he was supposed to do for the team. He has been great. He has a positive attitude. He is a good motivator for the guys. We are glad to have him. Then, to follow it up with Rocco’s huge pin.”
Spindler held control during his match against Jason Green. He scored two points in the third period and with 27.5 seconds remaining won with a pin. The win put the Wolves five points within Oxford’s 26-21 lead.
“It wasn’t mathematically over until two matches to go,” Wood said. “We were right there.”
Wigers posted the last win for the Wolves with a 6-4 defeat over Liam Hillary.