Photo by: David Dalton
By Chuck Pleiness
Anchor Bay wrestling coach Jim Morisette predicted that this would be the closest Macomb County Wrestling Invitational that he has even been a part of.
And he was right.
The Tars edged Eisenhower by three points, 228.5 to 225.5, Saturday at Fitzgerald High School to win their second straight team title.
"We survived," Morisette said. "We lost the lead a couple times. We knew this was going to be a battle. I'm not saying this was the best county tournament ever, but it was the closest. There was a lot of good wrestling. This was the best atmosphere tournament I've been around for county meets."
Most county meets the team champ is already known heading into the finals, but that wasn't the case Saturday as both Anchor Bay and Eisenhower entered the final 14 matches both with 213.5 points.
And the Eagles were in the driver's seat with having one more wrestler in the finals.
The Tars had the first two finalists to step on the mat and they got a pair of wins.
Jack Medley was first at 119 pounds and beat Marysville's Kyle French. He was followed by a major decision, 13-5, by Nolan Romanoski over Marysville's Cody French.
The wins put Anchor Bay up 222.5-213.5.
"You have to have those bonus points," Morisette said. "We usually know who's going to win this before the finals even start."
Eisenhower only got two wins – Carlo Marceau at 135 and Owen Donovan at 145 – from two of its first three wrestlers and none with added bonus points to get within a point (222.5-221.5) of Anchor Bay.
That left a wrestler from each team to go.
The Tars were the first to go with Trevor Yank at 189. A pin would secure them their fifth title all-time and that's just want the senior provided, sticking Fraser's Chris Hackney at 3:33 of the second period.
"He did exactly what I thought he'd do," said Morisette, as the Tars congratulated Yank after the win. "He maybe didn't get the kind of respect he felt he deserved at the seeding meeting. It was tough. He was our catalyst the whole weekend."
Yank was a county defending champ at 189 and was seeded second. The Ramblers' Hackney was seeded first.
"I knew if I got a pin it'd seal the deal for us," Yank said. "They have a good heavyweight and now it doesn't matter if he pins.
"I didn't want to let the team down," Yank added. "I really didn't understand why I was seeded second being the defending county champ. It really didn't matter, I just had to go out there and wrestle."
The Eagles' Adrian Vuksani didn't pin at 285, winning 3-2 over Utica's Ethan Culberson.
Yank nearly had Hackney pinned in the first period with a spladle. He finally put him to his back for good with a power half in the second period.
"I just caught him a couple times," Yank said. "I think he got a little discouraged. I wasn't going to let him go the second time."
Yank stuck three of his four opponents over the weekend, two in the first period.
His closest match was in the quarterfinals, beating Warren Woods-Tower's Joel Radvansky, 1-0. He followed that with an 18-0 win over Romeo's Bryan Carie in the semis.
The Tars are a team title away from matching Richmond, Lincoln and Mount Clemens for the most in county tournament history.