(Photo by George Spiteri)
By Chuck Klonke
@MIPrepZoneMD on Twitter
This is the time of year when wrestling teams — especially the good ones — are bruised, battered and tired.
Anchor Bay fits that description. The Tars won five matches by two points or fewer Thursday and defeated Romeo 43-15 in the first Macomb Area Conference Red Division meet for each team.
"It's a good win. Romeo's always tough. Kudos to their guys for keeping the matches close. We did a good job staying out of their cradle and we're conditioned pretty good, but we've got to get a lot better," Tars coach Jim Morisette said. "We have to get a little fixed up, too.
"We just went through a heck of a meat grinder with the Catholic Central tournament, then Lake Fenton, the No. 2 team in the state (in Division 3) on a late Wednesday night and then Bay City Western. We wrestled really well but on Saturday we were on the mat for 10 hours and 24 minutes in five matches. We have some guys with colds. We just have to get healed up and go to Walled Lake Northern and take care of business like I know we will."
Anchor Bay led 15-12 after the first six weight classes. The Tars' Trevor Yank started a string of four straight wins with his 50-second pin of Bryan Carie at 189 pounds. Freshman Al Biland capped the streak with a 13-0 major decision at 103.
"A lot of kids wrestled pretty well. We had some kids out so it was a good team win," Morisette said.
Morisette especially liked Biland's performance.
"He wrestled with a lot of energy and looked really good," he said. "His nickname is the Spider Monkey and he's all over his guys."
Romeo coach Jim Cali thought his young team wrestled well but it wasn't quite good enough against the Tars, who are ranked ninth in the state in Division 1.
"You have to give Anchor Bay credit. They won the close ones," Cali said. "That's why they're the county champs. They have mental toughness and they're well-coached. We wrestled decent. Not great, but decent. We would have to wrestle super-duper to beat those guys.
"We had one senior in the lineup today. It's encouraging because a lot of our young guys were the ones who lost by one or two points. They were a little over-matched experience-wise but they wrestled tough."
Cali was especially pleased with sophomore Hunter Garrisi at 130 pounds. He lost 2-1 to Nolan Romanoski on a stalling call.
Morisette knows that the win against Romeo is only the beginning of what promises to be a close race in the MAC Red.
"This MAC Red is something else," Morisette said. "Yesterday Dakota beat Warren Woods-Tower by one point and those guys are looming.
"Every day is a grind. You drop down for one second and you're in trouble. It's like falling off a big horse and trying to climb back on it. We just have to stay sharp."
Romeo is making a comeback after a few down years.
"We lost middle school wrestling, but we got it back a few years ago and we're starting to get our numbers back again, especially our freshman," Cali said. "We're filling all our weight classes. The numbers in seventh and eighth grade are looking good. We're really excited."