By Dan Robelen / WLD
The road to Ford Field and the state wrestling individual championships began at Lincoln High in Ypsilanti on Saturday. The Dreadnaught wrestlers competed in District 6-1 against wrestlers from a strong field of other Division I schools, including Detroit Catholic Central, the returning state champions and winners of seven of the last 10 state championships.
Only the top four wrestlers from each weight class at Districts advance to Regionals to compete for a spot at the state finals.
Dexter’s Mark Young faced the most daunting weight class, with the number one, number three, number nine, and number 15 ranked wrestlers in the state in his bracket. (Young came in ranked number four.) Only four of the five of could make it out to Regionals.
Young started strong, pinning his first opponent in the first period. However, he ran into Zach Sabin of Saline (the third-ranked wrestler in the state) in the semifinal and lost a tough, back and forth match. Ahead with less than 50 seconds to go, Young got taken down to his back and lost on points. However, he pinned his next opponent to punch his ticket to Regionals and wrestle for third at district.
Dylan Lorincz, once again Dexter’s sole number one seed, blew through his first opponent with a pin in the first period. He also quickly defeated his second opponent, working his way smoothly into the final.
Jasper Howell and Noah Drummond each took care of business with quick pins in the first round of their first matches. Drummond would fall in the next round, but Jasper rolled on with another swift pin. Howell used careful wrestling to work his way past a tough opponent to put himself in the final.
Jacob Joyce put himself into the final with a last-second score in a heart-stopping quadruple overtime scramble-fest. In the final he met the top-ranked 140 pound wrestler in the state, Josh Edmond, and lost.
Noah Drummond practically put on a clinic in his blood-round match, making him the fifth Dexter wrestler to qualify for Regionals. All of the team captains qualified, and this makes 2020 the first time in about a decade that Dexter has sent more than four wrestlers to Regionals.
Wrestling for third on Dexter’s own mat, Young hit a knee tap to bring his opponent down and pinned him in the second round.
Lorincz once again justified his top seeding with a solid win in the final, making him District champion.
Drummond wrestled for third and looked sharp in another victory. Howell’s opponent injury defaulted for the final, leaving Jasper to stand atop the medal stand as well.
Reflecting on being a team captain in a historic year for Dexter wrestling, Howell said, “I think as a freshman, the seniors set a good example for what the freshmen needed to do when they became seniors. I had a good example, and now I’m here doing it. And I’m proud of the kids who put in work, like Noah and Joyce, who aren’t seniors, but are here too.”
One of those seniors during Howell’s freshman year was Ryan Clements, now an assistant coach for Dexter. He appeared to revel in the victories of this team as much as he did those of himself and his teammates (the last Dexter team to send four wrestlers to Regionals). “I put in a lot of work this year coaching them,” Clements said. “They put in a lot of work. They all stepped up and came a long way. I’m proud of them.”
The final tally left Dexter with two champions, one runner up, and two third-place winners, the best showing Dexter has had at Districts in recent memory, one more achievement in an exceptional season that isn’t quite over yet.
“It feels good, it feels real good,” Coach Matt Chisolm said. “They’re the ones that earned it.”
Dexter moves on to face Canton at Saline in the first round of team Regionals on Wednesday. Individual Regionals are Saturday at Saline.
All photos by Dan Robelen