By Dan Robelen / WLD
For the Dreadnaught wrestlers, the next stop on the road to Ford Field was Saline High School on Saturday. Sixteen wrestlers to a weight class walked into the gym at Saline. Only four from each group would leave destined for Detroit and the state championships.
The formula was simple: win two matches before you lose too matches, and you’re going to state. If you lose two first, though, you’re going home.
Every wrestler there had to earn it by going through districts, so there would be no cakewalks. This was all the more true because Dexter now wrestles in Division I, against the biggest and strongest schools in the state (and some among the best in the country).
Before the tournament even started, illness did to Jasper Howell what no wrestler in the district could do; he was unable to wrestle. Dexter sent four other wrestlers, though, all first to third seeds.
Like team Regionals on Wednesday night, the first round of the tournament on Saturday did not go well for Dexter. Caught on an attempt at a roll, Mark Young took a quick loss on a pin as time expired in the first period. Dylan Lorincz was up next. He lost an upset in a tight match to a strong, conservative wrestler. Noah Drummond and Jacob Joyce also lost.
Mark Young took care of business with a solid 5-0 win in the second round. In a second shocking upset, Dylan Lorincz lost and was eliminated despite a stellar season. Fighting through back pain, Noah Drummond also lost. Jacob Joyce got a bye due to his opponent dropping out from injury in a previous match.
In the blood round, the one in which every wrestler has a 1-1 record and you have to win or go home, Mark Young faced his nemesis from Saline, third-ranked Zach Sabin, who beat him in the seminfinal at districts. After a scoreless first period, Sabin got an escape in the second, but when he took a bad shot, Young capitalized on it, getting a takedown, then turning him to his back for a pin.
Jacob Joyce put his opponent on his back and was within moments of pinning him when time expired in the first period. He went on to lose on points.
Young wrestled for third, which would reward him with a number three seed rather than a fourth seed, going into Detroit. Leading by one in the third period, he gave up a reversal with seconds to go and lost. However, his two earlier victories assured him of a spot in the state tournament. Young will once again represent Dexter at Ford Field on March 6-7.
Though the season seemed to end earlier than it should have for a number of Dreadnaught wrestlers, the achievements of the group this year are worthy of note in Dexter’s long and storied wrestling history. It is by almost any measure the strongest team Dexter has put on a mat in probably at least a decade. And with Young going to state, the story isn’t quite over yet.
MAIN PHOTO: Mark Young looks for back points and a pin. Photo by Dan Robelen