By Danna Castillo
Of the eight Hartland wrestlers that qualified, three of them made it through to the medal rounds. That doesn't mean the five that didn't are any less impressive. Making it to the Palace is no easy feat. Just getting there means you are of the elite.
The MHSAA State Finals is the Top 16 wrestlers in the entire state in each weight class. And if getting to the top 16 wasn't hard enough...you then have to qualify in the top eight to place.
Lose one round and you are headed to the consolation rounds to fight your way back. In wrestling "speak" they call it the Blood Rounds.
- 285 Pounds-- Junior Josh Charneski who is ranked Honorable Mention by the Michigan Grappler lost his first match to Honorable Mention ranked Senior Lamonte Baker of Macomb L'anse Cruese North and then a loss to #9 ranked John Glenn Senior Dylan Morantes. Baker moves on to wrestle for a 7/8th place on Saturday. Charneski finishes his Junior year with a 29-23 season.
- 112 Pounds-- Freshman Sage Castillo, who is also ranked Honorable Mention by Michigan Grappler lost his first match to Rochester's #4 ranked Senior Justin Kim, who is vying for a 3rd/4th place position Saturday. Castillo's next round was an over time loss to Southgate Anderson Senior Jared Fernandez. Castillo ends his Freshman Season 43-13.
- 119 Pounds--#7 Ranked Junior Nate Hughes lost his first round to DCC's #3 ranked Trevor Zedebski. Zedebski is in place for a 3rd/4th place finish on Saturday. Hughes lost his second round to Oxford's Honorable Mention ranked Dan Curtis. Nate Hughes finishes his Junior season with an impressive 47-8.
- 130 Pounds--Hartland finds themselves sitting pretty on Saturday's finals with #1 ranked Junior Austin Eicher and #2 ranked Sophomore Jacob Gorial. Both Eicher and Gorial defeated each of their opponents in dynamic fashion and for the first time in Hartland history will see an ALL-HARTLAND final at 130 pounds.
Eicher defeated Sterling Heights Stevenson's Tabu Gantt - Honorable Mention by Tech fall 18-3, Ypsilanti Lincoln Junior Jordan Markey by :45 pin, and finally Eicher defeated DCC's #4 ranked Myles Amine 4-2 for his spot in the MHSAA Final Championship match. Eicher's is currently 50-1 on the season.
Gorial blanked Troy Athens Honorable mention Junior Thomas Keyes 4-0, Dearboen Heights Crestwood Senior Sejad Al-Hussain with a pin in 3:30 and rival Kevin Nguyen a Port Huron Northern Senior 3-0 for his spot in the All-Hartland final. Gorial is currently 55-3 on the season.
- 160 Pounds-- Junior and Honorable Mention ranked Nate Smith lost his first round to Grand Haven's #5 ranked Dakota Juarez and his second round to Plymouth Salem Senior #10 ranked Tyler Gross. Juarez will be wrestling for 3/4 place on Saturday. Smith ends his Junior season 35-19.
- 171 Pounds--Hartland Senior and #3 ranked Mitchel Thomas is having a heck of a weekend. He pinned Honorable Mention-Tyler Patrone of Roseville in 1:14, #10 ranked Wayne Memorial Senior Sam Ekannem in 2:16 and defeated #4 ranked Derek Hillman 11-4 to earn his way to the Championship finals vs DCC's #1 ranked Drew Garcia. Thomas's only loss this season is to Garcia. Thomas is currently 57-1 on the season.
- 189 Pounds--Hartland Senior and Honorable Mention ranked Ryan Hill lost his first match to DCC's Nick Giese. He came back big in round two to pin Roseville's Honorable Mention ranked Lamar Harris in 2:15. Hill then lost a heartbreaker and hard fought battle in round 3 when Wyoming Senior and #7 ranked Jack Rozema scored a takedown with 3 seconds to go in the last period. Both Rozema and Giese are wrestling for 3/4th place at the Palace Saturday. Ryan Hill finishes his senior Year 42-13.
Senior Mitchel Thomas, Junior Austin Eicher and Sophomore Jacob Gorial will wrestle at the Palace of Auburn Hills today in the MHSAA Finals beginning at 4:45pm.