WRESTLING: Catholic Central inches closer, reaches state semifinals for fifth straight season; Hartland back in semis

   | Dan Stickradt

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BATTLE CREEK — There seems to be a common thread when it comes to Division 1 Team Wrestling in Michigan and Novi Detroit Catholic Central is part of that fabric pattern.

The powerful Shamrocks, who are the two-time defending state champions and winners of 12 state championships and two state runner-up trophies dating back to the late 1960s, took the next step Friday afternoon at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena in its title quest.

Third-ranked Catholic Central cruised past Plymouth, 57-19, to set up a 9:30 a.m. date Saturday with Hartland in the state semifinals. It marks CC’s fifth straight trip to the Final Four and Hartland’s 10th in 11 seasons.

“I honestly don’t know how many times we’ve been here since they started the (team state tournament),” admitted Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock. “Our goal is to get here every year and try to win a state championship and represent Catholic Central the best way we can.”

This marked the ninth time in 14 years that CC has reached at least the state quarterfinals. The Shamrocks lost in the Elite Eight in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009 before reaching the state finals each year from 2010-13.

CC won state titles in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and lost in the finals to Oxford in 2011.

Ninth-ranked Oxford and top-ranked Davison match up in the other state semifinal Saturday morning, setting up four state powerhouse teams on the Final four stage.

“I think there’s a lot of factors why these teams are here a lot, and why it’s a lot of the same teams in each division,” offered Hancock. “I think it has to do with quality coaching at all levels, commitment in the off-season and hard work. That is something that we always preach at Catholic Central.”

Against Plymouth, the Shamrocks showed no mercy on the Wildcats, who were making their first-ever appearance in Battle Creek in the 12-year history of the school.

Nick Jenkins (285), Evan Toth (125), Nick Bennett (152), Drew Garcia (171), Nick Geise (189) and Jimmy Russell (215) all recorded pins on the day for Catholic Central, which amounted for 36 points. Davis rastigue (103, major decision), Trevor Zdebski (119, decision), Eli Joseph (135, major decision), Myles Amine (140, decision), Malik Amine (145, decision) and Tyler Morland (160, major decision) also won matches for the Shamrocks.

Plymouth’s sole victories came at