WRESTLING: Rochester advances to first Final Four; CC, Hartland, Davison also advance |
Falcons to face No. 1 Catholic Central in semifinals; No. 2 Davison, No. 3 Hartland also advance
BY DAN STICKRADT
BATTLE CREEK — Josh wood has been through many trials during the past 12 months.
A year ago, he suffered a season-ending injury two days before the Individual Wrestling Regionals and had to miss the final two weeks of the season. Now as a senior, Wood again missed two thirds of the season with an injury and has even had to fight through who a virus during the past month after his return.
Wood’s return to the Falcons’ lineup is one of the many reasons why Rochester is still alive in the Division 1 postseason and has aided Rochester’s run to its first Final Four.
The seventh-ranked, who Falcons gained the No. 5 seed for the state tournament in Battle Creek, upended state powerhouse Temperance Bedford, the No. 4 seed, by a 37-24 count Friday afternoon at Kellogg Arena to advance to Saturday’s state semifinals against defending state champion and top-seeded Novi Detroit Catholic Central.
The top-ranked Shamrocks pounded Grandville 62-7 in another state quarterfinals match, while Hartland doused Macomb Dakota (42-14) and Davison throttled Holt (50-12) on the other mats. Hartland and Davison will face off in the other state semifinals match at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
“It feels great to be out there again, with everything that’s happened,” admitted Wood, who is 11-0 this season. “We dreamed about coming here as freshman. Myself, Kaelen Richards and some of the other seniors have helped build this program up to be able to get here and now we’re going to face Catholic Central (in the semifinals). This was our goal all season.”
Rochester (24-11) was decimated with injuries during the regular season and has lost to 11 ranked teams this season. The Falcons finally got their full starting lineup back just before the state tournament — and it is paying off.
Since the inception of the team dual state tournament in 1988, Rochester had never advanced past the regional finals and made its first trip west to Battle Creek this weekend. The Falcons have now made a date for the tournament’s final day.
“We are glad to be here, but I don’t think the guys will be fully happy just to wrestle in the Final Four,” admitted Rochester coach Frank Lafferty. “We’re going to enjoy this tonight and come back and wrestle Catholic Central. We hope to