NOVI, Mich. -- When four teams among the top fourteen of the InterMat Fab 50 assemble in one place, one is going to see a high level of competition. On Saturday, when that happened at Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.) High School, that was absolutely the case. In addition, the DCC Super Duals had its share of drama and lived up to the event name.
It all started in the 10 a.m. round with No. 7 Montini Catholic, Ill., competing against No. 12 St. Johns, Mich. The Broncos carry the reputation of being the nation's most "balanced" team, while the closer to home Redwings have the perception of being a "tournament team". Adding to the perplexing nature of this match, St. Johns did not have Ben Whitford -- the nation's top 145-pound wrestler -- due to an injury.
With the dual meet starting at 285 pounds, Montini Catholic was able to attack a weaker area of the St. Johns lineup and take a 15-3 lead. However, the Redwings would answer back with three consecutive wins to obtain the lead at 16-15. Victories in that stretch came from No. 5 Zac Hall at 125 pounds, who beat two-time state placer Jordan Laster 9-4; No. 6 Jacob Schmitt at 130, who pinned freshman Jose Champagne; and No. 7 Logan Massa at 135, who scored a 9-0 major decision against two-time state placer Chris Garcia. The teams alternated results in the 140 to 160 stretch, so it was 23-21 St. Johns headed to 171 pounds.
St. Johns' Angus Arthur won the battle of state placers by fall in the second period against Michael Maduko at 171 pounds, and then No. 11 Payne Hayden scored a 3-1 victory against state placer Jake Turk to clinch the dual meet. Montini's Anthony Ferraro did win the last match, but St. Johns came out with a 32-24 dual meet victory.
Also in the opening round, No. 2 St. Edward, Ohio only won nine of the weight classes against Davison, Mich. However, those wins included three pins, two technical falls, and a forfeit; which enabled the Eagles to earn the dominant 43-15 victory.
In the second round of wrestling that started a little after 12:00 noon, Montini Catholic came back with a vengeance against the host school, No. 14 Detroit Catholic Central. With the dual meet starting at 103 pounds, the Broncos came out storming to a 19-0 lead against the weakest part of the Shamrocks lineup. It was pins from Jimmy and Tommy Pawleski, followed up by a Vince Turk major decision and Jordan Laster 6-4 victory to do the damage.
Detroit Catholic Central hit the board with an 8-5 tiebreaker victory from sophomore Myles Amine, who beat Champagne at 130, and senior Ken Bade who earned a pin at 135. However, any realistic hopes of the Shamrocks bouncing back from their early deficit ended with Chris Garcia's 2-0 overtime victory for over Malik Amine in a battle of state runners-up. Three additional consecutive wins for Montini -- a pair of decisions from Sepke and Fortuna before a Montalvo technical fall -- made it 33-8 after 160 pounds.
An additional issue for Detroit Catholic Central was the absence of 2011 state champion Logan Marcicki in this dual meet at 160 pounds, as he was hurt in their opening dual meet. The Shamrocks did get on the board again with a major decision from No. 18 Andrew Garcia against state placer Maduko at 171. Jake Turk scored the Broncos last points with a 7-3 decision, before Jay Peterson's 3-2 decision and Robert Coe's pin in the last two weights against Ferraro and Ruano would limit the Broncos barrage. Final score was Montini 36-21, as the Broncos took nine of fourteen matches.
Also in this session was another high drama dual meet involving No. 2 St. Edward, Ohio and No. 12 St. Johns, Mich. Starting at 103 pounds, it marked an area of the lineup where both teams are relatively weak. After Ian Parker scored a 12-3 major decision for St. Johns at 103 pounds, St. Edward was able to get a pair of key falls from L.J. Bentley and Sal Corrao, which meant they led 12-4 heading into the meat of the Redwings lineup. And St. Johns did respond with a 27-14 major decision from No. 5 Zac Hall and a fall from No. 6 Schmitt in the next two weights to lead 14-12 heading into the day's premier bout.
No. 3 (at 132) Dean Heil would take to the mat against No. 7 (at 138) Logan Massa at 135 pounds. Heil, for St. Edward, would open the match with a takedown, while Massa escaped and answered with one of his own before the first period ended. In the second period, Heil would score a reversal and then Massa escaped to tie the match at 4-4 headed into the third period. Massa chose down in the third period. After a minute-plus of solid riding, Massa was able to stand up and almost escape, but did draw a stall warning against Heil. In the next sequence, Heil got in a cross-body ride and turked Massa for the fall at the 5:55 mark.
With an 18-14 lead, that was the dual meet's turning point, as the Eagles got a pair of successive wins; No. 17 Colin Heffernan got a 4-0 decision at 140, and No. 3 Edgar Bright capitalized on Whitford's absence for a 22-10 major decision over Wixson. St. Johns did cut into that deficit with a Josh Pennell pin against Eagles' reserve D.J. Williamson. However, Markus Scheidel -- ranked No. 9 at 152 nationally - scored a 15-6 major decision against state champion Brant Schafer to give the Eagles a 29-20 lead through 160.
Angus Arthur did respond with a St. Johns fall; however, No. 2 (at 182) Domenic Abounader provided a decisive answer for St. Edward with a 6-3 decision victory over future Michigan teammate Payne Hayden -- who is ranked No. 11 nationally at 195 -- in the 189 weight class. A pair of decisions from Gabe Dzuro (215) and Ralph Nichols (285) would formulate the dual meet's final score of 38-26 in favor of St. Edward.
Also in this session, No. 17 Brandon Thompson of Solon, Ohio dominated Mitch Rogaliner from Bedford, Mich. 8-2 in a battle of two-time state champions at 119 pounds.
In the third session, which started just before 2:30 p.m., it was No. 7 Montini Catholic doing battle against No. 2 St. Edward. Things did not start good for the Broncos, as L.J. Bentley of St. Edward scored the 3-2 upset victory over state champion Tommy Pawleski at 112 pounds on the strength of a first period takedown. In expected fashion, Montini answered back with major decisions from Vince Turk and Jordan Laster at 119 and 125 to take an 8-3 lead.
Another disappointment for Montini came at 130 as St. Edward senior Hunter Ladnier -- normally a reserve wrestler -- dominated the first two periods in mustering a 9-2 victory over Jose Champagne, who is ranked nationally in the Class of 2016. The momentum from that result, along with the nature of the matchups, catalyzed the Eagles to four more victories as part of a five match winning streak that saw St. Edward leading 19-8 through 152 pounds.
However, key was that only a 19-6 major decision victory from No. 3 Bright against Sullivan, who is also normally a reserve wrestler, at 145 pounds came with bonus points. Keep in mind, this is a stretch where St. Edward put nationally ranked wrestlers on the mat in every match; No. 3 Heil beat two-time state placer Garcia 5-1, No. 17 Heffernan beat state placer Sepke 5-2, and No. 9 Scheidel beat state qualifier Fortuna 9-6.
Sophomore Xavier Montalvo stopped the bleeding for Montini Catholic when he rode out senior Robbie Rogers in the ultimate tiebreaker after a 6-6 match. Maduko further dented the St. Edward lead, as the Bronco state placer earned a 5-2 victory over junior Ray Barr with a third period escape and takedown. However, No. 2 Abounader made sure the Eagles lead would stand (for the moment) with a 5-1 decision over Jake Turk at 189 pounds.
The Eagles led 22-14 headed into the 215 pound match, where Montini's Edgar Ruano used two third period takedowns to defeat Gabe Dzuro 8-6. Additionally, somewhere in the upper-weight portion of the dual meet, the Broncos were deducted one team point for bench misconduct. This became critical when Anthony Ferraro was able to score a takedown right at the horn to beat Ralph Nichols 4-3, and it cut the St. Edward lead to 22-19 before the last match. Jimmy Pawleski did get the 4-2 victory with a late takedown to tie the match at 22-22. However, on criteria, St. Edward wins the dual meet.
In the other big dual meet of the third session, No. 7 St. Johns was able to survive past Davison despite splitting the matches, as they won 35-28 with all the victories having bonus points attached; three pins, three major decisions, and three technical falls. Key to Davison winning seven matches was an overtime victory from Trevor Thomas at 215 pounds and Max Johnson scoring a four-point move at the end of the match to upset Ian Parker 8-7 at 103 pounds.
Lastly, a very big individual match came as No. 15 Cole Weaver from Hudson, Mich. upset No. 13 Ken Bade from host Detroit Catholic Central in a rather one-sided 9-3 victory. Weaver scored a takedown in each period, and had near falls in the third period to win the battle of two-time state champions.
The fourth round, which was the final round for national implications, saw No. 2 St. Edward wrestling host Detroit Catholic Central, who is ranked No. 14 nationally. With the dual meet starting at 119 pounds, right in the relative weak spot of the Eagles lineup, the host Shamrocks were able to jump out to a 9-0 advantage with decisions from Trevor Zdebski (119), Evan Toth (125), and Myles Amine (130).
However, getting right into the meat of the St. Edward lineup, it started with No. 3 (at 132) Dean Heil dominating No. 13 (at 126) Ken Bade by 11-3 major decision at 132 pounds. Four additional Eagles wins meant five consecutive in all, and a 19-9 lead after 160 pounds. Those other victories were a decision from No. 17 Heffernan, a major decision from No. 3 Bright, a technical fall from No. 9 Scheidel, and a 6-2 decision from senior Rogers.
The hosts did stop the bleeding, as No. 18 Garcia earned a 23-8 technical fall against Barr at 171 pounds. However, hopes of a rally were ended immediately by consecutive Eagles' victories, a 13-2 major decision from No. 2 Abounader at 189 and an 8-1 decision from Dzuro at 215. Robert Coe got the last win for the Shamrocks in a 5-1 win at 285 pounds over Ralph Nichols, which reversed a Medina Invitational Tournament semifinal result.
Mason Daugherty responded with a technical fall, and L.J. Bentley added a major decision to close out the 35-17 victory for No. 2 St. Edward.
The other major dual meet of the session had Montini Catholic taking nine of fourteen matches in a 40-22 victory over Davison.
In the fifth and final round, Detroit Catholic Central bounced back with a 41-24 victory over Dundee, Mich. The host Shamrocks, ranked first in Michigan's Division 1, took nine matches from the first ranked squad in Division 3.