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Rochester Wrestlers Dominate Individual Regionals; 12 Going to State

The Falcons dominate Saturday's regional with five individual championships; Stoney Creek’s Nick Gajdzik wins regional title; Adams qualifies three for state tournament.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP – The L’Anse Creuse individual wrestling regional wasn’t lacking in top competition.

“There’s not a bad wrestler here; this is a really tough site,” Rochester High School coach Frank Lafferty said. “It might be one of the toughest (sites) in the state.”

It makes what his team accomplished all the more impressive.

All six Falcons wrestlers made it to the regional finals in their respective weight classes. Rochester was only a takedown away from bringing home six regional championships. 

Kaelan Richards (135), Dean Vettesse (140), Aaron Morgan (145), Justin Kim (103) and Shwan Shadaia (189) all won regional titles.

In overtime, Falcons senior Cody DeVoe lost in the championship match to Utica Eisenhower’s Charlie Myers in a 3-2 decision. The 171-pound finals bout was probably the closest match of the night.

“Great day, great day, better than we expected,” Lafferty said.  “Best we’ve ever done.”

Rochester probably would’ve had a seventh qualifier had junior Josh Wood, a two-time state finalist, not injured his finger during practice during the week.

“He broke his finger real bad,” Lafferty. “It’s the end of his finger. It might not sound real bad, but the bone came out and he’s done. He had surgery on Monday.”

There was a scary moment for the Falcons at regionals. Shadaia nearly choked himself out in the 189-pound finals match trying to escape a side headlock.

In the third round, Utica Ford’s David Skochelak had the move locked in. Shadaia had no choice, but to try and turn over while in the hold. As he moved the pressure increased and all of a sudden he was tapping out.

“He actually choked himself out getting out,” Lafferty said. “Most kids can’t take it, it was getting tighter and tighter, it was all legal, but he had it worse trying to escape. In order to get out he had to do it.”

Skochelak earned three points for the tap-out. It gave him a 10-7 lead with a minute to go. Shadaia didn’t waste anytime trying to make up for the mistake. He grabbed Skochelak’s leg and whipped him to the mat with 20 seconds on the clock to even the score 10-10.

In overtime, Shadaia scored another takedown to win. 12-10. 

“He just refused to lose,” Lafferty said.

Two undefeated wrestlers in the regional had the same kind of attitude.

Oxford senior Prescott Line and Stoney Creek senior Nick Gajdzik came into the regional with identical 39-0 records and they both left with their winning streaks intact.

Line (42-0) won the 215-pound bracket and Gajdzik won the heavyweight division (285).

“I was very excited for the regional finals,” Gajdzik said. “I focused on the work I needed to do and accomplished my goal.”

The fact he’s gone over 40 matches without a loss isn’t all that important to Gajdzik.

“I try not to think about my season, or what I did before, or what I’m going to do in the future,” Gajdzik said. “I focus on one match at a time, that’s the only thing that matters.”

Last year in the state finals, Line and Gajdzik wrestled for the championship in 215-pound bracket.

Gajdzik moved up a weight class this year and they avoided each other in the regionals. Gajdzik’s teammate Serge Andreou wasn’t so lucky. Line pinned Andreou (1:47) in the regional finals.

Since the top four wrestlers in each weight class earn a spot in the state finals, Andreou’s second place finish will give him a spot in the state finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

As a team, Stoney Creek qualified all three wrestlers it brought to regionals. Freshman Andrew Price finished in second place in the 145-pound weight class.

Adams High School is sending three wrestlers to the state finals. Justin Schofield (103), Alex Potoniec (125) and Jack Addy (145) all reached the finals of the consolation bracket where they lost.

Wrestling Regionals Coverage

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