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February 19, 2014

Fraser falls in regional final to Dakota

Ramblers provide a feisty challenge to state-ranked Cougars

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Fraser falls in regional final to Dakota
Fraser’s Jalen King, right, and Grosse Pointe South’s Tyler Thompson grapple in the 112-pound bout.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Fraser coach Rick Julien knew everything would have to go perfectly for his Ramblers to defeat Macomb Dakota in a regional wrestling final Feb. 12.

Fraser fought hard to be within four points of Dakota with three weight classes left, but Dakota’s trio of state-ranked wrestlers in Alex Bozinovski, Jake Johnson and Josh Burnham each won by first-round pinfalls to give Dakota a 46-24 victory.

“Every boy on my team wrestled tough today. Dakota isn’t rated No. 6 in the state for nothing. That’s their horsepower; those are all quality kids and state placers,” Fraser coach Rick Julien said. “I’ve got nothing but respect for them and the job that they did this season.”

Fraser fell behind 9-0 after the opening two bouts. Heavyweight Jim Shock broke through for Fraser and scored a pinfall win with 36 seconds left in the second round.

Nate Hollifield followed that up with another second-round pinfall win for Fraser to give the Ramblers a 12-9 lead.

After Dakota won consecutive matches to take a 19-12 lead, Nick Hollifield and Danny Pfeffer each got victories to bring Fraser to within one.

Dakota would again distance itself from Fraser at 28-18, but Matt Keys got Fraser’s last win with a third-round pinfall to make the dual 28-24.

“We knew when they got to those three horses, we were in trouble, but we fought hard, and I’m very proud of them. They’re hurting, but it’s not from a lack of effort,” Julien said.

The Ramblers defeated Grosse Pointe South 70-10 in a regional semifinal.

Fraser finished its season with a 24-4 record that included a 7-0 record in MAC Gold competition. Fraser also won its first district title since 2001.

“I’m very happy with our season. In a little way, I could say we overachieved in the beginning of the year, but I don’t believe that anymore. I just think that we belonged here,” Julien said.

“We had a nice showing. We scored 24 points on the No. 6 team in the state and won a few matches, but there was a few borderline matches that we got caught in. But all in all, we got to do a little more work.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.