Hartland wrestling upends Dakota in state quarterfinal
BATTLE CREEK — The Macomb Dakota wrestling team will have to wait another year for its first state title, as the Cougars fell to Hartland 40-27 in a 2014 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 state quarterfinal.
The match took place Feb. 21 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
The trip to the state finals was the second straight for Dakota's program. The team had not advanced past regionals in any season until capturing its first regional title in 2013.
Hartland took an early 6-0 lead after Josh Charneski recorded a pin in the first match of the 14-fight meet. The Eagles (39-2) recorded pins in four matches to score 24 points. Hartland also got a five-point major decision in the 125-pound bout.
Dakota (25-6) got down 36-6 before rallying, taking three straight matches late to pull within 15 points at 36-21. Dakota's Josh Burnham got a pin in the 171-pound match to cap off the rally. Burnham's pin was one of two notched by the Cougars. Antonio Balabani downed his opponent early in the 215-pound match — the last of the meet.
The season may be over for the Cougars as a team, but seven Dakota grapplers will compete in the 2014 MHSAA individual state finals, set for Feb. 27-March 1 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Those wrestlers are Zack Prater (119 pounds), Kyle Cendrowski (135), Alex Bozinovsky (152), Jake Johnson (160), Greg Brohl (189), Burnham and Balabani.
The Warren Lincoln and Warren Woods Tower wrestling teams hit the mat for their respective D-2 state quarterfinal matches at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in Battle Creek. Check www.candgnews.com later this evening for a report on the Abes and Titans.