By: Daniel Stickradt
WRESTLING: End of the road: Oxford falls in Division 1 state quarterfinals
BY DAN STICKRADT
MT. PLEASANT — The flip can become a huge factor in the sport of wrestling, signaling which team must send out a competitor first.
It paid dividends for Hartland but hurt Oxford in the Division 1 state quarterfinals at Central Michigan University’s McGuirk Arena Match 3.
In the end, defending Division 1 state champion and fifth-ranked Hartland toppled No. 4-ranked Oxford, 43-27, in a highly-anticipated showdown.
The swing match featured two programs that have won state titles this decade
“I think the flip really helped them because we had to send out our guy and they could match up with us based on who we sent out,” admitted veteran Oxford coach Paul McDevitt. “The flip can really make a difference. I know we could have done things differently if we’d won the flip.”
Oxford led 6-5 after the first two matches (160 and 171). Hartland responded with a decision and pin over the next two weight classes for a 14-6 lead and the Eagles would never trail again.
Hartland (33-3), which was making its 16th straight quarterfinals appearance, captured wins in nine of the 14 weight classes to prevail against the Wildcats.
Oxford was making its ninth quarterfinals appearance in 10 seasons — missing only in 2013 — and 11th trip since 1999. It wasn’t meant to be for the Wildcats, who won a state title in 2011 and finished as the state runner-up in both 2009 and 2012.
“We had a great run, but the 4-5 matchups are always tough,” said McDevitt. “We’re excited to be here again, but we’e never satisfied with that result. I’m proud of the boys for the dedication and hard work to get here. We have a lot coming back next season.”
Devin Trevino (160), Byron Schlickenmeyer (285), Garrett Tyrrell (130), Sergio Borg (135) and Caleb Tabert (145) all had wins for Oxford (24-6).
The dual meet was the final match for McDevitt, who has served as head coach or an assistant dating back to 1994.
“I feel it’s the right time. I have (four kids) growing up in Oxford and they have their sports and activities. I feel that I am missing too much in (their lives),” said McDevitt. “I will still be involved in the backgrounds. I will still coach in the youth system, where my son competes. And we have some great assistants in our program. I don't see us dropping off any time soon. The program will be in very good hands.”