by Angie Asam–Staff Writer
The quest for all-state honors and the ultimate, an individual state title began for 896 wrestlers across the state of Michigan. Sixteen wrestlers in 14 weight classes across four divisions will compete to be the top eight in the state. Of the 224 young men competing in Division 4, six call Presque Isle County home.
Rogers City will be represented at the finals by seniors Justin Saile and Quintin Kelly, junior Tristan Baller and sophomore Sam Sobeck. Senior Zeke Nave and junior Troy Klein will represent Onaway. All six qualified for the finals after finishing in the top four at districts and regionals. The finals are held at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Wrestling began today (Thursday) at 2 p.m. with the opening round. Wrestling follows the grand march showcasing all state qualifiers.
Friday the consolation round will begin the day at 8:30 a.m. for those who didn’t win in the first round. The championship quarterfinals will start at approximately 10:30 a.m. followed by the consolation second-round.
Championship semifinals will be held Friday at 7 p.m. Saturday the third round of the consolation bracket, for wrestlers with only one loss will begin at 8:30 a.m. followed by the consolation semifinals and finals.
A second grand march for the state placers in each weight class in each division will be held at 4:30 Saturday with the state championship matches to follow at 4:45 p.m.
Saile enters the tournament as a regional champion and will be competing in his second consecutive state finals. The senior will compete at 145 pounds and has a record of 37-7 and is ranked ninth by Michigan Grappler. He will face sophomore Wyatt Dickson of Cass City (44-14) who is ranked number 12.
Sobeck also enters as the 103-pound regional champion. He is making his first appearance on the Palace floor. He enters the tournament with a record of 40-4 and is ranked sixth. He will take on New Lothrop freshman Logan Zell (29-23) who is ranked number 12.
Nave will make his fourth appearance at the state finals, this time as a regional champion at 125 pounds. Nave is 30-4 this year and is ranked seventh. His first-round match will be against Sandusky junior Stanly Solley (31-20) who is ranked number 15.
Kelly will compete at 189 pounds and enters his first state tournament with a record of 39-10. He is ranked 11th and will face number one ranked Nick Cooper, a junior from Springport with a record of 37-1.
Baller will compete at 125 pounds and enters with a record of 32-10. He is ranked number 16 and will face number two ranked sophomore Robert Rogers of Burton-Bentley who enters with a 39-0 record.
Klein, at 152 pounds, is also making his first appearance at the finals. He enters with a 14-14 record and is ranked 16th. He will face number one ranked Steven Garza of New Lothrop with a record of 53-1 in the first round.