Saline senior Dylan Powers and junior Danny Poupore advanced to the MHSAA Division 1 semifinals at The Palace of Auburn Hills Friday.
Both wrestle Friday night for the chance to advance to the state championship bout.
“Both wrestlers are going to be ready on their feet and ready to go,” said Saline wrestling coach Scott Marvin.
It was the first time advancing to the semifinals for both wrestlers.
Powers, the regional champion wrestling at 189, won a 5-1 decision over Nick Onwenu.
In the first period he scored a take down for two points. Onwenu escaped to make it 2-1. Powers scored another take down and led 4-1 after the first period. Powers started the second period on bottom and scored a point by escaping. He held on to win 5-1.
“I was just focused on neutral and finishing by shots,” Powers said.
Powers is making is second trip to the state championship tournament.
“It’s awesome. Last year, I was nervous but this year I’m more relaxed,” Powers said.
Powers now faces Brenden McRill, the Davision wrestler who won the state championship last year. Powers relishes the chance to wrestle for a chance to go to the state championship bout.
“It feels great. I’ve got a tough match ahead of me,” Powers said. “I’ve got to work on my tie ups so my next opponent will not get as many shots one me as he normally does.”
Powers, at 42-1, has a better record than McRill (39-2), but McRill is probably the favorite. Coach Marvin said Powers will be read.
“Dylan’s weight class is strong and he’s wrestled very well so far. Now he’s got the defending state champ from Davison in the semifinals, so it’s going to be tough. But Dylan is a tough kid and a smart wrestler,” Marvin said.
Poupore (45-3), advanced to the semifinals at 125 pounds when he defeated Isiah Berry with a 3-2 decision. It was the second straight tough decision for Poupore, who won 7-5 in the opening round. Coach Marvin said Poupore has been “wrestling tight.”
Neither wrestler could score a takedown in the first period. Poupore got on the scoreboard first in the second period when he started on bottom and escaped. A minute later he scored a takedown for a 3-0 lead. Poupore began the third period with a 3-0 lead. Berry escaped Poupore’s grasp with about a minute left to make it 3-1. Then Poupore was penalized a point for stalling, making it 3-2 with seconds to go. Poupore fought off Berry’s attacks in a tense final minute to win it.
“It’s tough you know. That minute feels like 10 on defense, but you can’t be too much on defense or you get hit for stalling, like I did,” Poupore said. “But I took it to him and advanced to the semifinals. It feels good. My goal is to be a state champ. Not top 6, state champ.”
It was the second straight tough decision for Poupore, who won 7-5 in the opening round. Coach Marvin said Poupore has been “wrestling tight.”
“Danny is a two-time all-state wrestler, but he lost in the quarterfinals both years. He was winning and got headlocked in his freshman year. Last year, it was a bit of a controversial call where we thought he should have one,” Marvin said. “So he was nervous and putting pressure on himself about getting through to the semifinals. He wrestle tight but he made it through. That’s a big burden of his back for him. Now, I hope he’s ready to open up and finish the weekend strong.”
The semifinals begin at 7 p.m.