Clare’s Ayris, Emery, Herkel perform well at State meet

March 8, 2013

The Clare Varsity wrestling team had three individual state qualifiers head down to the Palace of Auburn Hills on February 28, 2013 for the MHSAA individual wrestling tournament.  Beginning their journey back on February 9, entering the district tournament with fourteen other wrestlers, only the top four would continue their season. Dominik Herkel (145), Logan Emery (160), and Brandon Ayris (171) all found a way to make it out in the top 4, and then to double the feat by matching up with the top 4 from the Kingsley district, and once again eliminating half of the wrestlers who could qualify for state. Nonetheless, their hard work paid off and without even stepping on the mat, these 3 individuals were in the top 16 wrestlers in the state in Division 3.

Senior Dominik Herkel entered the state tournament and found himself matched up with Devin Skatzka of Richmond, who was the returning state champion, and who would also go on to be the state champion of the 2013 individual finals as well. Herkel’s first match resulted in a loss but he turned around on Friday morning and beat Dakota Hoffman of Whitehall to advance to the next round. Herkel then found himself matched up with Johnny Johnson of Ostego, where after a nail-biting match took place, Herkel fell short by 1 point in a 6-5 loss to end his season as one of the top 12 wrestlers in the state in the 145 pound weight class.

Junior Logan Emery made his second trip to the Palace this year, after qualifying as a sophomore, he started the tournament off with a bang when he quickly shot in and took a high single leg to a cradle finish, but slipped as he was going to the mat, and his opponent Billy Abbott of Vassar caught him and pinned him. Emery turned around the next day and pinned Jermaine Cox of Buchanan to advance to the blood round where he met up with the senior from Durand, Zane Perrin. Emery fought hard the entire 6 minutes but fell short with a 5-2 loss to Perrin to end his season as one of the top 12 wrestlers in the State of Michigan.

Junior Brandon Ayris started off his season a little later than most. After suffering a broken collarbone in the second round of football playoffs, Ayris was not able to return to the wrestling mat until the week before the conference tournament. With one week to catch up his conditioning, and prepare himself for the post-season, Ayris worked extremely hard to make what was left of his season memorable. Ayris entered the district tournament and wrestled himself into a second place finish before he turned around and captured another second place finish at the regional tournament.

With a record of 11-7, the hard work Ayris put in paid off and he found himself a state qualifier for the second year in a row. Ayris started off the tournament with a loss to Hunter Dunn of Monroe Jefferson in a tight match, 11-7. Ayris then rebounded the next day beating Aaron Martin of Comstock Park, 10-5, to advance to the blood round. Ayris then wrestled an unbelievable match against Austin Peltier of Richmond, coming out on top 4-2 to make him a top 8 state finalist.

The last day of wrestling for Ayris was a tough one, starting off the morning with a 10-7 loss to Cory Livingston of Ostego. Ayris then wrestled Hunter Dunn of Monroe Jefferson for the 7th place position and was pinned in the second period to give Ayris the 8th place medal. It was truly remarkable that Brandon came into the post season only having wrestled 1 match, and turned around and captured himself a top 8 position in the state. Finishing the season at 13-10 is pretty remarkable when the individual who took 7th place, finished the season with a 46-9 record.

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