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Times unveils 2018-19 All-Area wrestling team


Three Imlay City All-Staters headline squad


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Imlay City's Wesley Hampton squares off against an Algonac foe during a match this season. He took fourth in the 135-pound weight class at the Division 3 state finals. photo by Kevin Kissane.

April 03, 2019
TRI-CITY AREA — From start to finish, these grapplers set the standard for excellence with their performances on the mat.

Here is a look at who made the 2018-19 edition of The Tri-City Times All-Area wrestling first team lineup and the numbers they generated along the way.

Dallas Stanton, Almont, 103 pounds.

Stanton posted a 36-13 mark, a 73.5 percent success rate, with 15 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

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The freshman collected a first at the Sandusky Tournament, a second at a Division 3 district hosted by Montrose High School; plus furnished a third at the Yale Tournament.

"He is a joy to be around," Almont Coach Mat Dwyer said. "Dallas is always wanting to get better," he noted.

"It will be great having him back for three more years."

Max Frangedakis, Capac, 103 pounds.

Frangedakis managed a 38-12 mark, a success rate of 76 percent, while gathering 15 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

The sophomore earned the distinction of weight class champion at the GTC Tournament; provided seconds at the Caro Tournament and Sandusky Tournament; plus notched a third at a Division 4 district hosted by Sandusky High School.

"He stepped up this year and worked very hard," Capac Coach Jake Nemecek said. "Max was often the lightest wrestler at the tournament but he didn't let that stop him," he noted.

"We are looking for big things from him in the next two years.

This was his second year on Capac's squad.

Dakota Sandzik, Imlay City, 112 pounds.

Sandzik forged a 42-13 record, good enough for a success clip of 76.4 percent, while accumulating 26 pins this winter.

The sophomore notched thirds at the Caro Tournament, Tri-City Times Spartan Invitational in Imlay City, Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School and Division 3 districts in Montrose.

"He moved up a weight class and pushed through an injury at the beginning of the season," Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said. "No matter the circumstances he was able to compete at the highest level and contribute to the team." he noted.

This was his second year on Imlay City's squad.

Gavin Dempz, Almont, 119 pounds.

Dempz fashioned a 41-7 mark, an 85.4 percent success rate, with 23 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

The junior claimed a first at the Sandusky Tournament; provided a second at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School; and obtained a third at the Yale Tournament.

"He is a great wrestler that was on a mission this year," Almont Coach Mat Dwyer said. "Unfortunately at districts he had a bad draw and wound up with losses coming to the eventual state champion and runnerup," he noted.

"I look forward to see how far he will go his senior season."

This was his third year on Almont's squad.

Mason Phillips, Imlay City, 119 pounds.

Phillips managed a 29-15 record, good enough for a success clip of 65.9 percent, while furnishing 20 pins this winter.

The sophomore obtained a third at the Caro Tournament plus provided a fourth at The Tri-City Times Spartan Invitational in Imlay City.

"Mason showed the most improvement from last season," Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said. "Other teams also had to account for him in the lineup," he noted.

This was his second year on Imlay City's squad.

Cristian Rojas, Imlay City.

Rojas wound up with a 33-7 mark, an 82.5 percent success rate, with 17 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

The freshman contributed thirds at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School as well as a Division 3 district in Montrose.

"He came on this year and competed with some of the best in the state," Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said. "Cristian is a hard working young man and it shows on the mat," he noted.

Wesley Hampton, Imlay City, 135 pounds.

Hampton generated a 51-5 record, good enough for a success clip of 91.1 percent, while contributing 28 pins this winter.

The senior furnished firsts at the Caro Tournament, Tri-City Times Spartan Invitational in Imlay City, a Division 3 district hosted by Montrose High School and at a Richmond High School-based Division 3 regional; provided a second at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School; plus added a fourth at the Division 3 state finals hosted by Detroit's Ford Field (earning All-State accolades as a result).

Hampton wraps up his career with over 150 career wins and 100 career pins.

"He is willing to do the extra," Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said. "Wesley is a leader on and off the mat," he noted.

"He has etched his legacy as one of the best Spartan wrestlers to ever come through."

This was his fourth year on Imlay City's squad.

Mathew Dwyer, Almont, 135/140 pounds.

Dwyer notched a 39-11 mark, a 78.0 percent success rate, with 20 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

The freshman obtained a first at the Sandusky Tournament and Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School; furnished a third at a Montrose High School-based Division 3 district; plus contributed fourths at the Yale Tournament and at a Division 3 regional hosted by Richmond High School.

"He is a competitor," Almont Coach Mat Dwyer said. "It's going to be exciting to see how far he can make his mark on the sport in the future."

Hunter Thorner, Capac, 140 pounds.

Thorner provided a 32-13 record, good enough for a success clip of 71.1 percent, with 26 pins this winter.

The sophomore supplied a first at the Sandusky Tournament plus collected a third at the GTC Tournament as well as a Sandusky High School-based Division 4 district.

"He is two-time regional qualifier and someone we can always count on to go out and give it his all," Capac Coach Jake Nemecek said. "Hunter is one of the hardest workers in the room and that has shown on the mat," he noted.

"We are excited to see where his hard work will take him in the years to come."

This was his second year on Capac's squad.

Landon Kruse, Almont, 145 pounds.

Kruse finished with a 34-12 mark, an 85.5 percent success rate, with 18 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

"Landon is an exciting kid to watch," Almont Coach Mat Dwyer said of the sophomore competitor. "It doesn't matter how big or who he is coming up against he brings it every single time," he noted.

This was his second year on Almont's squad.

Ricky Guerrero, Imlay City, 152 pounds.

Guerrero put together a 16-10 record, good enough for a success clip of 51.5 percent, while accumulating 10 pins this winter.

The sophomore registered a sixth-place showing at the Tri-City Times Spartan Invitational. Imlay City High School is where the action unfolded.

"He leads by example and is a great young man." Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said of the sophomore grappler. "Ricky came up huge for us in several duals," he noted.

"He is a team player and we would not be as good without Ricky in the lineup."

This was his second year on Imlay City's squad.

Hunter Mullins, Imlay City, 160 pounds.

Mullins posted a 39-8 mark, an 83.0 percent success rate, with 20 pins during the 2018-19 campaign.

The senior won his weight class at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School; provided seconds at The Tri-City Times Spartan Invitational in Imlay City, a Division 3 district hosted by Montrose High School and a Richmond High School-based Division 3 regional; plus pulled up fourth (securing All-State honors) during the Division 3 state finals at Detroit's Ford Field.

"He will be missed deeply," Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said. "Hunter is one of the hardest workers in the room," he noted.

"With his work ethic and attitude towards life there is no doubt he will do great things in the future."

This was his fourth year on Imlay City's squad.

Robbie Battani, Almont, 189 pounds.

Battani forged a 42-8 record, good enough for a success clip of 84 percent, while gathering 33 pins this winter.

The senior took first at the Yale Tournament; registered a third at a Montrose-based Division 3 district; plus supplied a fourth at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School.

"He had a great season and career," Almont Coach Mat Dwyer said. "Robbie joined the 100-win club this season," he noted.

"Unfortunately, Robbie had an injury after districts and couldn't compete at regionals. He was a state-qualifier and we were looking forward to seeing how far he would go this year. It has been an honor and a privilege to have coached this young man the last three years."

This was fourth year on Almont's squad.

Bryce Tank, Capac, 215 pounds.

Tank supplied a 32-19 mark, a 62.7 percent success rate, with 19 pins during the 2018-19 campaign

The sophomore took third at the GTC Tournament and at a Sandusky High School-based Division 4 district; provided a fourth at the GTC Tournament; plus added a sixth at the Caro Tournament.

"He took a lot of lumps in the room and we forced him to get out of his comfort zone both at practice and in matches," Capac Coach Jake Nemecek said. "Bryce has one of the best attitudes on the team and got a lot of big wins for us this year," he noted.

This was his second year on Capac's squad.

Joe Harper, Imlay City, 285 pounds.

Harper wound up with a 43-6 record, good enough for a success clip of 87.8 percent while accumulating 30 pins this winter.

The junior garnered a first at The Tri-City Times Spartan Invitational in Imlay City; pulled up second at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Cros-Lex High School; took thirds at a Montrose High School-based Division 3 district and a Richmond High School-based Division 3 regional; plus furnished a seventh (good enough to lock up All-State accolades) during the Division 3 state finals contested at Detroit's Ford Field.

"After a devastating knee injury last season he has persevered to prove himself as one of the best wrestlers in the state," Imlay City Coach Tony D'Ambrosio said. "Looking forward there is no doubt Joe will be one of the top contributors on our team," he noted.

This was his third year on Imlay City's squad.

Second team- Nathan Schocke, Capac, 103/119 pounds; Aiden Finn, Almont, 119/125 pounds; Austin Torres, Imlay City, 130 pounds; Lane Jackson, Almont, 152 pounds; Mason Smith, Almont, 160 pounds; and Issa Abu-Joudeh, Almont, 215 pounds.

Coach of the Year-

For directing Almont to a 20-12 overall mark, Mat Dwyer earns Tri-City Times All-Area Coach of the Year accolades.

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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