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Posted: 12/12/12

Cali gets first look at
team; is encouraged

Observer Sports Writer
      You never know what kind of wrestling team you will have until you hit the mats for that first time.
       This week, the Romeo High wrestlers went toe-to-toe with some of the state's best wrestlers and, despite some tough losses, Coach Jim Cali likes what he sees.
       "The first week of competition was tough, but it was also very encouraging,'' said Cali, whose team gives up a void (6-points) at 103-pounds in every dual meet. "We aren't real concerned about wins and losses right now, but, of course, we are keeping score. How we win or lose is much more important than if we win or lose. We have a great group of kids who aren't afraid to mix it up.''
       On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the mat-men traveled to Rochester Adams and lost to the host Highlanders 39-27 and then pounded Birmingham Groves 69-6 to go 1-1 on the night.
       Evan Richardson (135-pounds), Evyn Bryant (145), Alex Christofis (160), Larry Rekar (189) Ryan Naughton (215) and heavyweight Diego Rodriguez all went 2-0 for the Bulldogs.
       "It was great to get the season rolling again,'' said Cali about opening night. "Everyone was excited to compete and it showed. We lost a really hard-fought battle to a solid Rochester Adams team but we definitely liked what we saw though. The team wrestled with a lot of heart. We bounced back against Birmingham Groves to finish the night on a really high note. Even though the score was pretty lopsided, there were three or four matches we had to gut out. As coaches, those are the little things we look for like pulling out third period wins when the match can go either way.''
       On Saturday, Dec. 8, Romeo attended the Rocket Duals at Westland John Glenn.
       Catholic Central, the top team in the state rankings, took first place followed by Clarkston, Westland John Glenn, and Livonia Franklin.
       Romeo, which beat Bellville 42-22, lost to Catholic Central 68-0, beat Ypsilanti Lincoln 60-10, lost to Livonia Franklin 38-33 and beat Melvindale 49-30, finished in fifth place in the 11 team field.
       Richardson wrestling at 140-pounds improved to 6-1 overall on the year by going 4-1 on Saturday as did Will Jackson, Rekar, Naughton and Andre Martinez.
       Christofis, Seth Decent (152) and Bryant (145) went 3-2 on Saturday.
       "We have been going to the Rocket Duals for a number of years now,'' said Cali. "It's a great chance to wrestle quality competition that we wouldn't otherwise see. Beside the CC match, our losses were good dual meets that we had a great chance in. We also had some quality wins at the tournament on Saturday. We have had good practices and our leadership is getting better so I am really confident we will continue to improve as the season progresses.''
       Romeo (4-3) will host a home meet at 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 13, and a home tournament starting at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 15.

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