No. 4 CC-Crystal to battle No. 5 Hesperia at Kellogg Arena


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:36 am on Friday, February 21, 2014

The Carson City-Crystal Eagles during the national anthem prior to last year’s team state quarterfinal match at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. The Eagles return for a second consecutive year with a regional final win over St. Louis.

CARSON CITY — Reaching Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) team wrestling finals means you have had an outstanding season.

Doing it for a second consecutive season means a consistent wrestling program is being built and season expectations continue to rise, as is the case for the Carson City-Crystal Eagles.

Now in his fourth year as head coach, Kacy Datema continues to build a program he once wrestled for (two-time individual state champion). After winning conference (CMAC), district and regional titles, again, the Eagles continue to meet this season’s expectations.

“I think this is certainly good for our program,” Datema said. “It’s always nice to go the second year because, after a year in, you don’t get those nerves or shock from being at the tournament. It helps to go down there and wrestle and not be star struck.”

A year ago in Division 4, the Eagles were a No. 6 seed and faced No. 3 seed New Lothrop. Carson City-Crystal wrestled hard, but lost 45-18. New Lothrop lost to No. 2 Hesperia in the semifinals, who lost to No. 1 Hudson in the finals. Hudson has won five straight teams state titles and has defeated Hesperia in three of those five finals.

This year Hesperia in a No. 5 seed and first round opponent of the No. 4 seeded Eagles.

The Eagles return virtually the same team from a year ago. The most notable difference is the loss to graduation of two-time individual state champion Kenneth Dittenber.

Carson City-Crystal (25-2) will face a familiar opponent in today’s quarterfinal match. The Eagles defeated Hesperia (26-3) in early January at their own invitational 37-35.

Datema expects another close match between the two programs.

“It was a tight dual. It’s going to be a tight dual,” Datema said. “They had a couple kids out of their lineup when we wrestled them the first time. We have a couple of kids banged up right now. I think we will be OK.

“We are going to have to pull off some matches to make it tight, exciting and fun to watch,” he added.

The win over the Panthers has given the Eagles additional confidence.

“I think they are aware they certainly have an opportunity to reach the semifinals,” Datema said. “From there, crazy things happen at the tournament and we could make something happen. We will take it one match at a time.”

The Eagles are coming off a close, exciting regional finals win over St. Louis. Down to the final few matches, the Eagles took the lead and held on for a 39-38 win.

Datema said the crowd helped his team win.

“It was certainly nice winning regionals. We wrestled well for the most part,” he said. “Our little guys did a great job for us. I think the crowd support we had was like having an extra weight class behind us.”

The crowd support should be outstanding as well today.

Datema is expecting a battle through the middle weight classes.

“They are pretty strong through the middle,” Datema said. “We are strong in the middle and with our little guys. We will have to make some things happen up top (weight classes).”

Win or lose today, the Eagles have had a tremendous two-year run. For Datema, his goal when he took over the program was to win. Well, the Eagles are winning and now they are working on building a program that competes in Battle Creek every year.

“We’ve had a good season, a real solid season,” Datema said. “We’ve had some adversity and we seemed to handle it OK. Having a banged-up lineup and overcoming that is big. I think we have done that.”

The two teams meet today at 1 p.m. The winner will face the winner of No. 1 Hudson/No. 8 Clinton tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

QUARTERFINALS SCHEDULE

Division 4  — 1 p.m.

Mat 1 — No. 1 Hudson (33-4) vs. No. 8 Clinton (21-12)

Mat 2 — No. 4 Carson City-Crystal (25-2) vs. No. 5 Hesperia (26-3)

Mat 3 — No. 3 Lawton (29-0) vs. No. 6 Springport (24-4)

Mat 4 — No. 2 New Lothrop (28-1) vs. No. 7 Norway (19-0)

Division 1 — 3:15 p.m. 

Mat 1 — No. 1 Davison (23-4) vs. No. 8 Livonia Franklin (16-7)

Mat 2 — No. 4 Grandville (17-1) vs. No. 5 Oxford (24-4)

Mat 3 — No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central (15-4) vs. No. 6 Plymouth (36-4)

Mat 4 — No. 2 Hartland (38-2) vs. No. 7 Macomb Dakota (25-5)

Division 2 — 5:30 p.m.  

Mat 1 — No. 1 Lowell (21-1) vs. No. 8 Warren Lincoln (22-9)

Mat 2 — No. 4 Niles (21-4) vs. No. 5 Byron Center (25-7)

Mat 3 — No. 3 Tecumseh (31-2) vs. No. 6 Warren Woods-Tower (19-11)

Mat 4 — No. 2 St. Johns (18-2) vs. No. 7 Bay City Western (20-1)

Division 3 — 7:45 p.m. 

Mat 1 — No. 1 Dundee (22-1) vs. No. 8 Lake Fenton (33-5)

Mat 2 — No. 4 Saginaw Swan Valley (40-1) vs. No. 5 GR Catholic Central (14-0)

Mat 3 — No. 3 Richmond (21-4) vs. No. 6 Chippewa Hills (25-4)

Mat 4 — No. 2 Allegan (33-2) vs. No. 7 Mason County Central (33-3)

SEMIFINALS (tomorrow)

Division 1 — 9:30 a.m.

Mat 1 — Winner of 1/8 vs. 4/5
Mat 3 — Winner of 3/6 vs. 2/7

Division 2 — 11:45 a.m.

Mat 1 — Winner of 1/8 vs. 4/5
Mat 3 — Winner of 3/6 vs. 2/7

Division 3 — 11:45 a.m.

Mat 2 — Winner of 1/8 vs. 4/5
Mat 4 — Winner of 3/6 vs. 2/7

Division 4 — 9:30 a.m.

Mat 2 — Winner of 1/8 vs. 4/5
Mat 4 — Winner of 3/6 vs. 2/7

FINALS (tomorrow)

All Divisions — 4 p.m.

Mat 1 — Division 1

Mat 2 — Division 4

Mat 3 — Division 2

Mat 4 — Division 3

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