AUBURN HILLS — Matthew Elliott finished a dramatic run all the way to the Division 4 state championship match with a setback, but he has time to correct that.
The Forest Area junior will be back next season for another run at a state crown.
Mio’s Zach Mack — who won by pin at 3:42 in the 125-pound title match Saturday — will graduate. Half of Elliott’s six losses this season came against Mack.
“It’s hard to sum up in words how fantastic of a weekend he had,” Forest Area coach Robert Morgan said. “In his semifinal match, he was down by a point with five seconds left and ended up winning it. That kind of sums up how his whole tournament went.”
Elliott finishes his junior year with a 47-6 record. Mack is 45-1.
“Both wrestlers were wrestling pretty sloppy and really aggressive,” Morgan said of the final. “That was the third time they’ve seen each other this year.”
Elliott was ranked No. 10 coming into the state tourney.
“He wrestled his tail off and had a fantastic tournament,” Morgan said. “He beat three kids that were ranked above him.”
Elliott started the tournament Thursday with a pin in 3:39 over No. 5-ranked Mason Lopinski, then decisioned No. 7 Gabe Bennett 16-10 and earned a spot in the title match with an 8-7 victory over No. 6 Zach Francis.
Elliott placed seventh at 103 pounds as a freshman and has 118 wins after just three seasons.
“He’s got a bright future ahead of him,” Morgan said.
So does the rest of the Warriors’ team.
Forest Area has all eight of its wrestlers back next season, including 130-pound junior Tyler Leffingwell, who posted a 1-2 state tournament record and finished with a 39-14 mark. The Warriors managed a dual-meet record well above .500 even with voiding six weight classes each time out.