TRAVERSE CITY — Vincent Priante has been the wrestling equivalent of a vagabond the past couple of weeks.
As the lone member of the Traverse City West wrestling team who is still alive for the individual state tournament, Priante has been traveling around to find competitors to help him prepare for this weekend’s Division 1 state meet, which starts today at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
“It’s been tough without having a whole team to practice, like the other top teams,” said Priante. “They have all their kids in the practice room. I’ve been having to go all over — St. Francis and Pine River — and practice with them. It’s been tough, but it will definitely be worth it.”
Priante, a sophomore who enters the finals ranked third at 103 pounds with a record of 47-6, is making his first trip to the state finals. He’s hoping to finish among the top eight.
“I’m not trying to look at the seed and where I’m ranked,” said Priante. “Once you step on to the mat anything can happen so I just want to put that out of my head and focus on winning matches, no matter what. My goal is just to place. I feel like that’s the next step and to just do as good as I possibly can. If I go out there and do my best and try my hardest that will be enough for me.”
Priante was the runner-up at the regional after winning the district championship.
Priante is one of nearly 20 wrestlers from the region who will compete at the state meet and one of the most highly ranked.
St. Francis heavyweight Jake Khoury actually has the highest ranking, coming into the Division 4 meet as the No. 2 seed. Khoury, 33-3 on the year, was fifth in the state last season and is coming off a runner-up finish at the regional, where he was beaten by top-ranked defending state champion Ryan Prescott of Whittemore-Prescott. The two are on a collision course for another battle if they reach the title match.