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Multiple Teams · G Potter earns LD Athlete of the Week


Anthony Odoardi, Livingston Daily

HARTLAND — The Hartland wrestling team has an extensive history that includes countless state qualifiers and five state runner-up finishes to the team state title since 2004. On Wednesday of last week, Garnet Potter etched his name permanently into that history.

Facing both Milford and Pinckney in a quad meet at Milford High School — duels that Hartland won easily against its outmatched opponents— Potter, a junior, secured both his 99th and 100th career victories, becoming yet another Eagles wrestler to reach the prestigious triple-digit mark.

“It means a lot for all that hard work that’s paid off since I was a little kid,” said Potter, who added that only about 50 wrestlers have hit triple digits in their careers at Hartland. “I started rolling around the mats when I was 5, but when I was younger my dad coached Northville and I’d always go to his meets when I was 3 or 4.”

It’s safe to say that Potter was conditioned to be a wrestler from a young age.

For Potter, it was certainly a milestone achievement. As he said, he’s put plenty of work into the sport, hoping to be at least as good — and now, one could argue, perhaps better — than his dad, Garnet Potter Sr., who is an assistant coach for Hartland and wrestled at Northville.

His dad never hit 100 wins.

That, of course, added to the special moment. As soon as he pinned his Pinckney opponent in the first round, his mom, grandmother, two aunts and an uncle jumped up in the stands, brandishing signs to commemorate the occasion.HHS Wrestling vs Mil&Pinc-6591

He hopes they’ll one day hold up signs again, maybe when he joins another exclusive club.

“It’d be nice to get to 150-plus,” said Potter, who said there’s only about 25 wrestlers in Hartland history that can lay claim to meeting that mark, including two on his current team in Sage Castillo and Logan Vish.

More importantly than career wins, the junior wants to be a state champion.

That’s what he’s truly worked for, to become both a team and individual title holder. Those are goals he’s yet to attain but came close a season ago to the former, his team advancing to the Division 1 team state finals before getting knocked off by Brighton, 31-25, a match he remembers all too well.

Hartland certainly has a shot at the team title this year. Until getting knocked off by Detroit Catholic Central over the weekend, the Eagles were ranked No. 1 in Division 1 since the preseason by MichiganGrappler.com, and were nationally ranked as well.

“We still got a lot of work ahead of us, me and the team,” he said. “But as a whole it’s been going good. We just had a (setback), ended up losing to CC. But it’s a good learning experience for us.”

The entire season so far has essentially be a learning experience for Potter.

And that’s because he was faced with a challenge entering his junior year. As most high school kids do, he hit a growth spurt. He got taller, plus the time spent in the weight room during the offseason getting bigger for lacrosse had Potter up to 150 pounds at one point in the summer.

Clearly, he wouldn’t be able to wrestle again at 112, the weight class he competed in as a tenth-grader, qualified for the state meet and then made the All-State cut in the individual Division 1 tournament by placing eighth.

So, he moved up. Way up. All the way to 130 and 135 pounds.

“At the beginning, it was kind of weird,” Potter said. “I was used to being the bigger kid last year and bullying everyone around. I wasn’t used to not being the strongest kid. But I’ve been using more technique and shooting more.”

Perfecting his technique is crucial for Potter. It’s what he relies on now and what he knows will get him far in individual action and, more importantly to him, help him win matches for his team. One could say so far, so good with the added weight.

Last week, Potter was ranked in the top 10 at 135 in Division 1, according to MichiganGrappler’s rankings. This week, he’s an honorable mention selection just outside of the 10 best in D1 at 130 pounds.

Of course, the rankings don’t matter all that much to him right now other than to tell him he’s doing the right things and people are taking notice. What matters to him is the date with Brighton for the KLAA West championship next week — he has the score of the state finals last year, 31-25, in his Twitter bio @g_potter114, so it’s clear that means a lot to him — and then postseason play, which begins in February.

“It would be nice to win an individual state championship,” Potter said. “But just to get back on that podium will be nice. It’s definitely king to be harder for me this year, because I’m not used to going up against 130-35, but, I mean, it will be interesting to see.”