TRI-CITY AREA — From their first bout until the last, these grapplers let their presence be known with their respective performances out on the mat.

Here is a look at who earned a spot on the 2023-24 edition of the Tri-City Times All-Area wrestling team and the credentials they generated along the way to those accolades:

Cierra Helzer, Capac, 110 pounds.

Helzer amassed a 17-7 mark, a success rate of 70.8 percent, with 12 pins this winter.

The junior generated a first at the Kestrel Invitational hosted by Monroe St. Mary’s Catholic Central; supplied a third at an individual regional in Howell; plus furnished a fourth at the Brighton-based Manning Viaeu Tournament.

“This was her second season at states in one of the toughest weight classes in the entire state,” Capac Coach Jacob Nemecek commented. “Cierra does dual sports and does excellent in school,” he noted.

“We are excited to see what next year brings.”

It was Helzer’s second season on Capac’s squad.

Luca Longo, Capac, 112 pounds.

Longo put together a 22-9 record, good enough for a success clip of 71.0 percent, while collecting 11 pins during the 2023-24 campaign.

The sophomore supplied a first at the Mayville-based Ryan Mercer Tournament and registered a second at the Greater Thumb Conference Tournament in Bad Axe.

“He definitely stepped up this year and has shown great improvement,” Capac Coach Jacob Nemecek commented. “Luca works hard and always steps up for the team when we need him,” he noted.

“We know that his hard work will start to pay off in the years to come.”

This was his second year on Capac’s team.

Tanner Land, Imlay City, 120 pounds.

Land posted a 45-9 mark, a success rate of 83.3 percent, with 29 pins this winter.

The junior claimed a first at the Bay City Invitational; notched seconds at the Imlay City Invitational, Algonac-based Blue Water Area Conference Tournament and at a Division 3 individual district hosted by Imlay City High School; plus provided a third at a Hazel Park-based Division 3 regional.

“He was one of our captains this year,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “Tanner is always early and ready to go at practice,” he noted.

He is three for three on qualifying for the state tournament. We have no doubt he is going to put in the time this offseason and cap off a great high school career.”

This was his third year on Imlay City’s squad.

Sam Schneider, Capac, 120 pounds.

Schneider managed a 31-9 record, good for a success clip of 79.4 percent, while collecting nine pins during the 2023-24 campaign.

The sophomore obtained a first at the Bad Axe-based Greater Thumb Conference Tournament and Ryan Mercer Tournament in Mayville; provided a second at a Manchester-based Division 4 individual district; plus added a fifth at the Imlay City Invitational.

“He has never wrestled before and decided to try it out,” Capac Coach Jacob Nemecek commented. “Sam is definitely a natural and although this year didn’t end up with a trip to the finals we are very happy with how he wrestled,” he noted.

“He beat multiple state-ranked individuals throughout the year in all divisions. Sam will be a dominant force in the years to come.”

This was his first season on Capac’s team.

Chris Galiana, Imlay City, 126 pounds.

Galiana wound up with a 43-7 mark, a success rate of 86 percent, with 27 pins this winter.

The junior obtained a second at the Imlay City Invitational; secured a third at the Algonac-based Blue Water Area Conference Tournament; plus contributed a fifth at the Bay City Invitational.

“He has been a vital part of our team success,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “Chris is a fierce competitor and is always looking to put in extra work,” he noted.

“We never have to worry about Chris doing the right things and are excited to have him for another season.”

This was his third year on Imlay City’s squad.

Ryan Grant, Capac, 120 pounds.

Grant wound up with a 19-17 mark, a success clip of 52.7 percent, with 11 pins this winter.

The junior provided thirds at the Mayville-based Ryan Mercer Tournament, Greater Thumb Conference Tournament hosted by Bad Axe and at a Manchester-based Division 4 individual district; plus tacked on a sixth at the Imlay City Invitational

“He is one of those wrestlers that does what he can do for the team” Capac Coach Jacob Nemecek commented. “Ryan wrestled up two weight classes most of the year before making the drop to 120,” he noted.

“He stepped up for the team and would wrestle hard against anyone we put him up against. He is consistently improving and will be a key person in our lineup next year.

This was his third year on Capac’s squad.

Albert Chapa, Capac, 126 pounds.

Chapa provided a 15-11 record, good for a success clip of 57.7 percent, while contributing five pins during the 2023-24 campaign.

He garnered a second at the Mayville-based Ryan Mercer Tournament and supplied a fourth at the Imlay City Invitational.

“He has been wrestling in our youth program for years.,” Capac Coach Jacob Nemecek commented. “Albert had a tough year but stepped up and won some extremely tough matches for us,” he noted.

“He has a lot of potential, and we know he will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.”

This was the first season on Capac’s team for Chapa, a freshman.

Daniel Rojas, Imlay City, 132 pounds.

Rojas managed a 24-2 mark, a success rate of 92.3 percent, with 16 pins this winter.

The freshman’s best tournament showing came at the Imlay City Invitational, where he turned in a second.

“He is extremely tough,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “Danny is always in attack mode putting guys on their heels,” he noted.

“His season was cut short due to an injury. After he takes some time to heal he will no question be doing great things in the future.”

Conner Wildie, Imlay City, 138 pounds.

Wildie put together a 46-10 record, good enough for a success clip of 82.1 percent, while contributing 36 pins during the 2023-24 campaign.

The senior generated seconds at the Imlay City Invitational, Bay City Invitational and an Imlay City-based Division 3 individual district; furnished a third at the Algonac-based Blue Water Area Conference Tournament; and supplied a fourth at a Division 3 regional hosted by Hazel High School.

“He never ceases to amaze us,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “Conner put himself on school’s season pin leaderboard this year,” he noted.

“We love how he gets amped up for every match, and he will be missed in our lineup. I don’t think he is done yet with wrestling and that is exciting.”

This was his fourth year on Imlay City’s squad for Wildie, one of the Spartans’ captains.

Dominic D’Ambrosio, Imlay City, 138/144 pounds.

D’Ambrosio amassed a 53-3 mark, a success rate of 94.6 percent, with 38 pins this winter.

The senior earned the distinction of weight class champion at the Imlay City Invitational, Bay City Invitational, Algonac-based Blue Water Area Conference Tournament (where he was named MVP of the Lower Weight classes) and Imlay City-based Division 3 individual district; provided a second at a Division 3 individual regional in Hazel Park; plus added a fourth (securing All-State accolades) at the Division 3 individual finals hosted by Ford Field in Detroit.

“He has been a dynamic wrestler for us,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “Dominic developed into a complete athlete when he added a weight training program after his junior year,” he noted.

“He has been a bonus points machine and in the last three years put himself on the MHSAA list for career pins. We look for him to do more of the same at the next level.”

This was his fourth year on Imlay City’s squad for D’Ambrosio, who was voted as one of Imlay City’s captains.

Travis Dupont, Imlay City, 144 pounds.

Dupont forged a 37-15 record, good enough for a success clip of 71.2 percent, while contributing 14 pins to Imlay City’s cause during the 2023-24 campaign.

The senior took second at the Algonac-based Blue Water Area Conference Tournament; claimed a third at the Imlay City Invitational; plus provided fourths at an Imlay City-based Division 3 individual district as well as the Bay City Invitational.

This was his third season on Imlay City’s squad.

Brady Czapiewski, Imlay City, 157 pounds.

Czapiewski supplied a 23-15 mark, a success rate of 60.5 percent, with 14 pins this winter.

The sophomore placed one time in tournament action during the 2023-24 campaign, accomplishing the feat with a fourth at the Bay City Invitational.

“He is a great teammate and puts the team first,” Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio commented. “Brady was in a tough spot of our lineup with some veteran guys,” he noted.

“He never questioned doing what was best for the team. Brady was always looking to help teammates improve at practice. He definitely will be looked upon as one of the leaders going forward.”

This was his second year on Imlay City’s squad.

Peyton Frankowiak, Capac, 215 pounds.

Frankowiak put together a 17-12 record, good enough for a success clip of 58.6 percent, while collecting 16 pins during the 2023-24 campaign.

The sophomore furnished a second at the Bad Axe-based Greater Thumb Conference Tournament and added a third at the Ryan Mercer Tournament in Mayville.

“Peyton came back to wrestle after taking his freshman year off,” Capac Coach Jacob Nemecek commented. Peyton works very hard in the room and every time he steps on the mat we know he is going to wrestle hard. He is going to be a key person in our lineup next year.”

This was his first season on Capac’s squad.

Honorable mention– Gabe Peters, Capac, 106 pounds; James Johnson, Imlay City, 113 pounds; Thomas Clowers, Capac, 165 pounds; Dustin Claeys, Almont, 165 pounds; and Kade VanDerPloeg, Imlay City, 175 pounds.

Coach of the Year– For directing his team to a 25-10 overall mark, Imlay City Coach Tony D’Ambrosio earns Tri-City Times All-Area Coach of the Year accolades.

Kevin Kissane

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.