Bedford’s top wrestlers returning are (front, from left) Mitch Pawlak, Mitch Rogaliner, and Brandon Sunday, and (back) Codie Bettencourt, David Lijewski, Dakotah Hudson, and Caleb Jenson. Rogaliner is a two-time state champion.
The Blade/Lori King
The tradition of winning is expected to continue for a loaded Bedford wrestling team led by two-time Michigan state champion Mitch Rogaliner.
The Mules have a wealth of talent returning, including three of six state qualifiers from last year's team.
Senior co-captains Rogaliner and Mitch Pawlak, as well as fellow senior Brandon Sunday, represented the Mules at the Division I individual state tournament last season. They're the anchors for a program that has more than 40 participants.
With nine returning starters, Bedford coach Kevin Vogel has plenty to be excited about.
"We've set some high goals for the team," Vogel said, who is in his third year guiding the Mules. "We'll continue to test ourselves every weekend and continue to improve."
The perennial power, which has claimed 17 straight Southeastern Conference championships, has its sights on making plenty of noise at the Division I state team competition after finishing just shy of the semifinals last season.
Rogaliner, who finished 46-2 and won the 112-pound state championship last season to claim his second state title in three seasons, is pushing to become the first Mule to win three individual state crowns.
Vogel believes Rogaliner, who is competing at 119 this season, is as good as he's ever been.
"Mitch continues to improve his confidence and his skills are really showing," Vogel said. "He's already looking to improve his style heading into college.
"Mitch lives and breathes wrestling. He gets 100 matches in the summer and is constantly searching out the best competition."
Sunday (215) was a state runner-up and Pawlak (125) was a state quarterfinalist last season. Like Rogaliner, they're considered serious contenders for state titles in their final season.
Senior David Lijewski, junior Jacob Lohr, and sophomore Tyler Rogaliner were regional qualifiers last year.
The Mules showed their strength recently by winning the Springfield Dick Hooper Duals. The Mules topped North Canton 39-25 in the finals. Rogaliner, Pawlak, Lohr, Sunday, and sophomore Blake Montrie went 7-0 during the three-day tournament.