HARTLAND — Anna Devitt hadn’t planned to attend Wednesday’s boys lacrosse game at Hartland High School.
“I was going to go to the penguin exhibit at the Detroit Zoo with my granddaughter,” she said. “But coach (Todd Cheney) said they needed me here.”
So, when the Hartland wrestling team’s championship rings were passed out in a halftime ceremony, Devitt was caught unaware when Cheney presented her with a pendant in the shape of the championship rings she had just handed out.
“Eighteen years, and I’ve always wanted to get a state title. We did it was baseball, and it was so unexpected,” she said. Then her voice thickened with emotion.
“They worked their butts off,” she said. “They’re such a great group of guys. Great coaches, great mentors. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
The ceremony, at halftime of the game, included three Hartland lacrosse players, who got in line to get their rings. Garnet Potter admitted to being distracted.
“I wasn’t paying attention (during the ceremony), especially because we were losing at halftime,” he said. “But it was a cool experience.”
Kyle Cavanaugh, on the other hand, joked about the reactions around town since the team won the school’s first wrestling state title in February.
“I kind of feel like we’re celebrities around here,” he said. “We go to restaurants and get free meals, stuff like that.”
So, Cavanaugh was asked, might the rings bring more free meals?
“Yeah, probably,” he said, laughing.
The rings featured a design that had the word “Hartland” across the face of the ring with a block “H” in the background, with the score of the championship match on one side and the wrestler’s name and weight class etched on the other.
Cheney said the team unrolled a new mat earlier in the week, courtesy of the Hartland youth wrestling program, and he personally took a six-week sabbatical from wrestling.
“It’s probably the longest time I’ve ever been out of the wrestling room,” he said.
The team gathered for photos with their rings on their right hands, then dispersed for the next-to-last time as a team.
“One last thing, our banquet on Tuesday night,” Cheney said. “We had to wait for all this stuff to end and take care of getting patches, going to the Capitol, getting rings, and it’s been a fun ride. One last time together, and that will be it.”