DURAND — Brock Holek — this week’s Argus-Press Athlete of the Week — has made major headlines in football and wrestling at Durand.
Holek wrestled to a state runner-up finish during the 2019-20 season, crafting a 45-1 record at 130 pounds. He was undefeated as a junior until losing in the Division 3 state final match — 5-3 to Austin Fietz of Dundee.
Holek — who was fourth in the state as a sophomore and seventh as a freshman — is already looking forward to his senior season which will start in a few weeks. He stands 109-23 so far in his career, which he hopes to continue at the collegiate level.
“I’m focused on winning states,” Holek said. “After being in the title match last year and not getting the job done, I’m just really focused on working as hard as I can and improving as much as I can. My one goal this year is to win states.”
He had no regrets after coming so close to the state title last winter.
“It was back and forth and I wished I would have wrestled better but I learned a lot from that match,” Holek said. “So I think I’ll be better off going forward, losing that match. I learned a lot just mentally and physically and how to prepare for a big time match. That was my first really big time match like that.”
Holek won regional, district and MMAC titles a year ago and coach Brian Hittle said he has a good one in Holek.
“Brock is not only a great athlete — he is a great leader and person,” Hittle said. “He works hard, both in sports and education, and at home. I’m looking forward to watching his senior season in wrestling.”
Holek said that one of his biggest highlights was being a part of Durand’s team district championship last winter.
“We came really close to winning it my freshman and sophomore years but last year we finally got the job done and won it,” Holek said.
Holek has also been a key weapon for the Durand football team, which finished 5-3 this fall. Holek — a 5-foot-8, 150-pound running back/slot receiver — scored three touchdowns in last Saturday’s 28-26 second-round playoff loss at Detroit Edison.
He caught a 20-yard touchdown with approximately 30 seconds left in the game to bring the Railroaders within two points. Durand, however, could not convert the subsequent two-point conversion attempt that could have tied the score.
Holek also rushed for two touchdowns, including a 40-yarder. He rushed for more than 150 yards in the game and caught two passes for 56 yards and one score.
All of that when Durand was severely undermanned due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
“COVID did affect us,” Holek said. “I mean, it’s not an excuse for why we lost the game. Two weeks ago, the day before our first playoff game, I think we lost 11 players — five or six who were starters. We lost all of our coaches but two. So yes, we had to face some adversity.”
Durand had trailed 20-8 to Edison at halftime before mounting a dramatic comeback.
“We got two onside kicks very early (in the third quarter),” Holek said. “We got an onsides, then went down and scored. Then we kick another onsides, went down and scored. But we missed the two-point conversion both times, so it’s 20-20.”
Edison then scored with about 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter and converted the two-point conversion to go up 28-20.
Durand pulled within two on Holek’s TD reception from a pass by Austin Kelly.
The two-point try failed and the season ended for Durand.
Holek said that Durand changed its offensive formation for its last two games. Durand opened the playoffs with a 50-0 win over Detroit Collegiate Prep.
“We switched our offense for the last two games so we went to the fullhouse T,” Holek said. “That put me at running back but I still went out for passes. During the season, I could be at slot receiver. Sometimes I’d be at running back. I even threw the ball some of the time. Against Mt. Morris, I had three TD passes.”
Durand football coach Rick Winbigler said that Holek made things happen, with his speed and elusiveness, no matter what position he put him at.
“Brock is someone we counted on to score every game,” Winbigler said. “We used him to throw passes, catch passes and run the football. Each week, he scored in multiple ways and was a huge part of our team success this year … He truly was an offensive weapon for us and had a great year defensively as well.”
Holek said a season-opening 33-12 win over Byron — Durand’s first victory over the Eagles in 12 years — was another highlight. Holek rushed for 88 yards and one TD and also had a TD catch.
Besides his offensive contributions this season, Holek also started defensively at safety. He also kicked, punted and returned kicks while rarely coming off the field.
Holek was named to the Argus-Press All-Area Football second-team unit last fall after rushing for 875 yards and nine touchdowns on 80 carries. He was a first-team selection in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference.
Holek also plans to play baseball for the Railroaders this spring. The catcher/outfielder played baseball as a freshman and sophomore but last year spring sports were canceled in Michigan due to COVID-19 concerns.
He is undecided on which college he plans to attend.
“I’ve been talking to a couple of schools and I haven’t committed anywhere yet but I’m looking to wrestle in college,” he said. “I mean football is not out of the picture but most likely I’ll be wrestling in college.”
Holek, who carries a 3.7 GPA, said he is hoping to go to a Division 1 college and major in business.
“I’m looking to go Division 1 and I can’t get on any visits right now because of the dead period,” Holek said. “Once I go on some visits and stuff I’ll probably be making my decision after that. Maybe in January or whenever we can go on some visits.”