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KALAMAZOO — Upsets were few and far between at the team wrestling state finals on Saturday afternoon at Wings Event Center.
Each of the four divisions’ No. 1 seeds took home titles.
Defending Division 1 champ Davison had the closest challenge in a 29-21 victory over Novi Detroit Catholic Central. The Shamrocks could have won if they scored a pin in the final match, but Davison junior Josh Barr got a 4-3 decision over Manny Rojas, late in the 171-pound match, to seal the team victory. Both Barr and Rojas are two-time defending individual state champions.
Lowell earned an amazing ninth consecutive Div. 2 title with a 46-16 victory over Goodrich. Dundee is chasing the Red Arrows’ streak, though, as the Vikings earned their fifth Div. 3 championship in a row by defeating Alma, 55-12 on Saturday. Finally, Hudson — a 47-13 winner over New Lothrop — was triumphant again after winning three straight from 2017-19.
Division 1: ‘A chip on our shoulder’
“We put a chip on our shoulder all year,” Davison coach Zac Hall said. “It’s a mental thing for the kids, who are able to believe in their ability, trust the process and trust themselves that we were going to win that match. Those guys had to extend themselves even though they were tired.
“That took a lot of heart and guts, a great match,” Hall said of Barr’s win. “Really, a lot of that match he was losing. He almost got a takedown here, doesn’t get it but he just kept going.”
Davison (19-4) jumped out to a 12-0 lead with wins by Remey Cotton (189 pounds), Jimmy Colley (215) and Zane Richardson (HWT). DCC (14-4) narrowed the gap near the end when Tatum Bunn got a 5-3 decision over Kyle White, before Barr’s win put things out of reach.
“Manny is one of the best in the country,” Barr said after the match. “It’s an honor to even be able to step on the mat with him. It’s matches like these that get me up in the morning. I like a challenge, and Manny is for sure that.”
The only pin recorded in the dual was in the 103 class; DCC’s Nathan Walkowiak scored a fall at the 1:37 mark to bring the Shamrocks back to 12-6.
The two programs have had a fierce rivalry over the years. DCC won four consecutive state titles from 2017-20, beating Davison in the final in ’17 and ’20. The programs have 16 state titles, with eight apiece, since the team dual format began in 1996.
Division 2: Red Arrows fly straight with four pins
The Red Arrows just keep rolling over their competition. Their 30-point margin Saturday gave the program its 12th team dual state championship.
Lowell trailed after the first two matches, 6-5, but then won nine of the last 12 matches. The team scored four pins: Bryson Vandermeulen (285) in 32 seconds, Jackson Blum (119) in 3:44, Nate Cleaver (152) in 4:33 and Case Husiman (171) in 2:35.
“I try not to think about it much to be honest,” Lowell coach RJ Boudro said about his school’s ninth consecutive title. “These kids deserve it just as much as the first ones. And really, I think that’s why we have nine — we don’t look at it as a streak, but more as a part of what we do.
“Honestly, to win nine in a row is absurd, especially in a sport like wrestling where you’ve got sickness, skin infections, injuries; all those things come into play. People take it for granted how much goes into that, and making weight, do your homework, things like that. It’s hard to do that nine tournaments in a row, yet alone nine seasons.”
Goodrich (31-3) has been the runner-up to Lowell (23-3) three times in four seasons.
Division 3: Dundee’s big comeback
Dundee started out in a 9-0 hole after Alma’s Jacob Munger (189 pounds) won and Adam Garcia (215) earned a pin in 1:22. But the Vikings won 11 of the last 12 matches to earn their fifth consecutive team title.
Dundee scored seven pins: Kaiden Hubbell (HWT) in 30 seconds, Ashton Viers (103) in 14 seconds, Kyle Smith (119) in 1:26, Braeden David (125) at the 3:22 mark, Logan Sander (140) at 3:02, Aiden Davis (152) in 1:47 and Casey Swiderski (171) at 2:49.
Head coach Tim Roberts said the five titles “are each their own challenge, and it’s a new challenge every time. So, this one is just as special as the first one. We came in with five state champs returning, so we knew we could be good. But they were all 152 (pounds) and below. So we had to figure out how to spread it out to make a complete lineup with a bunch of green guys from there on up.”
Division 4: Hudson pride
Clinton was the best in Div. 4 the past two years, beating Hudson and New Lothrop, respectively, but moved up to Div. 3 this season. That left the two past runners-up to battle to the end, as they had so many times before: Hudson won five straight in 2009-2013, followed by three New Lothrop state titles in 2014-16, then three more by Hudson.
“These kids earned this title, I mean they worked so hard,” Hudson head coach Scott Marry said. “I’m very proud of them winning a state title in football then putting it all together for us here. And I’m not kidding you, they’re going to be not too bad in baseball.”