Kalamazoo — Detroit Catholic Central became the first team in Division 1/Class A history to win seven state team championships in a decade Saturday afternoon at the Wings Events Center with a 34-19 win over previously unbeaten Brighton.
Catholic Central (26-1), the No. 1 seed and No. 11 team nationally, won the first four matches to take a 15-0 lead with Logan Sanom earning a 15-7 major decision at 140 pounds, followed by Derek Gilcher’s 11-3 major decision at 145, Kevon Davenport’s 7-3 decision at 152 and Cameron Amine’s 17-6 major decision at 160.
Gilcher wrestled Brighton’s Rhett Newton at 145 pounds even though Gilcher is the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state at 140 and Newton, who wrestled at Catholic Central two years ago, is ranked No. 4 at that weight class.
Davenport will attempt to be a rare, four-time state champion when the Individual State Finals take place next weekend at Ford Field. Amine will try to become a three-time individual state champ.
After Saturday, and with some help from their teammates Davenport and Amine already own three team state championships.
“It feels great, a great experience to come out here and win our third consecutive team state title, feels like something that belongs to us since we worked hard all year and it finally paid off,” said Davenport, who will wrestle next year at Nebraska. “We have really great coaches who help us to do the right thing, teach us the right things both on and off the mat. They are great people and when you do good things good things will happen.”
Catholic Central won a state championship in 2010, then three straight from 2012-14 and again from 2017-19, surpassing the six state titles that Davison won last decade.
After senior River Shettler got Brighton (33-1) on the board with a 5-2 decision over Manny Rojas at 171 to cut the deficit to 15-3, Catholic Central piled up four straight wins to take a commanding 29-3 lead.
First, senior Easton Turner earned a 3-1 decision over Greyson Stevens at 189, followed by Brendin Yatooma’s 10-2 major decision over Luke Stanton at 215, Steven Kolcheff’s 10-2 major decision of Colby Ford at 285, and Anthony Walker’s 5-2 decision at 103.
"I knew right away once I was out there when he was backing off and not really tying up, I knew it was my match, that all I had to do is tire him out and that was it,” Yatooma said of his match with Stanton. “That was a lot of fun, a lot of fun. My coaches have been preparing me all week for that match. They’ve been telling me that I had to watch out for the cross-faced cradle and he went for it when he was on top. They had their faith in me and I had my faith in God, knowing I just had to go out there and wrestle my way and I’d beat him.”
Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock said, “Anthony Walker, I think, was the key to the match. I don’t think people expected Logan Sanom to wrestle, but he came out firing so those two guys really stood out to me and then up top Brendin Yatooma, who beat Stanton. Stanton is pretty dangerous on top so for Yatooma to take him out the way he did was pretty cool.”
Of the seven state championships, Hancock replied: “You have to take your hats off to our guys. It’s about them and how hard they work. We have a standard at Catholic Central and the standard is high. When you come to Catholic Central you better be ready to work.
“It’s (seven state titles in a decade) remarkable. I’ll cherish it. I’ll take it home with my family and my dad. I didn’t realize it, but to be up there with some of the greats is truly humble for me.”
Brighton won three straight matches with Mason Shrader (10-0 major decision at 112), Sam Freeman (pin at 119) and Ben Manly (6-3 decision at 125), but it wasn’t enough as Kamron Davenport assured Catholic Central the three-peat by preventing Manly from getting a technical fall or pin to keep Brighton’s hopes alive.
Catholic Central advanced to the title match with a 56-9 win over No. 4 seed Westland John Glenn which had won its first quarterfinal match in program history on Friday. Brighton defeated No. 3 seed Davison in the other semifinal, 31-24.
Jeff Leach stepped on the mat for the final match of the Lowell-Goodrich battle knowing he needed to get a win to help Lowell earn a state record six straight state championships.
And, Leach handled the pressure, coming up with a 9-2 decision over Carson Turnbow in the 135-pound match to hand top-seeded Lowell a 29-23 win over No. 2 seed Goodrich.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Leach said. “My coaches were talking to me before the match as I’m pacing back and forth with my nerves, they reminded me ‘surrender the outcome, no matter what happens put it all right where you got it, right here on the big stage.’ It’s my last time wrestling at high school state so I felt like I’ll do it for them so they can keep the tradition coming after I’m gone. This never gets old. It’s like a new experience all over again.”
Lowell coach R.J. Boudro had high praise for Leach.
“Two years ago we beat (Warren Woods) Tower and it came down to him and he pulled it out,” Boudro said of Leach. “He’s got a lot to talk about for the rest of his life, being able to say ‘I won two state titles in the last match of a dual,’ so it’s pretty cool.”
Nick Korhorn (112) had a pin for Lowell which finished 21-3.
“To think about winning six in a row, it’s just an amazing feat,” Boudro said. “It’s never been done before. Team Wrestling has been around for a long, long time and Lowell is the only team to ever do it. It’s a credit to our community. It’s hard work across all levels, and that’s our administration, our kids, our youth program, our coaches and our fans, just so many things. Incredible things have to happen.”
And, having a wrestler like Leach to count on with the outcome still in doubt helps.
Jonathon White came through with a 6-0 decision over Richmond’s Hunter Seguin in the final match at 135 pounds to lead No. 2 seed Dundee to a 26-25 upset over top-seeded Richmond to repeat as state champions.
Richmond actually held a 25-20 lead after Austin Kilburn’s 11-5 decision at 125 pounds, but Dundee’s Tyler Swiderski’s 7-0 decision at 130 pounds led to White’s heroics.
Hudson joined Catholic Central as a seven-time state champion this decade with a dominating 45-19 upset win of top-seeded Clinton.
Jorge Sereno (152), Carson Price (171), Kyle Moll (215), Isiah Krizek (285), Payton Rogers (103), Bronson Marry (112), Caden Natale (119), Jordan Hamdan (130) and Tucker Sholl (135) won matches for Hudson.
Detroit Catholic Central 56, Westland John Glenn 9
Brighton 31, Davison 24
Lowell 34, Gaylord 24
Goodrich 37, DeWitt 22
Richmond 42, Remus Chippewa Hills 21
Dundee 35, Whitehall 27
Clinton 32, New Lothrop 24
Hudson 36, Carson City-Crystal 31
Detroit Catholic Central 34, Brighton 19
Lowell 29, Goodrich 23
Dundee 26, Richmond 25
Hudson 45, Clinton 19