Hartland finds itself in unfamiliar territory heading into the state team wrestling finals at Central Michigan’s McGuirk Arena today.
It’s not like Hartland is new to the finals. This is its 15th straight appearance, finishing second in Division 1 from 2004-07 and last year.
It’s Hartland’s seed that’s not the norm.
“It’s a little bit of a surprise that we’re the No. 1 seed, and I don’t know if we’re truly the top seed,” coach Todd Cheney said of his 31-1 team.
Hartland opens the quarterfinals against No. 8 Temperance Bedford (21-4). But missing from the quarterfinals is the team that beat Hartland last year —Brighton.
Standing in the way, however, is Detroit Catholic Central, seeded third and winner of three straight titles from 2012-14.
And it just so happens Catholic Central handed Hartland its lone loss this season, 33-16.
Hartland does own victories over three quarterfinalists — No. 2 Davison, No. 6 Oxford and No. 6 Dakota/
“It’s exciting that we’re coming in as the No. 1 seed, but it doesn’t guarantee anything,” said Hartland senior Sage Castillo (52-0 at 153 pounds). “We advanced to the title match last year, coming up short. Sure, it was a setback, but we learned from it and done more out of season to try and get back.”
On the mat
Richmond advanced to the title match in Division 3 in the last six years, winning in 2010-12 and last year, defeating Dundee.
Dundee, however, is the top seed, and won titles in 2013 and 2014.
Richmond, the No. 4 seed, opens against Whitehall, while Dundee takes on Delton-Kellogg.
... Lowell enters as the two-time Division 2 defending state champion and the top seed.
... New Lothrop, the top seed in Division 4, is also searching for its third straight state title.
Today-Saturday, McGuirk Arena, Mount Pleasant
Division 4, noon: 1 New Lothrop vs. 8 Munising, 2 Decatur vs. 7 Leroy Pine River, 3 Hudson vs. 6 Manchester, 4 Hesperia vs. 5 Springport
Division 1, 2 p.m.: 1 Hartland vs. 8 Temperance Bedford, 2 Davison vs. 7 Grand Ledge, 3 Detroit Catholic Central vs. 6 Macomb Dakota, 4 Oxford vs. 5 Hudsonville
Division 3, 4 p.m.: 1 Dundee vs. 8 Delton-Kellogg, 2 Remus Chippewa Hills vs. 7 Gladstone, 3 Lake Fenton vs. 6 Birch Run, 4 Richmond vs. 5 Whitehall
Division 2, 6 p.m.: 1 Lowell vs. 8 Sturgis, 2 St. Johns vs. Dearborn Heights Annapolis, 3 Gaylord vs. 6 Warren Woods Tower, 4 Goodrich vs. 5 Allegan
Semifinals: Division 1 and 4 at 10 a.m., Division 2 and 3 at noon
Finals: 3:30 p.m.