Kalamazoo — Top-ranked and defending champion Detroit Catholic Central was at the top of its game Friday afternoon during the state team wrestling finals at the Wings Event Center, dominating Hudsonville in a Division 1 quarterfinal, 67-0.
Catholic Central had four pins — Joshua Edmond (130 pounds), Logan Sanom (140), Kevon Davenport (145) and Cameron Amine (160) — in the first six matches to open up a 31-0 cushion.
Daniel Rehfeldt (103), Devon Johnsen (112) and Benyamin Kamali (119) also earned pins for No. 9 nationally ranked Catholic Central, which advances to Saturday morning’s semifinal with No. 5 seed Davison. The teams wrestled in the title match last year with Catholic Central defeating Davison, 35-22.
The title match is set for 3:30 in all four divisions.
“I thought our guys wrestled really loose and really relaxed,” Davenport said. “We went out as a confident team and it showed.”
Said Catholic League coach Mitch Hancock: “I think the goal is to get our starters on the mat, you know new environment, new stage, I want them to feel this environment. It’s good to get their feet on the stage and let them wrestle.
“We’re focused on performance, focused on going out and executing our match, and executing our moves and wrestling our style. We just have to put a lot of points on the board. We have 20 deep guys that can wrestle at any given point. If we take a loss here or there, that’s all right because we have another hammer coming up next.”
This is the first year the state finals were held at the Wings Event Center. Hancock guided Catholic Central to state championships in 2010 and 2012-14 in Battle Creek and to the state title in Mount Pleasant last year.
The other quarterfinal matches were much closer, including Eddie Homrock’s 22-7 technical fall win at 125 pounds that earned his team five points to lift No. 2 seed Brighton to a 30-29 victory over KLAA rival Hartland — the No. 7 seed — to avoid an upset.
“I haven’t been in the last match like this, so it feels real good,” said Homrock who is 43-7. “My Coach (Tony Greathouse) told me I needed a tech (five points) or a pin (six) because the major (four points) wouldn’t cut it because of criteria so I knew I had to go out there and give it all I could for six minutes and that’s what I did.
“This feels good, but it has to be short because we have a real good team tomorrow (Dakota) to get to the final.”
And, Macomb Dakota came back from a nine-point (15-6) deficit to defeat Oxford, 34-19, winning the final five matches. While Brighton won the state title in 2015, Dakota is trying to make its first state championship match appearance.
Brighton defeated Dakota at Michigan State by 11 earlier this season.
Dakota coach Eddie Skowneski said numerous wrestlers avenged earlier losses to lead the comeback, including Eli Andary who had a 3-1 decision over Thomas Wandrie at 171 to start the comeback, pulling his team within 15-9.
“There’s a lot of pressure, these kids are young, but knowing I had (Brenden) Ferretti, (Brock) Prater, (Nick) Alayan and (Justin) Tiburcio, that makes me feel pretty good,” Skowneski said. “We had a strong finish. Andrew Barrett beat somebody that beat him prior which is huge, then Eli Andary beating somebody that beat him earlier in the year so a lot of guys came through today.”
Dakota won the final five matches, starting with Rahmi Khalil’s pin at 285 pounds, followed by Brendan Ferretti’s decision at 103; Brock Prater’s pin at 112; Nick Alayan’s decision at 119 and Justin Tiburcio’s major decision at 125.
Davison, the No. 5 seed, defeated No. 4 seed Westland John Glenn, 28-25.
More state team wrestling
Richmond, just like Catholic Central, looked right at home at the new venue, dominating No. 7 Alma, 57-18.
Richmond, the No. 2 seed, is the defending state champions, looking for its sixth state championship this decade.
Richmond won the first eight matches to take a 42-0 lead. Freshman Hunter Keller (103), sophomores Josh Barton (119) and Luke Davis (189), juniors Hayden Bastian (140) and Ethan Wyatt (145) and senior Colton McKiernan (215) all had pins.
“We always want to get bonus points and we got a lot of pins today,” said McKiernan, who improved to 38-1.
Richmond veteran coach Brandon Day was impressed with his wrestlers, as well as the set up at the Wings Event Center.
“It’s awesome,” Day said. “We got the chance to wrestle some young kids and got some falls (pins). The kids have been working really, really hard and I’m proud of their effort.
“We got some falls against some really good kids and that allowed us to get some younger guys in the lineup, which is always good for the future. We had a big fall at 103 by Hunter Keller and my 145-pounder, Ethan Wyatt has been a back-up kid for most of his career and he pinned an All-Stater, which was awesome.”
And, on the Wings Event Center?
“This (Wings Center) reminds me a lot of Battle Creek,” Day said. “The warm-up space was nice, the weigh-ins went really, really quick. They’ve rolled out the red carpet for every team here and they’re doing a really good job.”
Richmond will wrestle No. 3 seed Remus Chippewa Hills, a 47-21 winner over No. 6 seed Dowagiac, in a noon semifinal while top-seeded Dundee will face No. 4 seed Whitehall.
Dundee defeated No. 8 seed Comstock Park 59-6 while Whitehall defeated No. 5 seed Birch Run, 38-34.
A pair of upsets took place in the Division 4 quarterfinals with No. 6 seed New Lothrop defeating No. 3 seed Carson City-Crystal 41-19 while No. 5 seed Leroy Pine River slipped by No. 4 seed Mendon, 29-28.
Top-seeded Hudson dominated No. 8 seed Onaway 75-3 while No. 2 seed Clinton defeated No. 7 seed Springport, 45-24.
In the New Lothrop-CarsonCity-Crystal match, New Lothrop won the first six matches, including pins by Zackery Riley (160) and Allan Jamick (215) to take a 30-0 lead.
Hudson will face Leroy Pine River in one semifinal at 9:30 a.m. while Clinton faces New Lothrop.
Detroit Catholic Central 67, Hudsonville 0
Davison 28, Westland John Glenn 25
Macomb Dakota 34, Oxford 19
Brighton 30, Hartland 29
Lowell 52, Tecumseh 17
Eaton Rapids 35, Stevensville Lakeshore 26
Gaylord 34, Goodrich 22
Warren Woods-Tower 41, Allendale 29
Dundee 59, Comstock Park 6
Whitehall 38, Birch Run 34
Remus Chippewa Hills 47, Dowagiac 21
Richmond 57, Alma 18
Hudson 75, Onaway 3
Leroy Pine River 29, Mendon 28
New Lothrop 41, Carson City-Crystal 19
Clinton 45, Springport 24
Division 1, 9:30 a.m.
Detroit Catholic Central vs. Davison
Macomb Dakota vs. Brighton
Division 4, 9:30 a.m.
Hudson vs. Leroy Pine River
New Lothrop vs. Clinton
Division 2, noon
Lowell vs. Eaton Rapids
Gaylord vs. Warren Woods-Tower
Division 3, noon
Dundee vs. Whitehall
Remus Chippewa Hills vs. Richmond
All matches begin at 3:30 p.m.