Kalamazoo — Detroit Catholic Central entered Saturday’s Division 1 state championship match at the Wings Event Center as the No. 1 wrestling team in the state.
And, Catholic Central looked like the No. 1 team in the country, defeating No. 2 seed Brighton 57 to minus-1 with Brighton given an unsportsmanlike penalty.
It was the first time in state team finals history — which began in 1988 — that the champion won all 14 weight classes.
And, it took overtime in the 189-pound final, the last match of the day, for Catholic Central to get the job done with Rory Cox’s takedown in OT for a 3-1 decision over Greyson Stevens.
“I think we’ve found a way to peak our guys at the right time, and to come in here to beat Brighton 14 matches to zero is a remarkable feat,” said Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock. “This team is special. They are just like all the other state championship teams. They are dominant, like to go into a state finals match and win, and to win with that score is impressive. I think that says enough about them.”
What’s special is that Catholic Central defeated Brighton 65 to minus-1 earlier this season.
Catholic Central repeated as state champs and earned its sixth title this decade, also winning in 2010 and again from 2012-14 in Battle Creek, last year at Central Michigan University and this one in Kalamazoo.
Catholic Central’s Easton Turner earned a 12-0 major decision over Luke Stanton at 215 and Steven Kolcheff followed it up with a 14-3 major decision over Colby Ford at 285 to open up an 8-0 lead, which increased to 14-0 with decisions by Daniel Rehfeldt, 4-0 over Mason Shrader at 103 pounds, and Devon Johnsen, 3-1 over Ben Manly at 112.
Then, Catholic Central started getting the bonus points with senior Benyamin Kamali — the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state at 119 — earning a 21-6 technical fall win over Logan Kehres for a 19-0 cushion.
The 125-pound battle had a pair of standout wrestlers in Catholic Central freshman Dominick Lomazzo and Brighton sophomore Eddie Homrock going head-to-head.
It was Homrock who came up with a technical fall win in the final match of Friday’s quarterfinal to give Brighton a 30-29 win over KLAA rival Hartland.
But, Lomazzo made sure Brighton wouldn’t get any momentum, getting a takedown with 46 seconds left for a 3-1 decision over Homrock and a 22-0 Catholic Central lead.
Stone Moscovic continued Catholic Central’s strong showing with a 3-2 decision over Zach Johnson with an escape with 30 seconds left at 130, and Josh Edmond followed with a first-period pin over Aiden Brown at 135 for a 31-0 lead.
Catholic Central’s Derek Gilcher clinched the state championship with a 9-3 decision over Dane Donabedian at 140 for a 34-0 advantage and Kevon Davenport pinned Victor Grabowski with 6 seconds left in the second period at 145 for a 40-0 lead.
Joseph Urso won a 6-0 decision over Nick Bleise at 152; Cameron Amine had a 21-6 technical fall win over Jack Ireton at 160; Aidan Wagh earned a first-period pin over Harley Berne at 171 and Cox followed with his OT decision to make history.
“It’s really cool because I was the first match in the Assembly Match, the first match of the year and now closed out this, the last one of the season,” said Cox, a senior. “It’s really impressive to do what we did. We had a complete team effort.”
Yes, Catholic Central had a complete team effort, one for the ages.
“We’ve trained hard for this,” Davenport said. “We expected to win and now this is great way to reap the benefits of what we’ve been doing. It just shows how truly dominant we can be as a team when everyone makes up their mind. We’re really good 1-through-14 and I’m sure some of the guys who didn’t wrestle tonight would have.”
More state team finals wrestling
No. 1 seed Lowell 43, No. 3 Gaylord 17: Lowell was making its seventh straight state championship appearance and going after its fifth straight ultimate crown while Gaylord was making its first trip to the title bout.
In the end, Lowell became the first team in Division 2 history to win five straight state titles and the third overall, joining Davison (Division 1, 2002-06) and Hudson (Division 4, 2009-13).
“I can’t put words into what this means,” Lowell coach R.J. Boudro said. “Every year it’s different guys. It’s a lot of hard work. We have expectations, but we’ve been there before. We know what to expect. Our guys dream of this moment and they want it so bad. I think we peaked well. We wrestled well. We were prepared, our guys listened, and when you take care of the details you get to pick up trophies.”
Lowell won the first three matches — pin by Keigan Yuhas at 215, decision by Tyler Delooff at 285 and major decision by Nick Korhorn at 103 — to take a 13-0 lead and never looked back.
Yuhas and Jeff Leach (130) earned pins for Lowell with Austin Boone getting a technical fall win at 152 to clinch the victory.
Senior David Kruse won by injury default at 189. He talked about being part of four state titles.
“It’s something that’s so special for me and I’m so happy to be a part of it for the last four years,” Kruse said.
Gaylord advanced to the quarterfinals Friday by defeating St. Johns — which had won four consecutive Division 2 state championships from 2010-13, then advanced to title matches in ’14 and ’16 — in the regional final.
No. 1 Dundee 40, No. 2 Richmond 15: The teams battling it out for the Division 3 state title were quite familiar with one another since it was the sixth time in the last seven years they met with the championship on the line.
And, Dundee defeated Richmond 40-15 to avenge last year’s loss, which Richmond won by Criteria H, the amount of total first points scored in the match.
It was also the third time in the last six years Dundee defeated Richmond in the finals.
“It’s amazing,” said senior Brandon Whitman, who improved to 41-0 with a 6-2 decision over Colton McKiernan at 215 to start the match. “We came out here, competed and got the job done.”
And, Dundee took control with back-to-back pins by Christian Killion (130 pounds) and Stoney Buell (135) to open up a 24-6 lead.
First, Killion turned a 2-0 lead to a pin over Hunter Seguin. Then, Buell, a freshman, earned a 59-second pin over Alec Ziza.
Kyle Motylinski (189) also had a pin for Dundee.
Hayden Bastian had a pin at 140 pounds for Richmond.
No. 1 Hudson 34, No. 6 New Lothrop 22: Hudson repeated as Division 4 state champs, defeating New Lothrop in the state title match for the second straight year.
In fact, it was the fifth straight year that the teams have met with the ultimate trophy on the line with New Lothrop coming out on top in 2014, ’15 and ’16.
Hudson came back from a 9-6 deficit by winning six straight matches, starting with Dylan Smith’s 5-2 decision over Logan Wolford at 125 and ending with Jorge Sereno’s pin of Austin Wendling at 152 to open up a 34-9 cushion.
Tyler Curtis (130) and Jordan Hamdan (140) also earned pins during the pivotal run.
Most state team championships
(since team format in 1988)
Dundee - 10
New Lothrop - 8
Richmond - 8
Lowell - 8
Detroit Catholic Central - 7
Hudson - 7
Davison - 6
Addison - 5