Detroit — Kevon Davenport looked relaxed and confident Friday at Ford Field, attempting to become the first four-time African-American state champion in the state's history, as well as Detroit Catholic Central’s first four-time state champ.
Davenport stepped on to one of the 20 mats placed on the field in the early afternoon and quickly took care of his first-round opponent with a 41-second pin of Devon Pietila of Hartland in the Division 1 145-pound weight class.
Then, Davenport took the mat just before 5 p.m. for his quarterfinal match and had a second-round pin of Jack Richardson of Rockford.
Next up was a semifinal match against Damon Dunbar of Birmingham Groves just after 8 p.m., and he came away with a 14-6 win to move on to Saturday’s 3 p.m. title match.
“I could be the first four-time African-American state champion ever and I think that’s really special, just feel I’m wrestling really well right now, going out and getting on my offense and putting pressure on guys early,” Davenport said. “I feel like this is my bracket to win so whoever wins this bracket it’s going to be either because I did my job or I didn’t do my job, but I feel like this bracket is in my hands right now. I’m just trying to come out, wrestle to the best of my ability, leave things up to God and hope for the best.”
So, what does Davenport do between matches?
“Yes, it’s hours, like two or three hours between matches so I just go back to my hotel, it’s only a couple of blocks away and I thank my coaches for that, for getting such a great hotel,” Davenport said. “I’ll just go back to my hotel and relax. Me, Cameron Amine and Josh Edmond, we’re all in the same room. We joke around and have fun between the sessions. We try to talk about anything except wrestling. When we’re outside of this arena, it’s all about things that are fun, lighthearted because once we’re in here it’s all business.”
Davenport was hungry after his quarterfinal match, wanted to go for some pasta, but said he’d probably just go for some peanut and jelly sandwiches.
Davenport, who will wrestle next year at Nebraska, won his first two state championships at The Palace, his freshman year at 119 pounds, then at 130 his sophomore season. He won at 145 his junior year at Ford Field.
“I think it’s really cool,” Davenport said of wrestling at Ford Field. “I loved The Palace as a venue more, but I’m more of a football guy personally so being here is super cool. Man, there’s guys like Golden Tate when he was here last year (before he was traded to Philadelphia Eagles) and Marvin Jones Jr., guys like that who catch touchdowns in these end zones and I get to wrestle in the state final later in one of these end zones and I just think it’s super cool.”
Catholic Central won its third straight Division 1 team championship last Saturday in Kalamazoo to become the first Class A/Division 1 team to win seven state titles in a decade.
Catholic Central came into the weekend with the opportunity to have its wrestlers compete in the title match against each other in three weight classes. However, 10 of the 14 state qualifiers moved on to the semifinal round, but only Derek Gilcher and Marc Shaeffer had the chance to face each other Saturday (140 pounds) with a state title on the line since Logan Sanom lost his quarterfinal match at 145 to Jack Samuels of Hudsonville and Joe Urso lost his quarterfinal match to Josh Kenny of Grandville at 152.
And, Gilcher defeated Rhett Newton of Brighton 6-0 in one semifinal while Shaeffer defeated Mason Grasso of Brownstown Woodhaven 3-1 in the other for the right to battle for the state championship.
“I have my teammate Marc Shaeffer, who transferred in from Davison, and I’ve known him for a long time,” said Gilcher who won the title at 135 pounds last year, defeating Shaeffer, who was then wrestling at Davison, 3-1 in a quarterfinal match. “It’s a little weird facing him, but it won’t be the first tournament I’ve seen him this year in the finals, not sure if it was at the C.C. Invite, districts or regionals, but I beat him, like, 5-2 so I’m confident.”
Catholic Central will send eight wrestlers to championship matches with Joshua Edmond (135), Amine (152), Easton Turner (189), Brendin Yatooma (215) and Steven Kolcheff (285) joining Davenport, Gilcher and Shaeffer. CC had five wrestlers win state championships in each of the previous three years.
Amine will try to become a three-time state champion when he faces Jaden Fisher of Lake Orion in the final. Amine earned three pins on the day to improve to 36-0.
Joshua Edmond, like Gilcher a junior, certainly was confident in his semifinal match, coming up with a first-period pin over Zach Johnson of Brighton.
“I train hard all year round so when I go out there and wrestle I feel like I should dominate every time,” said Edmond, whose workout partners include Gilcher, Amine and Davenport.
Edmond won the state title at 130 pounds last year and finished second while wrestling for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s his freshman year. He has multiple offers, including Penn State, Michigan and Oklahoma State.
Hudson’s Hamdan closes in on title No. 4
Jordan Hamdan of Hudson, like Davenport, is trying to become the state’s 25th four-time state champion.
Hamdan, who owns a career record of 207-8, won the title at 112 his freshman year in Division 4, at 119 as a sophomore and at 130 last season. He earned a 21-second pin in his first-round match at 135, then a 16-0 technical fall win in his quarterfinal match before a 15-0 tech fall semifinal win to push his record to 49-0 this season.
“I just go out there, focus the same way like I do in the practice room, pushing myself to have the best match I can and have fun out there,” said Hamdan who will wrestle next year at Michigan State. “I’m going to go out there tomorrow and treat it the same, just like a normal match, try to score and minimize his points and stick to what I know.”
Hamdan will face Logan Zell of New Lothrop in the championship match.
Comar, Trombley reach milestones
Clinton senior Noah Comar was among wrestlers reaching milestones, coming up with his 150th career pin in his quarterfinal match at 125 pounds in Division 4. Comer lost in the 112-pound final his freshman year, then won the state championship at 112 his sophomore year before losing in the 125-pound final last year. He will face Noah Cantu of Hartford in the title match
Lake Fenton senior Sean Trombley earned his 200th career win in the Division 3 152-pound quarterfinal. Trombley lost in the state championship match the last two years, at 145 last year and at 140 in ’17. He will face Stoney Buell of Dundee in the championship match.