Detroit — Austin Boone of Lowell knew he would have to be at his best to become the second eight-time state champion in the individual state wrestling finals Saturday afternoon at Ford Field.
Boone, who had helped Lowell to state team championships in each of his four years, had won the 135-pound title his freshman year, 145-pound title as a sophomore and 152-pound championship last year, facing Cornell-bound Chayse LaJoie of Gaylord, who was trying to become a three-time state champion.
Boone took care of business, getting a takedown near the middle of the third period to earn a hard-fought 4-3 decision in the title bout at 145 pounds in Division 2 to join Brent Metcalf of Davison (2002-05) as the only eight-time champions.
“It’s kind of cool, but I don’t pay attention to stuff like that,” said the nonchalant Boone, who will wrestle at Penn State with future goals of taking over his father’s dental practice. “It was a great match. This was my closest final match that I’ve had. He’s a great wrestler and he’s going to do great things in college, but today I got him.”
LaJoie, whose brother Dom LaJoie was a three-time champion before moving on to Cornell, won the title at 103 pounds his freshman year, then at 112 as a sophomore before finishing as a runner-up last year at 125 pounds.
Boone earned an 11-3 major decision win over LaJoie last Saturday in the team finals in Kalamazoo to help Lowell defeat Gaylord 53-4 for its record seventh straight championship.
Skyler Crespo (Michigan State) became Mendon’s first four-time state champion — and the state’s 28th — with an 11-0 major decision over Kent McCombs of Clinton in the Division 4 145-pound title match.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time, it’s indescribable just pure joy,” said Crespo of becoming a four-time state champ. “In the first period, I knew once I took him down I was in good shape, as soon as I got on top I started racking up points and went from there.”
Sean Spidle of Flint Powers didn’t reach his dream of becoming a four-time state champion, losing a 7-3 decision to Hunter Assenmacher of Ida, who became a three-time state champ. Assenmacher also avenged a 7-3 loss to Spidle in the 103-pound state title match in 2017.
“I knew I put in the work the past three years, worked so hard and have been waiting for the chance to come back at him and wrestling him is truly an honor and it was a great match and I was really looking forward to it all year,” said Assenmacher, who finished his career at 194-10.
While Spidle will wrestle next year at Central Michigan, Assenmacher plans to run cross country and track at Lawrence Tech.
Detroit Catholic Central set a program record by winning its fourth straight Division 1 team championship last Saturday.
Catholic Central matched a state record when it had seven wrestlers win individual titles last year, then set a Division 1 record Friday by advancing nine wrestlers into championship bouts.
And, while Catholic Central didn’t match its total of seven champions, it did get its first seven-time champion when Derek Gilcher came away with a 4-3 decision over Davison’s Jay Nivison at 160 pounds.
Gilcher watched his younger brother Dylan cap off his freshman season with an 18-3 tech fall over Aiden Smith of Brighton at 112 pounds.
“I was a little nervous for him (Dylan), just since he’s new, a freshman and had never been through states before so I was more nervous for him than me,” Derek Gilcher said. “He did his job and then I had to go and do mine. The score was close (4-3 decision over Nivison), personally I don’t think it was as close as the score showed. I knew he would try to slow me down, that’s what he did at team states. He was just trying to hold on and keep the score close."
Josh Edmond (140), Manny Rojas (189), Brendin Yatooma (215) and Steven Kolcheff (285) also earned titles for Catholic Central, giving it six state champs with Edmond joining Derek Gilcher as three-time champs and Yatooma and Kolcheff winning titles for the second straight season to close out their careers. Kolcheff won an overtime decision over Jack Swirple (58-2) of Livonia Franklin.
Edmond, who lost to Boone in the Division 2 135-pound title match as a freshman while wrestling at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, said patience was the key.talked on his win.
"When points opened up, I took what I could get and I ended up with the tech and it felt good,” said Edmond (Missouri), who had a 23-7 tech fall win over Zach Johnson of Brighton.
“Most people’s goal is to be a one-time state champ and I just got three, so I think it’s a blessing. I’m just proud to be a part of the CC wrestling family.”
It was Rojas who was involved in the controversial match in last Saturday’s state title match against Davison.
With Davison holding a 17-16 lead, Davison’s Alex Facundo held a 5-1 lead over Rojas when he picked him up and slammed him to the mat, leaving Rojas dazed and needing a five-minute injury timeout. An MHSAA doctor checked Rojas for a possible concussion and said he was unable to continue, disqualifying Facundo and giving Catholic Central six points for a 22-17 lead. Yatooma and Kolcheff followed with pins and a commanding 34-17 cushion.
Rojas tossed the frustration and disappointment from not being able to continue his match against Facundo and focused on returning to the mat where he won the 189-pound title Saturday with a 5-3 decision over Colin Jagielski of Temperance Bedford despite leaving bloodied after getting poked in the eye.
“It happens, it’s wrestling, you get bloodied and beat up, that’s how it is,” Rojas said. “I was proud. I made my family proud. It felt good.”
Facundo (41-2) — a junior and Penn State commit — became a three-time champion at 171 with a 13-5 major decision over Josh Kenny of Grandville.
Davison had four champs with freshman Josh Barr (43-0, 152), Caden Horwath (103) and Andrew Chambal (125) joining Facundo with Chambal being a two-time champion.
Sam Freeman (130) and Eddie Homrock (135) of Brighton won titles with Homrock becoming a two-time champ.
Dundee had seven champions in Division 3 to match Catholic Central’s record from a year ago with Braeden Davis (103), Austin Fietz (130), Casey Swiderski (134), Christian Killion (140), Tyler Swiderski (145), Dominick Lomazzo (152) and Stoney Buell (160) each winning titles.
Dundee looked like it would have an eighth champ, but Ryker Johnecheck of Williamston made a great move in the final seconds and defeated Aiden Davis 3-2 in overtime of the 125-pound final.