Champions repeat at Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills - Kameron Bush of Grandville was placed in an unusual predicament this season. Several of his teammates had too many weighs-ins and competed in one too many competitions during the regular season.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association suspended Grandville from the Division 1 team tournament, but Bush and five if his teammates were still allowed to compete in the individual state tournament.
In an ultra-competitive weight class, Bush worked his way to the finals at 152, then outlasted his opponent, Rochester’s Ryan Morgan, 7-6, at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Bush also defeated previously-unbeaten Sage Castillo of Hartland (5-2) in the quarterfinals Friday.
“This is for all of them,” pointed Bush to his teammates up in the crowd. “Based on (the ruling), a lot of my teammates couldn’t wrestle in the tournament this year, so this was for them.”
Morgan tried for a late reversal, but Bush held firm to win the state title.
“I knew he wasn’t going to pull it on me,” said Bush. “I had the strength to hold him off.”
Morgan, a senior, did not wrestle as a sophomore or junior after competing on Rochester’s Final Four team in 2013. He came back after the two-year hiatus to reach the finals bout.
Montrie Digs Deep
Blake Montrie found a little extra in the tank Saturday night.
The Temperance Bedford senior capped a 53-1 campaign at 160 by topping Clarkston’s Nate Vandermeer, 2-0, in the Division 1 finals at 160 pounds.
Montrie’s decision came in overtime.
“I knew I had to keep working and keep wrestling,” said Montrie. “It was do or die out there in overtime. All the extra hard work paid off in the end, the extra conditioning. I needed it today.”
Pelham finishes 57-0
Midway through his junior football season, Tecumseh Landon Pelham suffered a serious fracture on his left arm. It required surgery and he missed the rest of the football campaign and over half of the 2014-15 wrestling season.
Pelham fought back hard to participate in the D-2 individual state tournament as a junior to finish third at 215. As a senior, he capped an unbeaten 57-0 season with a convincing 9-2 decision over Lowell’s Eli Boultan.
“It feels great, especially considering what happen to me a couple of years ago,” said Pelham, who is headed to Central Michigan University. “I really wanted to have a great senior season. I came back really strong, trained hard and was able to win it.”
Two years ago, older brother Preston Pelham finished second in the state at 285, finishing 55-2 in 2014.
“He’s my best training partner,” noted Landon Pelham. “My whole life we always wrestled in the house—everywhere we went—and we also played football together for years. We are so competitive.
Catholic Central takes five titles
In a weekend of upsets, Detroit Catholic Central 285-pounder Nicholas Jenkins not only added to the list of head-turners, but helped add another page to his school’s growing lore.
In a weight class of highly-ranked wrestlers, Jenkins scored a rash of late points to tackle Ali Wahab of Dearborn Heights Crestwood, 5-3.
“At practice sometimes you get so tired and want to quick, so you work a little harder,” smiled Jenkins. “I think all of it paid off. I had to go for it, be aggressive at the end.”
Jenkins’ state title was part of a grand day for Catholic Central, which tied a state record with five state titles in one day.
Tyler Morland downed Lapeer’s Devon Pingel, 6-2, in the 171-pound finals bout. Freshman Benyamin Kamali (103) avenged Ann Arbor Pioineer’sRayvon Foley, 10-8, in overtime; Kevon Devenport (119) cruised past Davison’s Aj Facundo 8-1 in the finals; and freshman Cameron Amine (125) blanked Southgate Anderson’s Donte Rivera-Garcia 6-0 in his championship bout.
“He beat me earlier in the year at the C.C. duals, so I wanted to face him again. I wanted to come back down to 171 and face him again,” said Morland. “I knew I would face the him in the finals. I am in better condition now than I was back then and I came in here with the mindset of beating him this time.”
C.C. coach Mitch Hancock said it was “one memorable day for Catholic Central wrestling” with a state record.
“We had five champions and they’re all coming back. They all have worked hard to get here and do this and they were rewarded,” said Hancock. “We had eight medalists, two more sixths and a seventh-place finisher and only one of those gentlemen graduate. Last week at the team tournament, it didn’t work out the way we had hoped. We finished 15-2 and lost to Davison both times and lost in the semifinals. But we had a great season overall.
“We tied our state record with five individual state champions,” continued Hancock. “And two of them are freshman. They are all going to enjoy this for now. This is incredible for this young group to come in here and earn eight medals and to have all five of our finalists win state championships. All of their hard work paid off in the end.”
Sterling takes title
One week after helping Dundee capture the Division 3 state title, Sean Sterling captured an individual state title at 152 pounds with a 4-2, overtime decision over Croswell-Lexington’s Collin Lieber.
“It’s amazing winning a team and individual crown one week apart, but it really isn’t about me,” said Sterling. “It’s winning for my team, my coach, and the town. They are the ones up there in the stands watch ing and cheering me on.
Sterling finishes the season 58-1.
Ready on the mark
Last season, Brighton’s Luke Ready won both a team state title and an individual crown. This year with his team being knocked out in the regional semifinals by Grand Ledge, he had to go alone as the school’s sole finalist.
Ready pinned three of his four opponents, including Sam Kinne of Lapeer in 1:57 to earn his second straight state title and third All-State medal.
“I guess it was a little lonely this year. Last year we had a lot of guys here,” said Ready, A Division I recruit. “I think it was a little tougher last year. I mean, my semifinal match over (Oxford’s Wyatt) Harden was probably my toughest in a while. I won that 4-2. I knew I could win it this year again. I just had to wrestle my style. I was aggressive and went for the (pin).”