Detroit Catholic Central senior – Wrestling
The reigning Division 1 champion at heavyweight, Jenkins has again made a heavy impact on the top-ranked Shamrocks’ near-perfect run this season. On Jan. 19, Detroit Catholic Central avenged back-to-back MHSAA Tournament losses to Davison with a 32-22 dual win, and Jenkins clinched the victory over the No. 2-ranked Cardinals with a 3-1 overtime victory against sophomore standout Aaron Gilmore to earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”
A relative newcomer to the sport entering high school, Jenkins has grown into one of the state’s best and moved to 28-1 this winter in the Shamrocks’ win over No. 5 Oxford on Wednesday. He’s top-ranked at his weight by MichiganGrappler.com, coming off last season’s Division 1 Individual Final when he edged Dearborn Heights Crestwood’s Ali Wahab 5-1 while handing Wahab (also the 2015 runner-up) his only loss of last season. Jenkins went on to finish sixth at the Flo Nationals in Pennsylvania last March to earn All-America recognition. His career record is 140-35, and DCC as a team is 21-1 this winter with its only loss to Ohio power Lakewood St. Edward.
Jenkins also started at center this fall for DCC’s football team that advanced to the Division 1 championship game and finished 13-1 with its only loss to Detroit Cass Tech in the Final. He earned all-Detroit Catholic League Central honors in that sport, but will stick to the mat at Central Michigan University. He carries a 3.2 grade-point average and is interested in studying either athletic training or criminal justice.
Coach Mitch Hancock said: “Nick is an exceptional young man who has a work ethic that is very rare in young kids today. He's respected greatly amongst his peers and faculty members here at CC due to his humility, character, and friendliness. Nick is a blue-collared, hardworking individual who prides himself on representing his family, school, and team with pride. He's a great leader and a fantastic individual who has led this team to great success."
Performance Point: “As a team we knew it was a big match for seeding purposes at team states, and we want to get the one seed,” Jenkins said of the Davison match. “We thought we worked for it and we deserve it. Individually, I thought I’d perform better against (Gilmore), and I knew I had to get that win. I didn’t expect him to come out like he did; he surprised me a little bit. But I just kept my focus, tried to get my offense going a little more. I was passive the first two periods, but as the match progressed I started getting more aggressive, getting my leg attacks.”
Always in the title hunt: “We always expect to be great. We know how hard we work, how hard our coaches and staff work, and we expect to be in that position come February and March. We’re a little more unified this year. Losing two years in a row to Davison, that left a bad taste in guys’ mouths. We worked harder in the offseason, for sure.”
Starting from scratch: “I had about a month of wrestling in eighth grade. (But) I really wanted it, and my coaches don’t really let me take reps off. It’s either give everything you have, or don’t do it. Honestly, I’d heard (DCC wrestlers) win a lot, and I love to win, love to compete, and that was a big part of it for me. Around the middle of my sophomore year I saw guys like Myles (Amine), Trevor (Zdebski), how they kept advancing through the season and getting better although they were returning state champs. Everything clicked then. (They taught me) never stop getting better. You’ve got to keep going and going. Wrestling is a hard sport. You’re going to have ups and downs, but if you listen to what your coaches say and do the right things, you’ll have greatness in it.”
Learning to win: “(Success) is just kinda expected at CC. They don’t settle for anything less than giving your best, and if you give your best all the time you’re going to find success on and off the field. My brother (Jordan) went here before me, so I’d experienced that before and I had a solid mentality coming into CC. … (Hancock and football coach Tom Mach) really aren’t too much different. Both teams work hard; the coaches demand success of you. They preach the same messages: consistency, hard work and work ethic.”
Charting the future: “(I’m interested in) athletic training, to get to work in sports and be able to help people out. It’s always been something I liked. Criminal justice is just something I’ve liked since I was a kid … FBI, CIA, that kind of special agent stuff always intrigued me.”
- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2016-17 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.
The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Previous 2016-17 honorees:
Jan. 19: Eileene Naniseni, Mancelona basketball – Read
Jan. 12: Rory Anderson, Calumet hockey – Read
Dec. 15: Demetri Martin, Big Rapids basketball – Read
Dec. 1: Rodney Hall, Detroit Cass Tech football – Read
Nov. 24: Ally Cummings, Novi volleyball – Read
Nov. 17: Chloe Idoni, Fenton volleyball – Read
Nov. 10: Adelyn Ackley, Hart cross country – Read
Nov. 3: Casey Kirkbride, Mattawan soccer – Read
Oct. 27: Colton Yesney, Negaunee cross country – Read
Oct. 20: Varun Shanker, Midland Dow tennis – Read
Oct. 13: Anne Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country – Read
Oct. 6: Shuaib Aljabaly, Coldwater cross country – Read
Sept. 29: Taylor Seaman, Brighton swimming & diving – Read
Sept. 22: Maggie Farrell, Battle Creek Lakeview cross country – Read
Sept. 15: Franki Strefling, Buchanan volleyball – Read
Sept. 8: Noah Jacobs, Corunna cross country – Read
PHOTOS: (Top) DCC's Nick Jenkins wrestles Crestwood's Ali Wahab during last season's Division 1 Final at heavyweight. (Middle) Jenkins salutes the crowd after claiming his first MHSAA individual championship. (Photos courtesy of Detroit Catholic Central high school.)