By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
To call the Division 1 Quarterfinal field loaded would be an understatement.
The top seven ranked teams at the end of the regular season all have advanced to this weekend's final rounds at Central Michigan University's McGuirk Arena – paced by a top-seeded Detroit Catholic Central team on one of the most dominant runs in MHSAA history.
Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 1, listed by seed. Quarterfinal matches begin at 2:15 p.m. Friday, with Semifinals at 9 a.m. Saturday and the championship match at 3:30 p.m. All matches this weekend will be streamed live on a subscription basis on MHSAA.tv. For Friday’s schedule and results throughout, check the MHSAA Wrestling page.
The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.
#1 Detroit Catholic Central
Record/rank: 28-1, No. 1
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League
Coach: Mitch Hancock, 10th season (215-43)
Championship history: Eleven MHSAA championships (most recent 2014), two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Devon Johnsen (31-9) jr., 112 Benyamin Kamali (34-3) jr., 112, Rhett Newton (30-8) soph., 119 Derek Gilcher (27-8) fr., 125 Stone Moscovic (26-10) jr., 130 Kevon Davenport (36-3) soph., 140 Joseph Urso (33-12) soph., 145 Cameron Amine (38-3) soph., 152 Aidan Wagh (28-12) jr., 171 Tyler Morland (30-0) sr., 171 Easton Turner (23-9) soph., 189 Dane Flynn (29-9) sr., 215 Jackson Ross (21-9) sr., 285 Nicholas Jenkins (39-1) sr.
Outlook: Hancock has coached four Division 1 championship teams over his decade running the program, but this has been his most dominant so far. The Shamrocks’ only loss was to Ohio power Lakewood St. Edward, and they shut out all three of their postseason opponents so far. Davenport, Amine, Morland and Jenkins all were individual champions last season, while Kamali, Ross and Moscovic were Finals placers.
Record/rank: 24-3, No. 2
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League.
Coach: Roy Hall, 19th season (495-89-1)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA championships (most recent 2006), four runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Andrew Chambal (33-6) fr., 112 Steven Garty Jr. (30-5) soph., 119 Jaron Wilson (30-5) fr., 125 Marc Shaeffer (28-4) fr., 125 AJ Facundo (32-5) jr., 140 Ryan Schlak (32-7) sr., 140 Jay Nivison (24-6) fr., 145 Brian Case (27-6) soph., 160 Cal Stefanko (27-5) jr., 171 Trevor McGowan (28-7) soph., 189 Brenden McRill (34-2) sr., 285 Arron Gilmore (25-9) soph.
Outlook: Last season’s runner-up has eight starters back from the championship match loss to Hartland, despite eight underclassmen (and only three seniors) in this season’s top lineup. McRill won the 189 individual championship last winter, while Facundo was a runner-up (after winning at 112 in 2015) and Case also placed at the Individual Finals. Davison beat DCC in a Semifinal last season by four; in their meeting last month, DCC won 32-22.
#3 Macomb Dakota
Record/rank: 32-3, No. 3
League finish: Second in Macomb Area Conference Red
Coach: Ed Skowneski, fifth season (148-36)
Championship history: Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Brock Prater (41-8) fr., 103 Nick Alayan (48-3) soph., 112 Andrew Barrett (29-9) soph., 112 Justin Tiburcio (45-8) soph., 125 Nick Barrett (45-7) sr., 130 Tyler Sanders (37-2) jr., 152 Christian Karges (41-13) jr., 152 Dustin Solomon (40-6) soph., 160 Layne Malczewski (50-3) jr., 171 Frank Alcini (37-15) sr., 285 Rhami Khalil (47-7) jr.
Outlook: Dakota has moved up to a third seed from sixth last season and with 11 Individual Finals qualifiers after coming to CMU with four a year ago. The Cougars got past No. 9 New Baltimore Anchor Bay to return to the Quarterfinals for the fourth time under Skowneski. Sanders was the individual runner-up last season, losing his championship match by just a point, and he’s one of 10 upperclassmen expected to start. Malczewski and Tiburcio also placed individually last winter.
Record/rank: 24-5, No. 4
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Paul McDevitt, 23rd season (488-177-2)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2011, two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 119 Daltan Myers (16-12) jr., 130 Garrett Tyrrell (38-10) sr., 135 Sergio Borg (22-5) jr., 140 Ryan Miller (32-12) jr., 145 Caleb Tabert (39-12) soph., 152 Trent Myre (38-12) soph., 160 Devin Trevino (43-6) soph., 215 Byron Schlickenmeyer (33-4) sr.
Outlook: Oxford has won 10 straight league titles and 12 District championships over the last 13 seasons under McDevitt, who also has led nine of his last 10 teams to the Quarterfinals and reportedly will retire from coaching after this season. The next coach will inherit a strong group; McDevitt’s team will march into this weekend with only four senior starters but eight individual qualifiers. Borg was a placer last season.
Record/rank: 32-3, No. 5
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
Coach: Todd Cheney, 25th season (699-100-2)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2016, five MHSAA runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Wyatt Nault (47-8) fr., 112 Corey Cavanaugh (49-9) soph, 119 Kyle Kantola (47-9) soph., 130 Hayden Culver (41-14) sr., 140 Tanner Culver (30-6) soph., 145 Reece Hughes (37-1) sr., 152 River Shettler (48-6) soph., 160 Joey Livingston (43-5) jr., 189 Andrew Spisz (49-4) sr.
Outlook: After a number of just-misses, Hartland finally got its championship last season and returns five starters from that title match. Along the way this time, the Eagles avenged an earlier loss to No. 8 Walled Lake Central, in the Regional Semifinal, after clinching their 16th league title over the last 17 seasons. Hughes won the individual title at 140 last season and Spisz, Kantola and Cavanaugh also were placers.
#6 Westland John Glenn
Record/rank: 29-6, No. 6
League finish: First in KLAA South, Kensington and overall
Coach: Bill Polk, 19th season (369-115)
Championship history: Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Kyle Borthwell (23-5) soph.; 119 Mikey Mars (53-2) jr., 125 Isaac Lefler (48-7) jr., 135 Anthony Gibson (49-4) jr., 145 John Siemasz (47-6) jr., 189 Lional Cornish (28-19) fr., 215 JaWuan Peete (46-5) sr., 285 Brandon Carreathers (34-11) sr.
Outlook: John Glenn is back at the Quarterfinals for the first time since back-to-back trips in 2009 and 2010 and after upping its win total each of the last three seasons. The Rockets beat Novi and No. 8 Walled Lake Central to win the overall KLAA title, and earned an eight-point win over Temperance Bedford to get to CMU. Mars won the individual title at 112 last season, and Siemasz was runner-up at 135; Borthwell also placed.
Record/rank: 14-5, unranked
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Bubba Gritter, seventh season (113-38)
Championship history: Two MHSAA championships (most recent 1993), three runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 125 Anthonie Taylor (30-9) fr., 130 Mason Priest (34-8) sr., 145 Allan Matthews (19-10) jr., 152 Kameron Bush (35-1) sr., 160 Jake Paganelli (28-15) soph., 171 Sam Greco (38-4) sr., 189 Ryan Vasbinder (18-1) sr., 215 Ian Hall (29-8) sr., 215 Bryce Henning (15-19) sr.
Outlook: An experienced lineup with six seniors and nine upperclassmen among the starting 14 will bring Grandville back to the Quarterfinals. The Bulldogs advanced with a 20-point win over league rival and No. 10-ranked Rockford in the Regional Final after losing to the Rams by nine in January. Bush is the reigning individual champion at 152 pounds
Record/rank: 16-8, No. 7
League finish: Second in the KLAA West
Coach: Tony Greathouse, fourth season (89-24)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2015.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Logan Kehres (29-16) fr., 103 Ben Manly (37-8) soph., 119 Eddie Homrock (30-9) fr., 125 Seth Soto (27-18) sr., 135 Dane Donabedian (22-17) fr., 140 Lee Grabowski (40-6) sr., 145 Nick Bleise (215) jr.) 171 Jake Soop (31-12) sr.
Outlook: Brighton is another contender from the loaded KLAA and got to CMU in part by avenging last year’s Regional upset by Grand Ledge. The Bulldogs have five freshmen among eight underclassmen in the starting lineup, but three that have qualified for the Individual Finals – and this tournament experience no doubt will pay off for seasons to come. In the meantime, Brighton is the rare state-ranked eighth seed filling out a strong field.
PHOTO: Hartland's Reece Hughes (left) and Davison's Cal Stefanko, facing off at last season's Division 1 Final, have led their teams back to McGuirk Arena. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)