By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Many of Division 2’s contenders this weekend hope it’s an MHSAA Finals filled with second chances.
Six of 10 favorites highlighted below were runners-up a year ago, two losing by a mere point in their championship matches.
Follow all matches beginning with Thursday's first round on a subscription basis live on MHSAA.tv, and click here for results at MHSAA.com. And come back to Second Half this weekend as we’ll interview all 14 title winners.
The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard. College choices below are based on reporting by Michigan Grappler.
112: Corey Gamet, Parma Western sophomore (46-0) – Gamet defeated another then-freshman, Chaise Mayer of Warren Woods Tower, 3-2 to win last year's title at 103 and is now 61-1 over two high school seasons after losing most of last winter to a knee injury.
119: Branson Proudlock, Gibraltar Carlson junior (49-0) – After falling by just a point in last season’s 112 championship match, Proudlock enters as the top seed at 119 and a combined 100-2 over the last two seasons.
119: Elijuh Weaver, Warren Woods Tower senior (51-4) – Coming off last season’s championship at 112, he’s not seeded at this weight despite beating top seed Proudlock in last year’s Final; he also finished as an individual runner-up as a sophomore.
125: Dominic LaJoie, Gaylord junior (48-0) – An individual champion as both a freshman and sophomore, he missed a third title last year by just a point losing a 4-3 decision in the 119 Final; he’s seeded first this winter and will continue next season at Cornell University.
130: Drew Marten, Tecumseh senior (51-1) – The champion a year ago at 125 pulled off one of the day’s most unexpected triumphs, downing two-time champion Lucas Hall; it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise though since Marten entered that match 52-1, and now he’s a top seed with a two-year record of 104-2 and a future set at Central Michigan.
140: Trent Lashuay, St. Johns senior (29-6) – Last season’s runner-up at 135 enters this weekend as the top seed at this weight; he fell only 5-2 in last year’s Final and made that run despite entering the weekend with 10 losses.
152: Dustin Gross, Dearborn Heights Annapolis junior (51-0) – He’s seeded second behind also-undefeated Bret Fedewa of St. Johns, but Gross finished runner-up last season at 145 and handed reigning Division 1 145 champion Nathan Atienza of Livonia Franklin his only loss this winter.
171: Connor Charping, Trenton senior (54-1) – After just missing last year’s championship at 160 losing a 3-1 decision on a takedown with 10 seconds remaining, Charping is the top seed at 171 and looking to go out on top.
189: Jelani Embree, Warren Lincoln senior (32-0) – The champion at 171 last season hasn’t lost over the last two, moving to a combined 79-0 as an upperclassmen; he’ll continue his career after this at Michigan.
215: Eli Boulton, Lowell senior (37-3) – He lost by a 9-2 decision in the championship match at this weight last season, but enters his last Finals as the top seed and fresh off a team title last weekend.
Other 2016 runners-up: Warren Woods Tower sophomore Chaise Mayer (112, 48-1, 103 in 2016), Mason senior Brad Wilton (189, 38-3).
Also undefeated: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s freshman Joshua Edmond (135, 49-0), Sparta sophomore Alec Reese (145, 45-0), St. Johns senior Bret Fedewa (152, 49-0), Dexter senior Will Feldkamp (189, 48-0), Cedar Springs senior Patrick DePiazza (285, 44-0).
No. 1 seeds: Gaylord freshman Chayse LaJoie (103, 48-3), Parma Western’s Gamet (112), Gibraltar Carlson’s Proudlock (119), Gaylord’s Dominic LaJoie (125), Tecumseh’s Marten (130), Lowell freshman Austin Boone (135, 36-3), St. Johns’ Lashuay (140), Sparta’s Rees (145), St. Johns’ Fedewa (152), DeWitt senior Lucas McFarland (160, 50-2), Trenton’s Carping (171), Warren Lincoln’s Embree (189), Lowell’s Boulton (215), Cedar Springs' DePiazza (285).
PHOTO: Warren Woods Tower’s Elijuh Weaver (top) works toward a win during the Division 2 championship match against Lowell on Saturday. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)