By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The power stacking up at this season's Division 1 Quarterfinals begins at the top and continues all the way through the final seed in Friday's bracket.
Leading off of course is three-time reigning champion Detroit Catholic Central, followed by Davison, Brighton and Hartland – the only other teams to wrestle in a Division 1 championship match over the last seven years.
But the lower half of this weekend's bracket appears historically strong. While the top four teams will send a combined 49 qualifiers to next weekend's Individual Finals at Ford Field, the combination of Temperance Bedford, Rockford, Clarkston and Macomb Dakota will send 37.
The Division 1 Quarterfinals will be wrestled at 2:15 p.m. Friday. Top seed Detroit Catholic Central will wrestle Macomb Dakota, No. 2 Davison will take on Clarkston, No. 3 Brighton will face Rockford and No. 4 Hartland will match up with Temperance Bedford. Semifinals are 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with the championship match that afternoon at 3:45 p.m. All matches this weekend will be viewable live on a subscription basis on MHSAA.tv. For Friday’s schedule and results throughout, check the MHSAA Wrestling page.
Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 1, listed by seed.
#1 Detroit Catholic Central
Record/rank: 17-3, No. 1
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League
Coach: Mitch Hancock, 13th season (290-48)
Championship history: Fourteen MHSAA championships (most recent 2019), two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Drew Heethuis (34-6) fr., 112 Dylan Gilcher (36-3) fr., 112 Anthony Walker (30-7) soph., 125 Caleb White (25-16) sr., 125 T.J. Bunn (23-9) fr., 135 Philip Burney (36-8) jr., 135 Camden Trupp (29-5) jr., 140 Josh Edmond (37-0) sr., 145 Marc Shaeffer (28-11) sr., 152 Logan Sanom (38-8) sr., 160 Derek Gilcher (38-2) sr., 189 Manuel Rojas (39-1) soph., 215 Brendin Yatooma (38-1) sr., 285 Steven Kolcheff (39-2) sr.
Outlook: The Shamrocks will be trying to build on three straight Division 1 titles, again bringing a full 14 individual qualifiers to Kalamazoo. DCC expects to maneuver its lineup to start 13 of those qualifiers this weekend, led by two-time reigning individual champs Edmond and Gilcher. Yatooma and Kolcheff also won individual titles in 2019, Shaeffer was a runner-up (to Gilcher) and Walker, Trupp and Sanom were Finals placers. DCC shut out three of its first four postseason opponents, allowing three points in the fourth match.
Record/rank: 18-2, No. 2
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League
Coach: Roy Hall, 23rd season (556-99-1)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA championships (most recent 2006), five runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Caden Horwath (36-2) fr., 112 Aden Williams (29-7) soph., 119 Cameron Freeman (14-10) soph., 125 Andrew Chambal (35-5) sr., 125 Kyle White (23-13) soph., 130 Jaron Wilson (21-8) sr., 135 Evan Herriman (26-8) fr., 145 James Johnston (19-6) jr., 152 Josh Barr (32-0) fr., 160 Jay Nivison (31-4) sr., 171 Alex Facundo (33-1) jr., 189 Max Callahan (19-4) fr., 215 Jimmy Colley (29-8) soph., 285 Tyler Jelinek (21-12) jr.
Outlook: Davison has made nine straight Quarterfinals and seven straight Semifinals, but is looking to get back to the championship match for the first time since 2017. The Cardinals have given up a combined 23 points over four postseason wins, and done so impressively with a lineup starting eight underclassmen and with three more among top reserves. Davison has 14 Individual Finals qualifiers as well. Facundo is a two-time individual champion and Chambal won a title as a sophomore and finished runner-up at his weight a year ago. Williams also was a Finals runner-up last season, and Nivison and Colley placed.
Record/rank: 22-3, No. 3
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West and overall
Coach: Al Freeman, first season (22-3)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2015, runner-up 2018 and 2019.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Quaylon Newton (34-7) soph., 112 Aiden Smith (36-10) soph., 119 Travis Richardson (36-14) fr., 125 Mason Shrader (37-5) jr., 130 Sam Freeman (35-5) sr., 135 Eddie Homrock (38-3) sr., 140 Zach Johnson (37-7) jr., 152 Aiden Brown (24-17 sr., 171 Harley Berne (20-7) sr., 171 Dane Donabedian (34-7) sr., 189 Greyson Stevens (38-2) sr., 215 Luke Stanton (27-3) sr.
Outlook: Brighton is seeking its third-straight championship match appearance after coming within 15 points of DCC in last year’s Final. The Bulldogs again emerged from a KLAA that had three teams ranked among the top nine in Division 1, then beat No. 6 Holt 55-8 in the Regional Final. Al Freeman formerly served as Walled Lake Central’s head coach from 2006-18 and has built a lineup with seven senior starters led by last year’s 125-pound champion Homrock. Smith, Sam Freeman, Shrader, Johnson, Donabedian, Stevens and Stanton all placed as well at last year’s Individual Finals.
Record/rank: 26-1, No. 4
League finish: Second in KLAA West
Coach: Todd Cheney, 28th season (787-111-2)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2016, five runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Patrick Wlodyga (41-3) soph., 112 Nick Huntsman (34-12) jr., 130 Gabe Cappellano (36-9) soph., 140 Nick Rochowiak (40-5) fr., 145 Nick Dimitroff (27-9) fr., 145 Justin VanVaerenber (42-3) jr., 171 Avery Dickerson (42-1) soph., 189 Paul Corder (37-7) jr., 285 Cameron Shirley (31-15) jr.
Outlook: Hartland will be making a 19th-consecutive Quarterfinal appearance, and this season with just one loss – to Brighton, seeded just ahead of the Eagles. They have given up just 22 points total over four postseason matches and could be even scarier next season – Hartland doesn’t have a senior in the expected starting lineup for this weekend and will be anchored by six juniors. Sophomore Ethan Kinch didn’t advance to the Individual Finals this season, but did place last year as a freshman.
#5 Temperance Bedford
Record/rank: 33-1, No. 5
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference
Coach: Kevin Vogel, ninth season (213-52)
Championship history: 11 MHSAA titles (most recent 2001), seven runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Brock Jandasek (35-15) fr., 125 Caleb Jagielski (34-8) fr., 140 Randy Boisselle (42-4) soph., 145 Rollie Denker (42-6) soph., 152 Mason Rimmer (47-4) sr., 160 Logan Frantz (37-12) sr., 189 Colin Jagielski (42-2) sr., 215 Cage Dye (39-8) sr.
Outlook: Bedford is back at the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 after winning its fifth straight league and District championships and getting past No. 9 Westland John Glenn 39-24 in the Regional Final. Boisselle was the team’s lone Individual Finals placer last season, coming in eighth at 135 as a freshman. But he’s one of five Kicking Mules with at least 40 wins this winter. Junior Chase Grzegorczyk (119/40-7) is another; he didn’t qualify for Ford Field but has been a top contributor.
Record/rank: 26-2, No. 7
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Brian Richardson, 11th season (236-111)
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2009), three runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Jak Keller (35-7) fr., 112 Elijah Bunn (33-6) fr., 130 Ashton Halland (32-10) sr., 140 Trenton Wachter (32-3) jr., 145 Evan Kaser (34-5) sr., 152 Moses Bosscher (34-7) jr., 160 Josh Hill (29-11) sr., 189 Cole Gleason (33-3) jr., 215 Reid Nicholson (27-10) sr.
Outlook: After reaching the Quarterfinals last season for the first time since 2010, Rockford is back again and an intriguing six seed with nine Individual Finals qualifiers. Ten starters are upperclassmen – half are seniors – while juniors Wachter and Gleason were individual placers a year ago.
Record/rank: 21-4, No. 8
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Joe Wood, third season (65-19)
Championship history: Class A champion 1991, runner-up 1995.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 125 Ashton Anderson (34-6) jr., 140 Presley Pearce (31-14) sr., 152 Grady Castle (25-10) jr., 160 Hayden Payne (36-11) jr., 189 Drew Stark (21-15) jr., 189 Frank Davis (30-8) sr., 215 Jacob Jones (24-4) sr.
Outlook: Similar to Rockford, Clarkston reached the Quarterfinals last season for the first time since 2007 and quickly returned with four dominating postseason wins earlier this month. All but two weights in the expected starting lineup are filled by upperclassmen, including six seniors. Castle also was an Individual Finals qualifier in 2019.
#8 Macomb Dakota
Record/rank: 20-8, unranked
League finish: Third in Macomb Area Conference Red
Coach: Ed Skowneski, eighth season (227-54)
Championship history: Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Caleb Weiand (36-12) fr., 112 Orion Wilson (41-8) fr., 119 Brendan Ferretti (29-1) jr., 125 Nathan Smith (36-13) sr., 130 Brad Weiand (41-7) sr., 130 Kenneth Crutchfield (24-15) sr., 135 Austen Alkazir (35-7) soph.; 140 Sal Tundis (32-16) jr.; 145 Joseph Papas (37-5) sr., 160 Aiden Dale (26-20) soph.; 215 Josh Stokes (39-9) jr.
Outlook: Dakota is heading into its fifth-straight trip to the Quarterfinals with a strong resume for an eight seed. The Cougars will take 11 qualifiers to the Individual Finals – two more than last season when it was a seven seed. Ferretti was last year’s champion at 112 pounds, and Brad Weiand is a returning individual qualifier.
PHOTO: Detroit Catholic Central's Josh Edmond gets a hold on Brighton's Aiden Brown during the last match of last season's Division 1 Final. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)