By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
For the second straight season, Division 4 has a chance to contribute to MHSAA wrestling history with a candidate to join the elite list of four-time champions.
Mendon senior Skyler Crespo is one of three contenders this weekend hoping to become the 27th in state history for win four MHSAA Individual Finals titles, and after Hudson’s Jordan Hamdan represented Division 4 in doing so a year ago. Bronson senior Ben Modert will be wrestling for his third title, while Carson City-Crystal senior Jamison Ward and Clinton sophomore Logan Badge are reigning champs as well.
But after those four, only a few more in Division 4 have reached the final matches of the season in the past – making for a lot of opportunities for new faces to make themselves known in front of a Ford Field audience.
Below, we look at 10 contenders to watch in Division 4, plus list all of the top seeds heading into this weekend. Surely we missed a few who will end up among the biggest headliners Saturday – but come back to Second Half early Sunday as we’ll interview and report on all 56 champions.
The “Grand March” on Friday begins at 11 a.m., with five rounds wrestled throughout the day including the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Wrestling picks back up with consolation rounds at 9 a.m. Saturday, and concludes with the championship matches that afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Follow all matches on a subscription basis live on MHSAA.tv, and click here for results at MHSAA.com.
112 Bronson Marry, Hudson sophomore (34-6) – Last season’s runner-up at 103 is the top seed at 112 and has won 21 of his last 22 matches including both last weekend in helping the Tigers to the team runner-up finish in Division 4. He’s 67-15 over his first two seasons.
119 Ben Modert, Bronson senior (50-2) – Modert won at 103 two seasons ago and 112 last year, when he didn’t give up a point over four Individual Finals matches, and he also finished fifth at 103 as a freshman. His two losses this winter both were one-point decisions.
130 Caden Natale, Hudson junior (36-5) – After just missing a first championship last season with a double-overtime loss in the final at 119, Natale is seeded first at this weight. He has 24 wins by pin and four by technical fall. He also finished third at 103 as a freshman.
130 Jacob Shelby, Manchester (48-1) – The two-time Finals placer is looking to leave with a championship after finishing eighth at 119 as a sophomore and runner-up last season at this weight with a 2-0 loss to Jamison Ward (see below) in the championship match. Shelby defeated Natale at Team Finals last weekend, and his lone loss was a one-point decision.
135 Jamison Ward, Carson City-Crystal senior (49-0) – After winning the championship last year at 130, Ward now stands 97-1 over the last two seasons and went over 200 career victories earlier this winter. He’s the top seed at this weight and also took fourth at 119 as a sophomore and second at 103 as a freshman.
140 Matthew Grant, Onaway senior (24-1) – The 2018 runner-up at 135 fell back to sixth at that weight last season. But Grant is back up as the top seed at 140 this weekend, and his only loss this season came to an out-of-state opponent.
145 Skyler Crespo, Mendon senior (49-1) – As noted, Crespo will be one of three this weekend aspiring to a fourth individual championship after winning 125 as a freshman, 135 as a sophomore and 140 last year. He also went over 200 career wins this winter, with his lone loss to an out-of-state opponent. He will wrestle next for Michigan State.
171 Brock Nelson, LeRoy Pine River (19-0) senior – Last season’s runner-up at this weight will look to end his high school career with a first title as well. He was fifth at 135 as a freshman and third at 145 as a sophomore.
171 Brayden Randolph, Clinton junior (51-4) – After falling by just two points in last season’s 160 final, Randolph has stormed back to earn the first seed at this weight. He’s 144-11 over his first three seasons and took third at 160 as a freshman. He and Logan Badge (below) are among representatives from the first-time team champion Redskins.
189 Logan Badge, Clinton sophomore (33-0) – Last season’s champion at 215 is lighter by a weight and the top seed at 189. He is up to 68-2 individually over his first two high school seasons, and this winter he has 19 wins by pin and two more by tech fall.
Additional No. 1 seeds: 103 Manus Bennett, Marlette freshman (41-2); 125 Jaron Johnson, Carson City-Crystal junior (38-0); 152 Thomas Potter, Springport senior (42-1); 160 Trenton Holden, Grass Lake junior (42-1); 215 Camden Orr, New Lothrop junior (40-3); 285 Emmett Bingaman, Mendon senior (46-2).
PHOTO: Mendon’s Skyler Crespo (left) works for control during last season’s Division 4 championship match at 140 pounds. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)