By Chris Phifer
Special to Second Half
AUBURN HILLS, MI – For the past decade, the name Simaz has rung through the walls of The Palace of Auburn Hills in early March.
And it's had a championship ring.
Four Simaz brothers – Eric, Cam, Taylor and Kyle – have won eight individual titles at the MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals, starting with Eric and Cam in 2005, and ending with Kyle on Saturday in the 145-pound match in Division 3.
He beat Chad Decker of Grass Lake 27-12 for his second title.
Total family titles: one by Eric, three by Cam, two by Taylor and two by Kyle.
“I think that's awesome,” Simaz said. “Our family is very competitive. A jog around the Simaz house is a race. We have a very competitive family.”
Simaz says this title did not come without trepidation.
“This weekend is a very stressful weekend,” Simaz said. “I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad I came out on top.”
Champion: Tristan Serbus, Corunna, Soph. (46-1)
Decision, 10-6 over Brendan Abrigo, Manchester, Jr. (52-3)
Serbus had something to prove.
He lost to Abrigo earlier this season, but that would not stop him from achieving what he had been working for his whole season – beating Abrigo in the 103-pound championship match.
And he stayed on the offensive to do that, beating him 10-6 for the title.
“It feels awesome,” Serbus said. “I worked hard and attacked, attacked, attacked. I am so glad I have my coaches and teammates.”
Champion: Aaron Kilburn, Richmond, Soph. (40-5)
Decision, 4-1 over K.J. Suitor, Saginaw Swan Valley, Soph. (54-3)
Kilburn improved on last year's third-place finish by controlling Suitor for a 4-1 victory.
Kilburn cruised through his first match with a fall in the second period. He continued with a 9-2 victory over Nolan Saxton from Lakeview. In the Semifinal, he outlasted Arthur Paine from Montrose 3-0, setting up his final match with Suitor.
“I thought that I wrestled well the whole tournament,” Kilburn said. “It feels better taking first than third, I can tell you that.”
Champion: Devin Schroder, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Soph. (40-4)
Decision, 5-2 over Kanen Storr, Leslie, Soph. (57-2)
Schroder won his second straight MHSAA title in what proved to be one of the most competitive weights in the Finals tournament, regardless of division.
His Semifinal match was a repeat of last year’s championship matchup, as Schroder worked his way to a 10-3 decision over Alex Martinez of Ida.
He continued to roll in the Final, defeating Leslie’s Storr, a champion himself in 2013.
It was sweet accomplishment for Schroder, who focused on this weekend to fuel his work ethic and dedication the last few weeks.
“You have down points during the season,” said Schroder, who lost four matches this year after going undefeated last year. “However, you look forward to the state tournament, because it pushes you to get better.”
Champion: Foster Karmon, Allegan, Soph. (58-2)
Decision, 2-1 over Jerry Fenner, Birch Run, Jr. (48-6)
Karmon had to endure two close matches to claim his first title. He used strategy and savvy wrestling to overcome Fenner in the Final.
This coming after he beat Matt Santos of Saginaw Swan Valley in the Semifinal 2-1.
“I had to keep my offense going (during the third period up 2-0),” Karmon said. “I knew if I backed up I would get called for stalling, so I had to stay on him like I did earlier in the match.”
Champion: Grant Turnmire, Almont, Jr. (47-4)
Fall, 0:38 over Zane Corey, Allegan, Sr. (45-4)
All it took was one big headlock, and support from his dad, to propel Turnmire to his first MHSAA title. Turnmire used an impressive headlock to pin Corey in 38 seconds.
After that he rushed to hug his father and coach, Bill Turnmire.
“It is special to win a state title,” Grant Turnmire said. “My dad has supported me throughout. This is very special.”
Champion: Nate Limmex, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Jr. (23-0)
Technical Fall, 17-2 in 3:42 over Alex Young, Portland, Jr. (34-9)
Being injured in January did not stop Limmex from capturing his second MHSAA title in two years. Limmex had some tight matches on his path to the Final, but came away unscathed.
He dominated talented Young from Portland from the start, completing his 17-2 technical fall in the second period.
“I have been working on transitioning from leg attacks to turks because it will lead to more opportunities for back points,” Limmex said. “It is not boring winning two state titles. It feels good knowing that the hard work pays off.”
Champion: Zehlin Storr, Leslie, Sr. (61-0)
Decision, 3-1 over Doug Rojem, Dundee, Sr. (47-6)
Wrestling a returning champ at the same weight might seem intimidating to the average person.
However, when you are a person like Storr, it is not intimidating; it is motivating.
He used wrestling knowledge and craftiness on his way to a second MHSAA championship, beating a very talented Rojem, who also was attempting to win his second title.
“I wanted to beat his defense with my offense,” Storr said. “This year, I can say I had a blast. ”
Champion: Devin Skatzka, Richmond, Jr. (40-3)
Fall, 1:01 over Eric Coval, Manchester, Sr. (37-1)
“Pin to win” is a motto that many wrestlers and coaches use to motivate.
However, Skatzka takes this to heart.
He went through the entire Finals pinning every opponent in the first period, one in just 15 seconds.
That led to his third MHSAA title.
“I really did not expect it, especially against Coval (when talking about pinning every opponent in the first period),” Skatzka said. “I was really looking for that pin. I am very proud of myself.”
Champion: Tristen Zienkiewicz, Farwell, Sr. (49-2)
Decision, 4-3 over Jared Elliott, Birch Run, Sr. (48-6)
Many wrestlers have moves they try to execute during every match. The trick is to be able to utilize them in different positions.
Zienkiewicz did just that.
With only eight seconds left in is final match against Elliott, he executed a fantastic inside trip, dragging his feet in bounds for the two-point takedown to secure a 4-3 victory.
“(Hitting an inside trip with eight seconds to go), I thought my God, my God, my dream came true,” Zienkiewicz said. “Whatever is there, I take it.”
Champion: Andy Donoho, Lake Fenton, Sr. (52-7)
Decision, 4-2 over Tye Thompson, Dundee, Jr. (43-7)
Last weekend, Donoho did what was best for his team, bumping up a weight to wrestle Dundee's MHSAA runner-up Teddy Warren at 189 pounds.
This weekend he was able to avenge a loss his teammate Trent Hilger suffered last week at Team Finals, as he beat Thompson in the championship match at 171.
“Gratification, I got it here from great coaches and great workout partners,” Donoho said. “Everyday, we get after it. It was worth it.”
Champion: Jake McKiernan, Richmond, Sr. (37-5)
Decision, 5-0 over Teddy Warren, Dundee, Sr. (25-4)
Wrestling has three positions – neutral, top, and bottom.
McKiernan utilized strategy in the neutral position to come away with a 5-0 victory over Warren.
He knew Warren was good on his feet, so he had to be better than him there, because he knew he could take him on the mat.
“This feels incredible,” McKiernan said. “My coaches helped me mentally. I never really pictured myself in this situation. Getting better in the neutral position was the key, especially in this match.”
Champion: Danny Drummond, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Sr. (33-9)
Decision, 7-4 TB3 over Colin Beebe, Allendale, Sr. (48-1)
Wrestling is a very physical sport. Sometimes matches last a very long time.
Drummond figured his final match with favored Beebe would go into overtime. In fact, it took three overtimes for Drummond to outlast Beebe.
Drummond was able to score an escape with time still remaining. He then was able to secure a late takedown to secure his first title.
“I wrestled him four or five times in two years, and he's beat me every time,” Drummond said. “He is one of the best wrestlers I have ever wrestled. I wanted to pound it on for three periods physically. This feels amazing.”
Champion: Eric Fader, Sandord-Meridian, Sr. (48-5)
Decision, 7-6 TB1 Glenn Geurink, Allendale, Sr. (46-1)
When you think of heavyweight wrestling, you think of a slow-paced chess match, especially when you are talking about title deciders.
Fader and Geurink would disagree.
That's because this match had non-stop action to the end. And in the end, it was Fader that came away with a 7-6 tie-breaker victory.
“I just went out there and did my best,” Fader said. “I had to grind it out, do some set ups, and hit my blast double.”
PHOTO: Allegan's Kyle Simaz has his hand raised in victory during the Division 3 Individual Finals. (Click to see more fromHigh School Sports Scene.)