D1 Preview: Favorites Vie for 1st Title

February 26, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

This weekend’s MHSAA Team Finals Division 1 bracket seems a little upside-down from what we usually expect at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.

Last season’s finalists – champion Detroit Catholic Central and runner-up Davison – will instead face off in a Friday Quarterfinal. The top seeds – Brighton and New Baltimore Anchor Bay – are seeking their first championship match berths.

Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 1, listed by seed. Their Quarterfinal matches begin at 3:15 p.m. Friday, with Semifinals at 9:30 Saturday morning and the championship match at 4 p.m. All matches this weekend will be streamed live on a subscription basis on MHSAA.TV. For results throughout, check the MHSAA Wrestling page. (Records below are based on those submitted for the Individual Finals.)

#1 Brighton

Record/rank: 26-1, No. 1
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association (Lakes and overall)
Coach: Tony Greathouse, second season (53-8)
Championship history: Has never finished among the top two teams in Finals competition.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Lee Grabowski (34-9) soph., 119 Grant Morrison (39-12) jr., 119 Jackson Renicker (39-9) jr., 130 Kyle Bohnsack (30-15) sr., 145 Ryan Salmon (31-9) sr., 152 Tanner Maschke (40-8) sr., 160 Beau Mourer (40-7) sr., 171 Nicholas Brish (41-2) sr., 215 Eric Conquest (40-9) jr., 215 Lucas Ready (45-2) jr.
Outlook: This will be Brighton’s third Quarterfinal appearance in five seasons. Greathouse previously took Tecumseh to the Semifinals in 2012 and can rely on a lineup with 13 upperclassmen including 12 seniors. Brish and Ready were Individual Finals placers in 2014. Brighton’s only loss this winter was to Division 2 top-ranked Lowell, and that dual came down to the final match.

#2 New Baltimore Anchor Bay

Record/rank: 36-0, No. 2
League finish: First in Macomb Area Conference Red.
Coach: Jim Morisette, 25th season (606-223)
Championship history: Has never finished among the top two teams in Finals competition.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Jack Medley (50-1) soph., 119 Nolan Romanoski (44-8) jr., 125 Jeff Andrews (41-9) jr., 130 Adam Wiscombe (43-10) sr., 135 Joey Dombrowski (41-2) sr., 152 Tyler Grimsley (51-1) sr., 171 Ross Morisette (39-6) sr.
Outlook: Anchor Bay is making its third Quarterfinal appearance and first since 2010; that season it fell to eventual champion Detroit Catholic Central, and in 2006 the Tars lost to eventual runner-up Hartland. Anchor Bay has crushed its postseason competition, allowing only a combined 28 points in four matches. Medley, Dombrowski and Grimsley all were Individual Finals placers last season and are among 14 on the team with at least 30 wins.

#3 Hartland

Record/rank: 29-3, No. 3
League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
Coach: Todd Cheney, 23rd season (631-95-2)
Championship history: Four MHSAA runner-up finishes (most recent 2007).
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Noah Lopez (38-6) jr., 112 Garnet Potter (45-5) soph., 130 Reece Hughes (46-5) soph., 135 Sage Castillo (41-6) jr., 145 Logan Vish (42-4) jr., 152 Jacob Gorial (51-0) sr., 171 Lucas Laforge (44-8) jr., 171 Andrew Spisz (31-13) soph., 215 Jake Economou (33-6) sr.
Outlook: This is Hartland’s 14th straight trip to the Quarterfinals, and it's seeking its first championship match berth since finishing runner-up for the fourth straight season in 2007. The Eagles defeated No. 6 Walled Lake Central in the Regional on the way to Battle Creek and will try to advance to their sixth straight Semifinal. Castillo and Gorial were Individual Finals placers last season – and Gorial is one of only four seniors on the roster.

#4 Detroit Catholic Central

Record/rank: 22-3, No. 4
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League.
Coach: Mitch Hancock, eighth season (171-35)
Championship history: Eleven MHSAA championships (most recent 2014), two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Aaron Rehfeldt (32-15) jr., 125 Tommy Herrmann (33-13) sr., 130 Trevor Zdebski (41-5) sr., 160 Myles Amine (42-0) sr., 171 Tyler Morland (22-1) soph., 189 Nick Giese (37-14) sr., 285 Nick Jenkins (37-14) soph.
Outlook: The Shamrocks have won four Division 1 titles in five seasons and entered as only the third seed last year before winning again – although this year’s fourth seed comes with a rematch of last year’s Final. DCC rebuilt a bit this winter after graduating some strong contributors from the last few seasons, but still enters this weekend with reigning champions Amine and Zdebski and another placer from last season in Giese.

#5 Davison

Record/rank: 19-6, No. 5
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley Association
Coach: Roy Hall, 18th season (445-78-1)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA championships (most recent 2006), three runner-up finishes. 
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Max Johnson (40-7) jr., 112 Augustine Facundo (32-8) fr., 119 Deven Perez (42-10) jr., 130 Ryan Schlak (32-14) soph., 135 Lincoln Olson (46-0) sr., 140 Hunter Fifield (37-7) sr., 145 Kurt Schlak (33-14) jr., 160 Brenden McRill (36-9) soph., 171 Mike Kennedy (25-14) sr., 189 Tanner Thomas (24-8) jr., 215 Dakota Powers (32-12) sr., 215 Jake Ellis (36-8) sr.
Outlook: The runner-up the last two seasons, Davison is looking to continue its championship match streak from a tougher spot after entering last season as the top seed. But the Cardinals do have Olson – who next weekend will go for a fourth individual title – and another reigning champ in Johnson plus a returning placer in McRill.

#6 Monroe

Record/rank: 37-3, No. 10
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference Red.
Coach: Don Mayes, seventh season (162-73)
Championship history: Has never finished among the top two teams in Finals competition.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Neil Antrassian (48-9) fr., 112 Carl Antrassian (53-2) jr., 140 Logan DiCarlo (41-5) sr., 160 Travis Labell (39-9) sr., 171 Tyler Hammack (53-3) sr.
Outlook: Monroe is making its second appearance in the Quarterfinals after also advancing in 2003 and winning its first District title since 2010. Monroe may have the most senior-dominated lineup at the Finals this weekend, with 10 starters and one at every weight from 125-189. Carl Antrassian is only a junior, but was Individual Finals runner-up at 103 last winter.

#7 Grand Haven

Record/rank: 26-3, No. 7
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red.
Coach: James Richardson, 17th season (304-92)
Championship history: Has never finished among the top two teams in Finals competition.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 125 Camden Bertucci (39-0) sr., 135 Antonio Reyes (35-4) sr., 140 Evan Johnson (34-11) sr., 160 Aaron Cummings (38-6) sr., 189 Nick Mulcahy (39-9) sr., 285 Chase VanHoef (38-3) sr.
Outlook: Grand Haven is back in the Quarterfinals for the second time and first since 2012 after edging No. 8 Grandville 31-30 in their Regional Final. The Buccaneers have 15 District titles in Richardson’s 17 seasons but this winter have set a high for victories during his tenure. VanHoef was an Individual Finals placer last season.

#8 Oxford

Record/rank: 16-7, unranked
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red.
Coach: Paul McDevitt, 18th season (362-147)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2011, two runner-up finishes.  
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Ryan Miller (34-11) fr., 112 Sergio Borg (39-9) fr., 125 Alex Hrisopoulos (45-3) jr., 130 Vinny Vackaro (34-14) soph., 135 Collin Campbell (42-6) sr., 189 Wyatt Harden (35-7) jr., 285 Adam Schlickenmeyer (29-12) jr.
Outlook: Oxford is making its seventh Quarterfinal appearance in eight seasons. Hrisopoulos was the Individual Finals runner-up at 112 in 2014 and is the only non-senior captain for a lineup that starts only two seniors total and has eight underclassmen among regulars.

PHOTO: Detroit Catholic Central's Nick Giese (right) and Davison's Jake Ellis faced off in last season's Division 1 Final and will help lead their teams back to Battle Creek on Friday. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)