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.
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.)