By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The 2018 Division 3 Individual Wrestling Finals gave fans arguably the highlights of the day at Ford Field, with a pair of four-time champions joining a legendary group.
Those are pretty tough acts to follow, of course. But this season’s contenders have opportunities to stack up impressive accomplishments as well.
Below, we look at 10 contenders to watch in Division 3, plus list everyone who finished at least as a runner-up in 2018 and all of the top seeds heading into this weekend. Surely we still missed a few who will end up rising to the top of the podium 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 p.m.
112: Hunter Assenmacher, Ida junior (46-3) – Last season’s champion at 103 and runner-up at that weight in 2017 owns the top seed at this weight this weekend. After going undefeated last season, his three losses this winter were all to Dundee – twice to 103 top seed Casey Swiderski and then to teammate Austin Fietz.
119: Dametrius Castillo, Alma sophomore (33-4) – After last year becoming Alma’s first individual champion since 1993, Castillo is back not as a top seed but with an opportunity to avenge one his losses on the way to the final. His defeats this winter all were to Finals qualifiers, with Montrose’s Jake Elasivich a possible semifinal opponent.
125 Corey Gamet, Michigan Center senior (43-0) – He’s the top seed at this weight, previously winning championships in Division 2 at 103 as a freshman and 112 as a sophomore while attending Parma Western. This also would be his second perfect high school season if he takes the title.
140: Christian Killion, Dundee junior (41-5) – The top seed at 140 was the runner-up last season at 130 and also finished fourth at 119 as a freshman. His in-state defeats this season were to reigning Finals champions from other divisions, Detroit Catholic Central’s Derek Gilcher (D1) and Mendon’s Skyler Crespo (D4).
145: Trevor Robinson, Shepherd senior (41-2) – The runner-up last season at 135 is the top seed this weekend at 145, with losses only to Finals qualifiers from Divisions 1 and 2. He also was the runner-up at 125 as a freshman before taking third at 130 as a sophomore.
152: Stoney Buell, Dundee sophomore (41-8) – Buell is another on a possible four-title track after winning 135 a year ago. He has more losses than some others, but they are quality. In-state he fell to Lowell’s Avery Mutschler and Austin Boone, St. Johns’ James Whitaker and Detroit Catholic Central’s Cameron Amine – all returning champions or top seeds this weekend.
152: Sean Trombley, Lake Fenton senior (47-1) – Last season’s runner-up at 145 is not the top seed at this weight but is opposite Dundee’s Buell, potentially setting up a high-powered final. Trombley also was runner-up at 140 as a sophomore and took fifth at 135 as a freshman. His loss this winter came to Byron’s Jerry Hall in the District, and Trombley avenged it by beating Hall at the Regional.
160: DJ Daniels, Caro senior (52-0) – Last year’s champion at 152 is the top seed at 160, and he’s won a combined 110 matches over the last two seasons. He also took third at 140 as a sophomore.
171: Owen Guilford, Portland senior (44-0) – The reigning champion at this weight has been even better, what little he could improve statistically, with a perfect record after losing just one match last season. The top seed at this weight, he’s looking to add to a run that also included a fourth at 160 in 2017.
189 Gavin Morgan, Mount Morris junior (50-0) – Morgan enters the Finals as an undefeated top seed for the second season in a row after doing the same last year at 160. He went on to finish sixth in part by taking an injury default in his consolation match, but is back seeking his first title after also finishing runner-up at 152 as a freshman.
Other 2018 runners-up: 119 Khalil Moten, Mount Morris senior (10-5, 119 in Division 3 in 2018 competing for Flint Beecher); 135 Tyler Swiderski, Dundee sophomore (25-10, 112 in 2018); 125 Kyle Schaaf, Clare senior (42-4, 119 in 2018); 140 Nick Felt, Shelby senior (41-3, 140 in 2018), 215 Brockton Cook, Birch Run senior (50-3, 189 in 2018).
Additional No. 1 seeds: 103 Casey Swiderski, Dundee freshman (42-2); 119 Josh Sunnerville, Otsego junior (47-2); 130 Josh Rankin, Michigan Center senior (36-4); 135 Jonathon White, Dundee senior (35-9); 215 Brockton Cook, Birch Run senior (50-3); 285 Mike Nykoriak, Algonac senior (44-1).
Also undefeated: 130 Damian Flores-Luevano, Wyoming Kelloggsville senior (21-0); Seth Konynenbelt, Hudsonville Unity Christian senior (45-0).
PHOTO: Alma’s Dametrius Castillo, here last week against Richmond during the Team Quarterfinals, will attempt to win his second individual title after last year claiming the school’s first in more than two decades. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)