D4 Preview: Sending Out the Seniors

March 4, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Michigan will celebrate one last time this weekend, at the high school level, an accomplished group of seniors who have dominated the Division 4 Individual Wrestling Finals during the first half of this decade.

Four seniors will take the mat beginning Thursday with a combined seven titles already to their credit. Four more seniors are undefeated and looking to earn a first championship in their final trip.

See below for 10 contenders to watch this weekend, plus others who enter the tournament undefeated or coming off runner-up finishes in 2014. Follow all the matches beginning with Thursday's first round on a subscription basis live on MHSAA.TV, and click here for results at MHSAA.com.

Those listed below are only a handful of the numerous contenders for this weekend’s Division 4 championships. Come back to Second Half at the end of this weekend, when we’ll have post-match thoughts from all 14 title winners.

112: Joe Traynham, Onaway senior (43-3) – The reigning champion at this weight didn’t make his first Finals until last season but should again be in the mix at the end of a bracket that’s arguably gotten tougher.

119: Logan Griffin, Erie-Mason senior (38-0) – This reigning champion also won 112 as a sophomore and was runner-up there as a freshman; he’s going for a second perfect season after finishing undefeated in 2012-13.

130: Dresden Simon, Dansville junior (54-0) – Last season’s runner-up at 119 has moved up two classes and gone over 100 wins for his career after tallying a 49-4 record and wrestling Griffin to a 6-2 decision in the Final last winter.

135: Kyle Barkovich, Lawton senior (51-2) – He finished runner-up at 130 last season, falling by a 5-3 decision in the Final, and is a favorite to add a championship to his other three top-eight placings that also included a sixth at 103 as a freshman and fourth at 112 as a sophomore.

152: Kyle Johnson, Hudson junior (43-7) – His record includes a few more losses than most because Hudson wrestles its share of tough opponents, but Johnson won this weight last year despite entering with 10 defeats.

171: Shane Rodenburg, Kent City senior (53-0) – The four-year standout has gradually moved up the podium at the Finals, from fifth at 160 as a freshman to third at 171 as a sophomore and second at that weight last season; he stands 213-14 for his career.

189: Brody Conner, Lawton senior (54-0) – Like his teammate Barkovich, Connor is hoping to add a title to his fine run after taking third at 171 last season and fifth at 152 pounds as a sophomore.

215: Jacob Cooper, Springport senior (51-0) – Last season’s champion at 189 can finish with a crowning achievement and first perfect season to go also with his title at 160 pounds as a sophomore and runner-up finish at 145 as a freshman.

215: Kevin Koenig, Laingsburg junior (53-1) – He should be Cooper’s main competition, and the other way around as Koenig is the reigning champion at 215 and finished runner-up at that weight as a freshman.

285: Ryan Prescott, Whittemore-Prescott senior (27-0) – The champion at 285 the last two seasons and runner-up in 2012 hasn’t lost since his sophomore year and is 147-4 for his career entering the weekend.

Other 2014 runners-up: Hudson junior Roddy Hamdan (119, 40-7, 112 in 2014), Hesperia senior Trenton Roesly (140, 36-5, 135 in 2014), Manchester senior Brendan Abrigo (112, 47-1, 103 in Division 3 in 2014), Carson City-Crystal senior Alex Young (140, 37-4, 135 in Division 3 in 2014 for Portland).

Also undefeated: Montrose senior Arthur Payne (47-0, 119), New Lothrop junior Cole Hersch (48-0, 135),  New Lothrop junior Steven Garza II (38-0, 145), Carson City-Crystal senior Dillen Decker (54-0, 160), Bangor sophomore Devon Kozel (43-0, 215).

More of note: Dansville freshman Anthony Mack (46-2, 103), Erie-Mason sophomore Robert Lefevre (23-2, 112), Dansville junior Clay Ragon (50-4, 125), New Lothrop junior Steven Garza II (38-0, 145), Decatur senior Hunter Bell (52-1, 152), Carson City-Crystal senior Dillen Decker (54-0, 160).

PHOTO: Whittemore-Prescott’s Ryan Prescott celebrates a championship-clinching pin to end last season’s Division 4 match at 285 pounds. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)