D4 Preview: Small Schools, Big Talents

March 2, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The best wrestlers in Michigan don’t have to attend the biggest high schools.

Meet Dansville’s Dresden Simon, a reigning champion in Division 4 who has beaten reigning Division 1 and 2 champs this season.

He’s one of 10 contenders we’ve broken out among many to watch this weekend at the Division 4 Individual Finals. 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. And come back to Second Half this weekend as we’ll interview all 14 title winners.

112: Seth Harvey, Addison junior (41-10) – Last season’s champion at 103 entered that tournament with seven losses, so he can’t be discounted this weekend amid a group dominated by freshmen competing at the Finals for the first time.

119: Robert LeFevre, Erie-Mason junior (35-0) – LeFevre finished runner-up at 112 last season, losing late by pin, but is the top seed this time as the only contender with fewer than five losses.

125: Davian Gowens, Hesperia senior (40-3) – The champion at 103 as a sophomore didn’t compete at the Finals last season but returns as a favorite this weekend having wrestled a tough schedule again.

130: Dallas O’Green, Carson City Crystal senior (51-0) – The reigning champion at 125 has only one loss combined over the last two seasons and after winning last year’s title 2-0.

140: Dresden Simon, Dansville senior (48-1) – The champion last season at 130 owns impressive wins over Grand Ledge reigning champion Dylan Steward and St. Johns reigning champion Ian Parker, the latter later handing Simon his only loss. Simon will wrestle next season at Central Michigan University.

145: Gerrit Yates, Hesperia sophomore (50-4) – He debuted last season with an impressive runner-up finish at 135, and led that championship match 8-4 before getting pinned with less than a minute left in regulation.

152: Steven Garza, New Lothrop senior (53-1) – After winning 145 last season with a perfect record, Garza has been nearly as flawless with just the one loss to go with another team championship earned last weekend.

160: Kyle Johnson, Hudson senior (45-8) – The 2014 champion at 152 fell back to fifth at that weight last season, but is the top seed at this weight class this time despite his losses against a loaded schedule.

215: Caleb Symons, New Lothrop senior (51-1) – Another member of the team champion Hornets, Symons was individual runner-up last season at 189, just missing a title with a 4-2 defeat.

285: Kevin Koenig, Laingsburg senior (51-1) – The reigning runner-up at 215 won that weight as a sophomore and also finished second as a freshman. His only loss this season came to reigning Division 1 215 champion Luke Ready of Brighton.

Other 2015 runners-up: Dansville sophomore Anthony Mack (112, 48-4, 103 in 2015), Manchester junior Ethan Woods (130, 45-2, 119 in 2015), Dansville senior Clay Ragon (135, 48-4, 125 in 2015), Hudson senior Mason Lopinski (145, 47-6, 145 in 2015), Springport junior Nick Cooper (189, 37-1, 171 in 2015).

Also undefeated: Burton Bentley sophomore Robert Rogers (125, 39-0), Hesperia senior Mark Workman (171, 31-0), Bangor junior Devon Kozel (215, 45-0).

Also of note: Hudson freshman Tucker Sholl (103, 44-3), Hudson freshman Jordan Hamdan (112, 47-6), Springport junior Sean O’Hearon (135, 45-1), New Lothrop junior Erik Birchmeier (171, 30-2).

The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.

PHOTO: Dansville’s Dresden Simon, right, wrestles Highland Park Academy’s Lamont Cannon during last season’s Division 4 Finals. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)