By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half
MOUNT PLEASANT – To say the wrestling teams from New Lothrop and Hudson high schools have had a monopoly on the championship in Division 4 lately may be a bit of an understatement.
After all, those two teams have won the past seven titles in D4; New Lothrop claimed the past two, and Hudson the previous five dating back to 2009. And Hudson has appeared in all seven title matches, losing to New Lothrop the past two years.
So it was no surprise when New Lothrop and Hudson, the top and third-seeded teams, respectively, at this year's MHSAA Team Finals, made their way through their Quarterfinal and Semifinal opponents to another championship matchup at Central Michigan University's McGuirk Arena on Saturday.
And for the third straight year, New Lothrop took home the champion’s trophy, beating Hudson 35-27.
"For the last decade, they have been the standard," Campbell said of Hudson. "We have been chasing them, and we kind of caught them the last few years. And their lineup is loaded with freshmen, so that tells me that they are going to be back."
But this day was New Lothrop's, as the Hornets took a 28-6 lead by winning six of the first eight weight classes wrestled.
The match started at 135 pounds, and New Lothrop (24-5) got pins at 152 pounds by Steven Garza, Brandon Henige at 171 and Erik Birchmeier at 189 to help build their big lead.
"We knew where we started, we were going to have to build a big lead," Campbell said. "The strength of their lineup is down low, they have some real good wrestlers down low."
That's exactly what happened, as Hudson (18-15) got bonus-point wins in three of the final five weight classes wrestled.
"Jeff's team did exactly as planned," Hudson coach Scott Marry said. "A lot of matches could have gone either way, and I'm not disappointed. Our kids wrestled hard; they just came out on top."
New Lothrop beat a stingy Springport team 38-30 in its Semifinal to open the day. The Hornets won seven of the first nine matches wrestled in the Semifinal, and then held on for the win.
New Lothrop needed a win from Cole Hersch at 145 pounds, the final weight, to secure the win. Hersch beat Taylor Whitmore by major decision, 11-1, for the victory.
Hudson had a much easier time in its Semifinal, beating surprise Leroy Pine River 55-18. The Tigers won 11 of the 14 matches for the victory. Pine River, a seven seed, had impressed Friday by advancing with a Quarterfinal win over second-seeded Decatur.
The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.
PHOTOS: (Top) New Lothrop and Hudson have combined to win the last seven Division 4 championships. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)