Davison/Detroit Catholic Central wrestling

Wrestling

Preview: D1 Features Historic Opportunity, Daunting Obstacle

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

March 30, 2021

Detroit Catholic Central will encounter a historic opportunity Tuesday at the MHSAA Division 1 Team Wrestling Finals.

But standing in the Shamrocks’ way might be its toughest opponent during this recent four-championship run.

DCC will wrestle for its fifth-straight team title. Davison is the only other Division 1 program to accomplish that feat – and carries the top seed this time after finishing runner-up to the Shamrocks both last season and in 2017.

The Quarterfinal pairings Tuesday at Wings Event Center are as follows:

Division 1 - 10 am - The Valley
#1 Davison - BYE - Mat 1
#4 Holt vs. #5 Rockford - Mat 2
#3 Hartland vs. #6 Clarkston - Mat 3
#2 Detroit Catholic Central vs. #7 Wyandotte Roosevelt - Mat 4
(Macomb Dakota opted out.)

Spectator limits remain in effect, but all matches will be broadcast live and viewable with subscription on MHSAA.tv. Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 1, listed by seed.

#1 DAVISON
Record/rank: 17-0, No. 1
League finish: No league title awarded this season.
Coach: Zac Hall, first season (17-0)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA championships (most recent 2006), six runner-up finishes. Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Justin Gates (17-0) fr., 112 Aden Williams (19-2) jr., 119 Caden Horwath (21-0) soph., 125 Cameron Freeman (20-3) jr., 125 Brendan Maybee (17-6) jr., 135 Evan Herriman (18-1) soph., 140 Owen Payne (22-1) jr., 145 Kyle White (17-5) jr., 152 James Johnston (21-1) sr., 160 Josh Barr (20-0) soph., 171 Alex Facundo (20-0) sr., 189 Landon Kish (16-5) sr., 215 Jimmy Colley (14-0) jr., 285 Tyler Jelinek (19-1) sr.
Outlook: This will be Davison’s 10th-straight Quarterfinal, and the Cardinals come in favorites this time in part thanks to a 36-9 win over Detroit Catholic Central earlier this month. Facundo won 171 last season and this weekend will attempt to become the 29th four-time Individual Finals champion in MHSAA history. Horwath and Barr started possible four-time quests with their first titles as freshmen last season at 103 and 152, respectively. Other returning individual placers from last season including Herriman (fourth at 135), Johnston (third at 145), Colley (third at 215) and Jelinek (sixth at 285).

#2 DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Record/rank: 19-1, No. 2
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Central
Coach: Mitch Hancock, 14th season (312-49)
Championship history: Fifteen MHSAA championships (most recent 2020), two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Drew Heethuis (23-0) soph., 119 Anthony Walker (18-2) jr., 119 Clayton Jones (20-3) soph., 125 Cory Thomas (18-5) fr., 125 Mason Stewart (15-6) fr., 135 Steven Shellenberger (14-3) soph., 135 Dylan Gilcher (19-1) soph., 140 Philip Burney (18-3) sr., 140 Tatum Bunn, (17-3) soph., 145 Darius Marines (11-1) fr., 145 Camden Trupp (17-2) sr., 160 Cameron Adams (19-4) soph., 171 John Browning (7-2) sr., 189 Manuel Rojas (22-2) jr.
Outlook: A fifth-straight Division 1 championship Tuesday would make DCC just the fourth program to win five in a row since 1988 when for the first time team championships were awarded based on dual competition. The only loss, as noted above, was to top-ranked Davison. A number of standouts have graduated the last four seasons, and the projected lineup features only four seniors. But there’s still plenty of championship-pressure experience – Gilcher (112) and Rojas (189) won individual championships last season, while Heethuis was third at 103, Bunn was fifth at 125, Trupp was runner-up at 135 and Burney was sixth at that weight.

#3 HARTLAND
Record/rank: 22-0, No. 3
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
Coach: Todd Cheney, 29th season (809-112-2)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2016, five runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Jake Gillespie (24-3) fr., 112 Patrick Wlodyga (18-3) jr., 125 Ethan Kinch (24-2) jr., 135 Luke Thornton (28-0) sr., 135 Vinnie Abbey (25-3) fr., 140 Nick Dimitroff (18-2) soph., 145 Owen Edgar (13-6) sr., 160 Brayden Bobo (22-2) soph., 171 Avery Dickerson (26-0) jr., 189 Chase Kern (26-1) soph., 215 Paul Corder (20-2) sr.
Outlook: This will be Hartland’s 20th-straight trip to the Quarterfinals, and the Eagles will be seeking their first Semifinal berth since 2017. Wlodyga was fourth last season at 103, Dickerson was fourth at 171, and sophomore Nick Rochowiak was fifth at 140 and will wrestle 152 this week. Hartland allowed only a combined 15 points over its first four postseason wins.

#4 HOLT
Record/rank: 25-1, No. 6
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Blue
Coach: Rocky Shaft, 41st season (624-107)
Championship history: Four MHSAA championships (most recent 2008), two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Ryan Mosher (25-3) soph., 125 Zach Platte (21-5) sr., 130 Jason Jones (19-6) jr., 140 Ralph Thompson (28-2) jr., 152 Alex Russell (23-4) jr., 160 Adam Russell (23-5) sr., 171 Nathan Bremer (22-3) jr., 285 Joshua Terrill, 21-3) jr.
Outlook: The Rams eliminated Finals regular Brighton 43-29 in the Regional Final to advance to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2013. A Semifinal berth would be Holt’s first since its runner-up run in 2009. Only two seniors start, with seven juniors who could help the Rams continue to rise next winter. Platte, Bremer and Terrill were Finals qualifiers last season.

#5 ROCKFORD
Record/rank: 19-3, No. 9
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Brian Richardson, 12th season (255-114)
Championship history: Two MHSAA championships (most recent 2009), three runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Jak Keller (24-1) soph., 119 Elijah Bunn (24-2) soph., 130 Logan Schwartz (13-7) soph., 140 Brysonn Aulbach (18-8) jr., 152 Trenton Wachter (19-1) sr., 152 Colin Harju (10-4) sr., 160 Ryan Ahern (21-1) fr., 171 Moses Bosscher (22-5) sr., 189 Luke Watkins (21-4) sr.,
Outlook: Rockford is making its third-straight trip to the Quarterfinals and seeking to take the next step into the Semifinals for first time since its runner-up season of 2010. The Rams defeated another regular, Grandville, 37-16 in the Regional Final to advance. Wachter was third at 140 last season.

#6 CLARKSTON
Record/rank: 16-7, No. 10
League finish: Third in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Brian Gibbs, first season (16-7)
Championship history: Class A champion 1991, runner-up 1995.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 125 Ashton Anderson (21-4) sr., 130 Auggie Anderson (10-3) soph., 152 Grady Castle (21-3) sr., 160 John Lord (14-11) sr.
Outlook: Gibbs moved up to take over the program after three seasons as an assistant, and the Wolves continued to roll with their third-straight Regional title. They defeated No. 7 Romeo 36-28 in the Regional Semifinal on the way to Kalamazoo this time. Ashton Anderson finished third at 125 last season.

#7 WYANDOTTE ROOSEVELT
Record/rank: 17-4, unranked
League finish: First in Downriver League
Coach: Brett Greene, 18th season (334-161)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifier: Lu Peterson (22-0) jr.
Outlook: Roosevelt is headed to the Quarterfinals for the first time after edging Westland John Glenn 33-32 in the Regional Final. The Bears also won their third-straight District title and fifth in six seasons. This could be just the start; Roosevelt has only two seniors among its projected starters for Tuesday, but six freshmen.

PHOTO: Davison’s Aden Williams, left, and Detroit Catholic Central’s Drew Heethuis wrestle during last season’s Division 1 Final at Wings Event Center. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)