Lowell wrestling

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Preview: Lowell Seeks to Run Title Streak to Great 8

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

March 30, 2021

The success has become so familiar, and some of the names to match, it’s like Lowell has been sending out the same wrestlers the last eight years.

That’s not true or possible, of course. But more than a handful of current Red Arrows have played major roles in carrying on the program’s seven-year MHSAA Finals record championship streak.

Lowell is the top seed again as it seeks to make that eight in a row Tuesday at Wings Event Center. The Quarterfinal pairings are as follows:

Division 2 - 12:30 pm - The Arena
#1 Lowell vs. #8 Charlotte - Mat 2
#4 Monroe Jefferson vs. #5 Fremont - Mat 1
#3 Goodrich vs. #6 Warren Woods Tower- Mat 4
#2 Stevensville Lakeshore vs. #7 Allendale - Mat 3

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 2, listed by seed.

#1 LOWELL
Record/rank: 17-3, No. 1
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference White
Coach: R.J. Boudro, seventh season (134-21)
Championship history: Ten MHSAA championships (most recent 2020), six runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 119 Ramsy Mutschler (21-4) jr., 125 Landon Miller (10-5) soph., 130 James Link (17-6) jr., 135 Zeth Strejc (17-3) sr., 145 Will Link (21-3) sr., 145 Tacho Gonzales (19-6) fr., 160 Doak Dean (21-2) sr., 160 Carson Crace (17-4) soph., 171 Jacob Lee (18-1) sr., 189 Derek Mohr (19-2) sr., 215 Carter Blough (21-2) jr., 285 Keegan Nugent (24-0) sr.
Outlook: Lowell’s Finals-record championship streak is at seven straight titles and counting. Half of last season’s championship match lineup returns for a team that also starts half seniors. The Red Arrows defeated No. 4 Middleville Thornapple Kellogg 50-22 in the Regional Final. Strejc (130) and Nugent (215) were individual runners-up last season, while Will Link (fourth at 140), Dean (fifth at 160) and Lee (third at 171) also placed.

#STEVENSVILLE LAKESHORE
Record/rank: 18-0, No. 3
League finish: First in Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference
Coach: Bruce Bittenbender, 51st season (958-265-2)
Championship history: Class B runner-up 1994 and 1986.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Taylor Lucas (17-5) jr., 119 Cameron Litaker (19-3) jr., 125 Aaron Lucio (19-0) soph., 125 Kyle Stampfly (16-6) jr., 140 Micah Hanau (21-0) jr.
Outlook: Lakeshore is seeded to contend for its first championship match berth since 1994, which would be another achievement for Bittenbender – the winningest coach in MHSAA wrestling history. The Lancers sandwiched a 28-point District win over St. Joseph with a couple of postseason nail-biters, defeating Paw Paw by one and Edwardsburg by three points. Hanau is the reigning individual champ at 130, while Lucio was third at 119 last season and Litaker was sixth at 112.

#3 GOODRICH
Record/rank: 16-0, No. 6
League finish: First in Flint Metro League
Coach: Kenneth Sirignano, 11th season (record N/A)
Championship history: Two MHSAA championships (most recent 2009), three runner-up finishes
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Brody Orcutt (19-2) fr., 119 Heremius Cheff (16-3) soph., 125 Ryan Angelo (15-8) jr., 135 Carson Richards (18-2) jr., 140 Easton Phipps (16-3) fr., 152 Brady Benson (19-4) soph., 189 Cameron Macklem (15-5) jr., 215 Zach Schmitz (10-8) sr.
Outlook: Goodrich was runner-up as recently as 2019, when it fell to Lowell by only six points in the Final. The Martians didn’t make it to Quarterfinals last season but return for the fourth time in six seasons and with a starting lineup featuring 10 underclassmen. Richards finished sixth at 140 at the Individual Finals last season.  

#4 MONROE JEFFERSON
Record/rank: 12-2, No. 5
League finish: First in Huron League
Coach: Mike Humphrey, 18th season (349-154)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Cody Richards (16-0) jr., 103 Issac Masserant (13-6) fr., 119 John Allen (14-2) soph., 125 Dylan Garcia (15-3) jr., 130 Hunter Major (16-3) sr., 135 Ethan Brabant (15-5) sr., 145 Seth Minney (14-5) soph., 152 Jac White (15-4) sr., 189 Brendan Bashaw (12-4) sr.  
Outlook: Jefferson is making its second trip to the Quarterfinals and first since 1995. The Bears have won District titles three straight seasons, but their league title was the first since 2017. Ten upperclassmen bring experience to the starting lineup, with Richards a returning individual placer having come in sixth at 103 last season.

#5 FREMONT
Record/rank: 26-2, unranked
League finish: Second in Central State Activities Association
Coach: Craig Zeerip, seventh season (155-62)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 RJ Thome (31-0) jr., 112 Tee Ward (29-2) fr., 119 Eli Beasley (29-4) sr., 130 Trey Myers (26-4) fr., 160 Trey Breuker (30-2) sr., 189 Michael Romero (20-10) soph.
Outlook: Fremont reached the Quarterfinals last season for the first time, in Division 3, and repeated that achievement against larger competition this winter. The Packers have won all four of their postseason matches by at least 16 points. Thome was fifth at 103 last season, and Breuker was eighth at 152.

#6 WARREN WOODS TOWER
Record/rank: 13-8, No. 10
League finish: Third in Macomb Area Conference Red
Co-coaches: Greg Mayer, 21st season (402-258), Russell Correll, eighth season (165-62)
Championship history: Division 2 runner-up 2017.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Tyler Daniel (16-7) jr., 125 Joe Haynes (19-1) sr., 130 Dru Wilson (13-5) sr., 135 Gavin Shoobridge (16-2) sr., 140 Mathew Booth (12-8) sr., 140 Josh Howey (21-1) jr., 152 Dominic Johnson (14-9) sr.
Outlook: The Titans have now reached the Quarterfinals six straight seasons, this time rolling through with every postseason win by at least 36 points. They will miss junior two-time individual champ Omari Embree (171, 17-1), who is out for this weekend, but return another champ in Haynes, last season’s 119 title winner. Also placing last season were Daniel (eighth at 103), Howey (eighth at 125), Wilson (fifth at 130) and sophomore Ryan Radvansky (160, 16-4), who was eighth at 160.

#7 ALLENDALE
Record/rank: 22-7, unranked
League finish: First in O-K Blue
Coach: Duane Watson, 33rd season (682-259)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Harrison Meekhof (27-6) fr., 112 Jack Guerrero (26-7) fr., 135 Cris Perez (23-5) sr., 152 Jordan Silva (21-13) sr.
Outlook: After two seasons away, Allendale is back at the Quarterfinals for the third time in five years and with a fifth-straight league title and 14th-straight District championship. The team has four Individual Finals qualifiers, but eight wrestlers have won at least 22 matches this abbreviated season. Perez finished eighth at 130 in 2020.

#8 CHARLOTTE
Record/rank: 18-8, unranked
League finish: Second in Capital Area Activities Conference White
Coach: Korey Knapp, fourth season (63-47)
Championship history: Class B champion 1968, runner-up 1965.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 119 Jayden Schwartz (22-4) soph., 140 Logan Haughton (25-3) jr., 152 Bo Brandt (24-8) sr.
Outlook: Charlotte is returning to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 1990, and second time in program history. The Orioles defeated perennial power Eaton Rapids to win their District, then upset another annual force in No. 7 Mason at the Regional. Charlotte has had individual standouts over the years – their lone individual qualifier last season won a championship – but this week will also see the Orioles send triple that number to the Individual Finals.

PHOTO: Will Link, right, works toward a pin during Lowell’s Semifinal win last season at Wings Event Center. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)