On Sunday March 17th, the Portland Wrestling Club traveled to Mason High School, for the Michigan Youth Wrestling Association Central regional tournament. What had transpired by the days end, was simply unbelievable. The club entered twenty wrestlers with hopes and dreams to qualify for the MYWAY State Championships in Kalamazoo. After the last match had been wrestled, all twenty kids had fulfilled those dreams and all 20 became state qualifiers. Maybe it was the luck of the Irish, and you might have had better luck finding a four-leaf clover. Or, maybe it was the result of good old fashion hard work, and preparation had met opportunity. Regardless of what had happened, it happened, and now those wrestlers will prepare for the state tournament. Similar to the high school wrestling season, MYWAY regional participants must place in the top 4 in their respective weight classes to qualify. The Portland wrestlers had eight kids pin down regional titles, five finished as runner-ups, five more secured 3rd place, and two finished in 4th.
Leading the team off in dominant fashion was Mayhem Garza, who won his title with 3 straight pins, in the 40 lb. weight class. Garza pinned Coron Brown of S.A.W. in 22 seconds, then he stuck Larry Craft of NW Red Crushers in 17 seconds, and in the finals he pinned John Krohn of Holt WC in 34 seconds. Brantley Reay also blasted his competition with 3 straight pins, to win the 61 lb. title. His first victim was Xavier Trumble of Mason WC who went down in 1:48, then he pinned Henry Kromrei of Grass Lake in 1:50, and in the finals he took out Brock Shank of Dewitt in 44 seconds. It was Brantley’s first win of the season over Kromrei. Braiden Wiborn won his crown with two straight victories, in the 67 lb. division. He pinned Alexander Sawchik of Dewitt in 1:32, then defeated Kellen Rabakan of Olivet by a 6-2 decision. Grady Lanz won 3 matches to take home the 52 lb. title. He beat Dylan Phillips of Laingsburg with a 7-4 decision, he pinned Garrett Aldrich of Corunna in 2 minutes flat, and won by major decision (8-0) over Kenyon Somsel of Jonesville. First year wrestler, Brady Crowley, won the 82 lb. title with two straight victories. He defeated Logan Mazur of Napolean 8-6, then pinned his own teammate, Bentley Tennihill, by fall in 1:26. Tennihill would later pin Mazur in 22 seconds to finish in 2nd place in the same weight class, giving the club two qualifiers at 82lbs. In the middle school division, Drew Miller continued his dominant season, wrestling away the 114 lb. title. Miller recorded two decision over Gabryel Chapates of Eaton Rapids (7-0), and he beat Tyler Liles of Holt WC (8-4) in the finals. Deakin Guidi wrestled extremely tough to win the championship at 138 lb. He defeated Trevor Brower of Charlotte by a 12-4 major decision, and pulled out a 7-5 sudden victory decision over Tyler Dewley of Owosso. Finally, it was Branson Goodman who found himself in a round robin situation. Unfortunately, Branson was disqualified in his first match, due to an illegal move against Kenton Hale of Jonesville. In his final match of the day he pinned Scotty Brewer of Laingsburg in 1:13. With the round robin tie-breaker rule in effect, Goodman walked away with the 195 lb. title. Five wrestlers came away with 2nd place finishes, to punch their tickets to the state meet. Garrett Williams at 77lbs., Bentley Tennihill in the 82 lb. bracket, Landon Lanz at 60lbs., Branlun Simon at 63 lbs., and Isaac Kramer in the 90 lb. division. Finishing in 3rd place was James Feldpausch, Emmet Fandel, Kolton Bowers, Zachary Stanton, and Gunner Williams. Fourth place finishes went to Bryson Crowley and Ethan Webert. Bryson is a first year wrestler, while Webert is making his eight trip to the state meet.
Again, it was truly an amazing feat for the Portland wrestlers and I couldn’t be more proud or happier for them. In my 25+ years of coaching youth wrestlers, I have never witnessed a regional tournament in which everyone qualified for states. It should be noted that two years ago, the club qualified a program high of 26 wrestlers, but that was a year where 40 kids had entered. Last year, the team had 24 qualifiers and came home with 7 state medalists. Returning All-State wrestlers include Drew Miller (8th), Branson Goodman (3rd), Mayhem Garza (5th), James Feldpausch (4th), and Braiden Wiborn (5th). Caiden Pelc (5th) and Zackary Fedewa (7th) both competed in the MHSAA Wrestling State Finals in early March, with Pelc placing 6th in the tournament as a freshman.
The club is made up of many dedicated parents, coaches, and wrestlers. A special thanks goes out to Kevin Webert and Mike Feldpausch for helping with the coaching duties this season. Thanks to all of our parents that get these outstanding wrestlers to and from practices and competitions, and for providing food on the weekends. Of course, a huge thanks to these brave kids for giving the sport of wrestling a try.
Article and photo courtesy of Coach Adam Fedewa.