State individual wrestling finals starts today, ends Saturday


 Western High School wrestler Corey Gamet, rights, battled Reese Darrow of Northwest in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 individual wrestling regional at Eaton Rapids High School Feb. 18. Both are state qualifiers at 112 pounds. 


More than 30 area wrestlers advance to state tournament

    There is only one place left to go for Western High School wrestler Luke Raczkowski . . . to the top of the podium.

   After finishing third a year ago and second two years ago at the Michigan High School Athletic Association state individual wrestling finals, the senior is primed to make another run at a state title following a win at the regional tournament.

   More than 30 area wrestlers earned tickets to the MHSAA state individual tournament by finishing in the top four of their respective weight classes.

   Raczkowski won the title at 140 pounds at the Division 2 regional at Eaton Rapids. Teammate Corey Gamet also earned a regional title at 112 pounds.

   For Raczkowski, it will be his fourth trip to the state individual tournament.

   “I was so nervous two years ago in the state title match,” Raczkowski said. “I was only a sophomore and was nervous about being on such a big stage.”

   Raczkowski is ranked No. 1 in Division 2 at 140 pounds by MichiganGrappler.com. The senior is only four wins away from the school record of 197 career wins. A championship run at 140 pounds would tie him for the record. The senior said he is driven by the fear of losing.

   “I hate losing more than I love winning,” Raczkowski said. “That is why I am always trying to get better.”

   He would like to continue wrestling in college perhaps as a walk-on at Michigan State University or at Olivet College.

   Gamet is a returning state champion for Western. He won the title at 103 pounds a year ago and is No. 1 ranked at 112 pounds. He won a regional title with a 9-2 decision over Cameron Mahlich of Ionia in the Division 2 regional final.

   Three Northwest High School wrestlers also advance to the state finals. Reese Darrow finished third at 112 pounds; Loren Mason was fourth at 145 pounds; and Tanner Beach finished third at 152 pounds.

   The Michigan High School Athletic Association state individual tournament starts March 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Division 1 regional at Pinckney: Three Jackson High School wrestlers advanced to the MHSAA state finals beginning March 2. Brandon Riggins won a regional title at 140 pounds; Jared Riggins was second at 125 pounds;  and Hunter Oberst was fourth at 145 pounds.

Division 3 at Williamston: Five area wrestler advanced out of the Williamston regional tournament held Feb. 18. Cooper Gunnells of Columbia Central was second at 135 pounds and Keanen Gunnells of CCHS was third at 130 pounds. Dylan Budd of Onsted was fourth at 119 pounds and Josh Rankin (125) and Brandon Pariseau (140) of Michigan Center were fourth in their respective weight classes.

Division 4 at Bronson: Fifteen wrestlers advanced to the state finals following the regional tournament at Bronson. Manchester and Addison were the big winners with five and four wrestlers advancing respectively. Reese Fry (103) and Ethan Woods (135) won regional titles for the Flying Dutchmen. They will be joined by teammates Drew Gebhardt (103), Jordan Good (189) and Charlie Depp (215) at the state meet. Addison wrestlers Seth Harvey (112), Bowen Clingenpeel (145), Hunter Dart (152), and Donovan Underwood (160) finished in the top four in their respective weight classes to punch their tickets to The Palace of Auburn Hills March 2-4 for the state individual finals. Spencer Good (119) and Drew Savicki (130) of Lumen Christi; Tyler Yoell (125) and Easton Maus (140) of Concord; and Ethan Weatherspoon (171) and Kody Ebersole (189) of Napoleon will also advance to the state individual wrestling finals. Maus took the top spot at 140 pounds with a 10-7 win over Carson Scroogie of Sand Creek in the regional tournament.

Division 4 at Kent City: Six Springport High School wrestlers – including two regional champions – will advance to the state individual finals. Tyler Teague (125) and Sean O’Hearon (140) won regional titles for the Spartans. Also punching their tickets for the state finals were Noah Teague (135), Zach Betz (160), Nick Cooper (215) and Luke Overweg (285).

For updated brackets, click on MHSAA.com, sports, wrestling and look for your division and weight class. I fully expect to have five or more state champions this weekend.  

Jeff Steers, Exponent Newspaper editor


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