Five grapplers finish All-State at state finals
March 09, 2011 - Senior Matt Vandermeer threw his hands in the air as he faced his family and friends sitting in the north end of the Palace of Auburn Hills.
|Mike Henige celebrates his win for fifth place. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)|
Through six minutes he had scored one point on Detroit Catholic Central's Kevin Beazley on an escape. It was what he needed to become State Champion in the 171-lb weight class at the MHSAA Wrestling Individual Finals in Division 1.
"It feels so good," he said after leaving the mat on Saturday night, after three days of matches. "I have wanted this for so long."
He scored during the second period and admitted it was difficult to keep Beazley from tying or taking the win.
"I kept moving," Vandermeer added. "I knew what he was going to do and kept blocking it."
He remained undefeated during the tournament beating Matt Franklin from East Kentwood, with a technical fall at 3:56; Will Royster, Kalamazoo Central, 8-2; and Vince Tkac, Brighton, 11-1.
"Thanks to Ty Foltz," he added to his teammate and captain who missed out on the season from a football injury.
Senior Jeff Sloney also competed in the championship round and took runner-up after a 5-0 loss to Logan Marcicki, Detroit Catholic Central, in 130-pounds.
He won three matches previous to the final, beating Bay City Western's Tyler Kuch, 5-0; Roseville's Kirk Wawryzniak, 3-1; Davison's Terry Turner, 4-3.
Senior Mike Henige ended his first and last visit to the finals with a fifth place finish.
"I am overwhelmed," he said after his win over Rochester's Cody Devoe, 9-4. "I wanted to place. After losing in the semifinals I needed to to come out strong."
After starting on Thursday with a 2-0 win against Howell he explained he began slow.
"I wasn't really used to the Palace atmosphere," he added. "The second period I got more comfortable and started wrestling better. Once I got the reverse I knew I could ride him out."
He won two more before losing to Holt, 7-6 in the semifinals.
"I thought he was going to win," said Coach Andy Auten. "He lost by one point that was a tough one."
He lost one more to put him in the running for fifth place.
Junior Scott Devos finished in fourth place with a fall 12 seconds into overtime against Romeo's Adam Bennett, in 285-lb weight class.
"I am pretty happy with my place," he said. "I wrestled as hard as I could and he is a good guy. He is a senior so he has a couple of years on me."
Sophomore Nick Vandermeer finished in eighth place, ending with a lost to Oxford's Mike Thomas in the 135-pound class.
He began the tournament with a major decision win over Detroit Catholic Central's Riley Hanson, 10-0.
"It was a pretty close drawn match," he said.
Junior Ethan Frick lost his first two matches in the 215-pound class, ending his year.
"He went up a weight class," said Auten. "He wrestled a really good wrestler the first round. I was hoping he would come back and win a consolation match or two to place. It didn't happen. Next year hopefully he will be bigger and actually at 215 pounds and place."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.