The wrestling season for teams in The Advertiser-area was particularly exciting in the 2016-17 season with four local teams capturing district championships and 10 individuals earning all-state recognition.
Perhaps the biggest news from the local wrestling scene came last summer, when longtime Caro co-coaches Steve Ley and Bob Suranye announced their retirement after a combined 70 years of coaching the Tigers. Their replacements, former Caro wrestlers Joe Fulton and Will Green, didn’t miss a bit in leading the Tigers to their 24th consecutive district crown and a co-Tri-Valley Conference East dual meet title.
Caro went on to win its first regional title since 2012 before succumbing in the Division 3 quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Dundee.
In the Greater Thumb Conference, Mayville and Cass City turned their rivalry up a notch with three head-to-head meetings near the end of the season. Mayville won each of them, downing the Red Hawks in the finals of the Wildcat Duals Invite, clinching the GTC dual meet championship in the final dual match of the regular season and eliminating them from the postseason in the Division 4 regional semifinals.
Cass City and Mayville split GTC overall honors due to the Red Hawks winning the championship tournament.
Vassar also had a breakthrough year, winning a Division 4 district tournament, finishing third in the GTC and sending four grapplers to the individual state tournament.
Many area wrestlers arrived at The Palace of Auburn Hills for the individual state finals with hopes of bringing a state title back to the Thumb.
And one did.
Millington senior Jared Roehl led the local contingent at The Palace by winning his second state championship in three years. The 215-pounder also provided a highlight off the mat, by signing a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Central Michigan University wrestling team.
Roehl highlights the 2016-14 all-Advertiser team. Here is a look at the all the members of the squad.
Wrestler: Jared Roehl
Highlights: Division 3 state champion at 215 pounds; signed to wrestle for Central Michigan University; 38-0 record this year; 2015 189-pound Division 3 state champ; 189-pound runner-up in 2016; TVC, district and regional champion; lost only two matches the past three years.
Wrestler: D.J. Daniels
Highlights: Placed third at 140 pounds at Division 3 state finals, losing just one match — 5-4; 59-4 record as sophomore is third-highest win total in school history; 100-17 career record with 64 pins; TVC, district and regional champion.
Wrestler: Brady Payne
Highlights: All-stater with fourth-place showing in D-3 at 145 pounds; lost two matches at state finals, each by one point; 41-7 record; earned D-3 all-state as junior (third, 140 pounds) and sophomore (seventh, 140 pounds).
Wrestler: Jackson Schenk
Highlights: Third-place finish at Division 4 state championship is highest ever for a Mayville wrestler; 47-8 record; four of eight losses came to Brown City’s Bradley Gierman, but Schenk beat him 6-5 in state finals; 41 pins this season is school record.
Wrestler: T.J. Moore
Team: Cass City
Highlights: Placed third at 215 pounds at Division 4 state championship; earned all-state last year with sixth-place effort; set Cass City single-season pin record as senior with 39; went 53-3 this year; district and regional champion as junior and senior; won GTW title this year and as a sophomore.
Wrestler: Blain Wood
Highlights: 55-5 record as a junior; 2017 all-stater with fifth-place finish in D-3 at 125 pounds; career record of 155-17; district and regional champion; TVC runner-up; D-3 runner up at 112 pounds in 2016.
Wrestler: Zach Goss
Highlights: Placed fourth in Division 4 103-pound division to earn all-state; 43-5 record; district, regional and GTC champion.
Wrestler: Wyatt Dickson
Team: Cass City
Highlights: Two-time all-stater placed eighth at 145 pounds in D-4 last year and sixth at 152 pounds this year; 43-9 record; district and GTC champion; 132-40 career record.
Wrestler: Jake LaValley
Highlights: Finished career as all-stater with eighth-place showing at D-4 individual state finals; 43-10 record as a senior; qualified for state championship as a sophomore but missed entire junior season due to injury.
Wrestler: Patrick Ford
Highlights: Four-time state qualifier; TVC and district champion; 35-5 record as a senior; missed first month of season with a broken hand; 162-34 career record.
John Botkins, So., Caro
Tim Millerov, Sr., Caro
Cody Sanchez, Sr., Marlette
Christian Lefler, Sr., Mayville
Ben Hulley, Sr., Mayville
Zach Lefler, Sr., Mayville
Seth Osentoske, Jr., Cass City
Dakota Tatro, Jr., Millington
Hunter Baker, Jr., Vassar
Kris Roche, Sr., Frankenmuth