The Three Rivers wrestling duo of Shawn Brew and Brandon Verwey is headed to the big stage after slipping into the Division 2 state finals field with fourth-place finishes at Saturday’s regional tournament at Mason.
Having dealt with outside chatter that he wouldn’t be able to chase a podium finish at the Palace of Auburn Hills due to a torn meniscus, senior Shawn Brew proved his detractors wrong. At 160 pounds, Brew, ranked ninth in the state by MichiganGrappler.com at his weight in D4, made his final regional pretty interesting.
Facing honorable mention Marcus Wright (Riverview Community) in the first round, Brew shot his way to a 9-0 major decision. In the second round, top-ranked TJ Barnes of Romulus Summit Academy against Brew in 3:53.
After making it to the Palace as a junior and coming up short of an all-state top-eight finish, Brew had to get past Tecumseh’s Travis Byrd in the blood round. Brew pieced together an 18-8 major decision to earn a spot in the consolation finals and a trip to the state finals. He would eventually fall to New Boston Huron’s Logan Ritchie, who entered the day ranked No. 2 in the state, 9-2.
“It’s a great feeling considering how tough my weight class was today,” said Brew, who is now 28-8. “I got a good look at the top guns so I know what to expect from them.
“I was really proud because I had a lot of people tell me I wouldn’t be the same after the injury and I wanted to prove them wrong. Losing wasn’t an option after I had all the naysayers.”
Sophomore Brandon Verwey was defeated in the opening round by New Boston Huron’s Deion Copley (ranked seventh) by a score of 9-1. He bounced back with a major decision against Edwardsburg’s Blake Parsons (honorable mention) and a 7-3 victory over OA Carlson’s Doug Bunea (honorable mention). Verwey dropped a 9-6 decision to Tecumseh’s Kody McCrate (honorable mention) in the consolation finals.
Junior Dallas Recker came in ranked seventh at heavyweight and had an equally adventurous ride. A first-round upset loss (2-0) to Kolin Connors (Tecumseh) added a lot of extra work to be done for the junior. Recker pinned Battle Creek Central’s Jace Trevino (honorable mention) in under a minute, but was stuck by Jonathan Morris (Carleton-Airport) in 4:14 in the blood round.
Freshman Evan Griffioen lost both his matches at 103 pounds and senior Connor McElroy, who won by pin in the first round but fell in 1:50 in the second, lost a disappointing 4-3 bout against Tecumseh’s Kyle Humphries in the blood round at 140 pounds.