A fine showing by Mendon’s wrestlers at Saturday’s Division 4 individual district tournament at Constantine resulted in five Hornets moving on to the regional round. It’s the first time in 23 years the school has advanced that many out of districts.
“We had a really, really good day today. It was a huge step up for our program,” Mendon assistant coach Caleb Stephenson said.
Click here for full results.
None was better than junior Cole Harrison, who, at 202 pounds, bumped up to heavyweight and won a title as the No. 1 seed. Harrison, who now owns a record of 28-11 this season, won by a 5-0 decision against Reading’s Dylan Cole in the quarterfinals, pinned Bronson’s Joey Losinski (3:37) in the semis, and claimed a fall in 5:08 over Constantine’s Alex Miller in the title bout.
Check out our video coverage of Harrison’s match versus Miller.
“Cole wrestled his tail off and has put himself in position to compete for a berth at the Palace,” Stephenson said. “I was impressed especially with the way he dealt with the pressure of being the No. 1 seed and bumping up to heavyweight; it was a big step in his evolution as a wrestler.”
Harrison was pleased with his performance and how he stuck to the plan.
“The one kid that I wrestled from Bronson actually weighed 285,” he said. “I was a little intimidated going into that match. His calves were as big as my thighs — that was a big boy. I got out there with these guys today and knew I wouldn’t be taking my shots and I wouldn’t be getting underneath them as much.
“I wanted to stay up with them, locking up with them and waiting to get into the second and third period so I could work on the bottom and top faster than them. You move them around as much as you can and dance with them and try to tire them out.”
The feel-good story of the day was Hornets junior 125-pounder Caleb Henckel, who missed the entire regular season with a fractured left humerus that required surgery. He returned for last week’s team districts and Saturday’s appearance was just his second time on the mat.
Read our story on Henckel from back in December.
Henckel placed fourth in his weight class to move on. He lost his quarterfinal match by fall (4:30) against Schoolcraft’s Spencer Fox and had to start over in the consolation bracket. A pin in 2:12 against Bronson’s Isaac Robertson set up a blood-round battle with White Pigeon’s Braydon Steep, and Henckel scratched out a 2-0 victory. Readin’s Tyler Britton won the third-place bout with an 11-3 major decision.
“We weren’t sure heading into it where I would be physically,” he said. “We made it through, which gives me another week to heal and get stronger. It was good to get back on the mat and wrestle with the team. It was a long season of sitting out and it’s just nice to get back into things. I’m very proud of the way the team wrestled.”
Senior Danny Cleveland (160), freshman Grady Garlinger (103) and sophomore Jonah Grimm all placed fourth in their respective weight classes. Grimm moved to 31-5 this year, Garlinger is 14-17 and Cleveland is now 26-8.
“I was also very impressed with Grady Garlinger,” Stephenson said. “I thought he had a great outing today. But overall the kids came and competed hard and put themselves in position to compete next weekend. Danny and Jonah both competed well also. If Jonah can clean up a few areas we will be in very good position moving forward, and if Danny can continue to keep matches close and stay in position he will have a shot at accomplishing his goals.”