When Whitehall’s Steven Sika watched the medal ceremony for the 171-pound champions in Division 3, he had a revelation.
“That guy looks a lot like me!” he quipped.
That’s because the guy receiving the gold medal did indeed bear a resemblance — it was his twin brother, Joe. Steven received his gold medal just a few minutes earlier, after winning the l60-pound bout.
“I beat him — I got mine first,” Steven said. “I’m kidding — it’s pretty awesome. It’s a good feeling.”
Not that anyone would put it past the Vikings twins, as each described the other sibling as very competitive.
So what would happen if they had to wrestle each other for a state title?
“I would pin him in the first round,” Steven said.
“It would probably come down to rock, paper, scissors,” countered Joe. “But I would win that.”
Not only are the two top-flight wrestlers, they were training partners. Coach Jason Johnson said they had to be.
“It’s hard for anyone else to be able to go with them; they just go too hard,” Johnson said. “But they don’t fight that much. They’re more like teenage girls, actually. They love each other, and we love them. They deserve it.”
The Sikas beat a pair of teammates from Caro — Skylar Ley (160) and Trevor Jaster (171).
Another champion wearing Whitehall colors was Zack Cooper (125). Two years ago he was the 103-pound champion at Remus Chippewa Hills, and last year he won the 112-pound crown for the Warriors before transferring.
Since he traded in his old blue-and-red singlet for a white, red and black one, Cooper said his opponents this season often didn’t realize they were going up against a veteran state champion.
“It was kind of funny, they had no idea; they had to figure it out,” he said. “I was at Chip Hills and was going for my third, and kind of disappeared. Now I’m at a new school with new teammates and everything — it was pretty funny. But I love the coaches, I love my teammates, moving here was the best decision I’ve ever made. I haven’t looked back.
Incidentally, the Sikas weren’t the only brothers to capture state titles. Kanen and Zehlin Storr from Leslie were victors at 103 and 135, respectively — and both finished their seasons with undefeated records.
Zehlin, a junior, said there wasn’t any extra pressure following up his freshman brother’s victory.
“I feel like it relived some pressure. He won, and it was my turn next. I had to at that point,” Zehlin (59-0) said. “It’s an amazing feeling. Me and my brother worked our butts off. We train together, We go all over the state. We deserve this and we’re ready for the next year and the years after.”
Kanen (58-0) said he wasn’t expecting the atmosphere wrestling before thousands of fans. Still, he didn’t appear to be fazed by the big show.
“I came in excited; it really pumped me up,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous after being here the past couple of days. The past few years I came and watched; it was pretty fun. Now that I’ve won, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I love it.”
Dundee, which won the Division 3 team championship last week, also fared well at the individual finals with three champions: John Marogen (heavyweight), Doug Rojem (140) and Teddy Warren (189). Marogen beat Ithaca’s Josh Capen, who was previously undefeated.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central had two champions. Devin Schroder scored a 10-1 major decision to win the 112 bout, while Nate Limmex nearly matched that score, winning 10-2 at 130.
Other Division 3 champions included Birch Run’s Jerry Fenner (119), Richmond’s Devin Skatzka (145), Comstock Park’s Luke Pahl (152), and Buchanan’s Gage Hutchison (215).
Prep basketball guru Mick McCabe will answer your questions about the boys and girls tournaments in a live chat at 11 a.m. Monday at freep.com/sports. Submit early questions here.