A shocking disqualification and the end of a record-breaking streak highlighted the Division 2 and 4 wrestling team state finals Saturday evening at Kellogg Arena.
No. 1-ranked Lowell tied four-time defending Div. 2 champ St. Johns, 34-34, after 14 bouts, and was then awarded the state championship on criteria, causing a huge eruption from the Lowell fan base that had seen the Red Wings knock out their Red Arrows many times in recent years.
What was harder to take for St. Johns was the fact it led by six points in the final match (215 pounds), and Nic Sturgis, who appeared to be trying to stay in the match and not get pinned, was disqualified for stalling. Tournament officials said he received five warnings before the sixth stalling call.
“I don’t know which criteria it was, I just know (the officials) pointed at us,” Lowell coach David Dean said about the eventual tie breaker. “(The wait to hear) was long, but my coaches felt like we won it on criteria,” before it was announced. “We’ve got a math guy that’s really into all that stuff. But you’re a little anxious waiting for the decision to come out.”
Lowell won five of the first seven matches, starting at heavyweight, to grab a 22-9 lead. But St. Johns then earned four consecutive wins, capped by a Logan Massa pin at 2:21 in the 160-pound match to give St. Johns a 31-22 lead. Lowell then closed it out going 2-for-3, including the DQ.
New Lothrop stopped Hudson’s streak at five consecutive state championships with a thrilling, 33-22 win in Div. 4. A sixth title would have been a new state championship record. Hudson now stays tied with Davison (2002-06) in Div. 1 at five straight.
With just a two-point lead and two matches remaining, New Lothrop’s Cody Symons got a pin in 2:21 at 189 pounds to give the Hornets an insurmountable 30-22 edge.
“I was trying to pin,” Symons said. “I wanted to pin it and get that state championship. It made me want to end that streak (of Hudson’s). We wanted to be on top.”
Hudson looked early like it would get No. 6 by winning six of the first nine matches and securing a 22-10 lead, before New Lothrop won the final five matches and the state championship.
“We’ve been chasing these guys for a long time, trying to get a chance at them in the finals and I guess the stars just aligned today,” said New Lothrop coach Jeff Campbell. “What’s really special for us, besides the win, is just seeing the turnout, having all the support and have a little town like we have come together for some high schoolers just giving it everything they’ve got.”
Dundee earned its second title (and eighth overall) in a row over the same team, Richmond, in a 34-24 battle for Div. 3. What helped was winning the first three matches at 285, 103 and 112 for early momentum.
Dundee coach Tim Roberts said that at the start of the season, Richmond was ranked No. 1, and that it deserved it.
“I would say this was harder,” Roberts said, than winning the title last year.