MASON – In arguably the most stacked district in Division 2, St. Johns sent 13 wrestlers through to next week’s regional after an impressive outing Saturday at Mason High School.
The Redwings also had six district champions — the most from any school in the tournament — and will look to continue their run at the Division 2 regionals at Eaton Rapids next Saturday.
“Thirteen is a really good number — in a tough district like this,” St. Johns coach Derek Phillips said. “The kids want to leave (the program) the way it was when they got here. They want to keep that tradition alive.”
Logan Massa (171), Ty Wildmo (189), Jake Gnegy (285), Trent Lashuay (119), Ian Parker (125) and John Baker (130) were the champs for the Redwings. Massa, who was 29-0 coming in, won his title by injury default.
Eaton Rapids was right on the heels of St. Johns and sent 11 through to regionals, five of which were district champs.
Eaton Rapids’ Jaedin Sklapsky (135) became the first wrestler crowned after defeating DeWitt’s Chandler Reed by fall (2:48). Greyhounds senior Blaine Milheim, who wrestles in the 152-pound weight class, captured his first-ever district title by grabbing a major decision, 10-2, over Jackson Northwest’s Noah Jakubas.
“This is huge,” Milheim said. “My freshman and sophomore year we were real weak. And for us to improve this much, in two or three years, really shows how hard we’ve been working and how much we’ve improved.”
DeWitt had nine wrestlers advance, including junior Austin Melton (140) who defeated St. Johns’ Lucas McFarland by decision, 9-5.
Mason’s Seth Bunting won the title at 103 and was one of five Bulldogs to advance.
Other area wrestlers to advance included Fowlerville’s Kyle Roberts (140), Mason Litz (189) and Austin Makins (130). Roberts finished third with a decision over Jackson Northwest’s Loren Mason, and Litz finished second after losing to Wildmo in a 5-3 decision. Makins lost by fall (3:31) to Baker in the 130-pound finals.
Bath-Lansing Catholic had two wrestlers advance. Deontay Walker (189) lost to Mason’s Brad Wilton by decision, 3-1, for third place, and Dalton Hilliker (152) defeated Dexter’s Tyler Even by decision in a third-place match.
Walker and Hilliker, who will both make their first regional appearance, give Bath-Lansing Catholic its third and fourth regional qualifiers in the past five years.
“Each year it’s (the program) is getting better,” Hilliker said. “We only had four senior wrestlers this year and we took third in our league and had a winning record. We’re starting to show that we can be a wrestling team.”