Connor Beham knew that he needed a pin, or Richmond’s MHSAA Division 3 state title hopes were over.
The 112 pound senior stepped to mat 4 at Kellogg Arena on Saturday, confident he could get the job done against the top-ranked and two-time reigning champion Dundee Vikings.
One-minute, seven-seconds later, Beham had pinned his opponent as the Richmond faithful roared with delight, lifting the Blue Devils to a 27-25 victory and the program’s seventh team state title.
“As soon as I stepped out on the mat, I knew I needed a fall. I knew I could get it done, I’d seen my teammates get it done before me so it kind of helped me and it was motivation,” Day said. “Once I got onto the mat, all the butterflies went away. I shot in, flipped him on his back and once he was on his back I wasn’t letting him up.”
It was the third consecutive meeting in the Division 3 state finals between Richmond and Dundee. The Vikings (25-6) held a 25-12 advantage with three matches to go, but a decision by the Blue Devils’ (32-5) Adam Boyd at 285 pounds and a pin by Roy Costello at 103 pounds set up Beham for the heroic finish.
“No one can question these kids toughness,” said Richmond coach Brandon Day. “I have a ton of respect for (Dundee)… It feels great. I thought it was slipping away… For the kids to come out and do what they did, so proud of them.”
Earning pins for Richmond in the final were Devin Skatzka at 160 pounds, Costello and Behem. Coming away with decisions were Aaron Kilburn (125 pounds), Austin Pawlak (152 pounds) and Boyd.
Richmond advanced with a 32-19 victory over Remus Chippewa Hills in the semifinal. Dundee move on after a 38-32 victory over Saginaw Swan Valley in the other semifinal.
Roy Castello of Richmond attempts to get Dan Jaworski of Dundee to his back in the Division 3 State Championship Final.
“Individuals (State Finals) is pretty crazy,” Beham said. “But nothing compares to Team State Finals — nothing.”
Brighton 31, Hartland 25: Brighton’s Lee Grabowski sealed the Division 1 crown for Brighton when he ended the match with a decision in the final bout at 112 pounds.
The Bulldogs (29-1) came away with the program’s first state title, thanks in part to tech falls in the finals by Jackson Renicker (125 pounds) and Beau Mourer (171 pounds) and a major decision by Kyle Bohnsack (130 pounds). Brighton advanced to the finals with a 29-25 semifinal victory over Davison, with Luke Ready (215 pounds) breaking a tie with a major decision in the match’s final bout.
Hartland (31-3) advanced with a 29-28 victory over Anchor Bay in the other semifinal.
Lowell 40, Eaton Rapids 16: Lowell captured its second straight Division 1 state title and its fifth overall thanks to four pins in the championship match.
The Red Arrows (29-2) received pins in the finals from Lucas Hall (119 pounds), Zeth Dean (130 pounds), Jordan Hall (140 pounds) and Josh Colegrove (215 pounds). Lowell advanced with a 50-19 semifinal victory over Gaylord.
The Greyhounds (39-2) won the other semifinal against Niles, 30-27.
New Lothrop 38, Hudson 24: New Lothrop repeated its Division 4 state championship, and captured the program’s 14th state crown overall.
The Hornets (29-1) won the championship thanks in part to pins by Cole Hersch (130 pounds), Trevor Copes (145 pounds) and David Robertson (285 pounds). New Lothrop advanced with a 38-22 victory over Manchester.
The Tigers (23-6) defeated Decatur in the other semifinal, 39-33.
MHSAA TEAM WRESTLING FINALS
At Kellogg Arena
• Division 1: Brighton 31, Hartland 25
• Division 2: Lowell 40, Eaton Rapids 16
• Division 3: Richmond 27, Dundee 25
• Division 4: New Lothrop 38, Hudson 24