Dexter's Shawn Chamberlain beats top seed and more results from Day 1 of wrestling state finals
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
AUBURN HILLS -- Dexter High School senior Shawn Chamberlain said he was a ball of nerves when he walked onto the floor of The Palace of Auburn Hills on Thursday for Day 1 of the MHSAA individual wrestling state finals.
He has watched the wrestling from the stands before, but as a first-time state qualifier, this was his first time competing.
His stomach was in knots.
Chamberlain got over those nerves in a hurry, though, and scored a second period pin against Trenton's Tom Stackpole to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Division 2 heavyweight division. (Bracket)
Chamberlain was one of six Washtenaw County wrestlers to win opening round matches on Thursday.
Chamberlain said it was purely the stage, not his opponent, that made him nervous. That was surprising, considering Chamberlain came in fourth at last week's regional tournament and, as a result, had to face Stackpole, a regional champion.
All regions are not created equal.
"Shawn had had a meat grinder of a regional," Dexter coach Greg Wagner said. "Probably four or five of the best kids in the state were there, so Shawn had to work real hard just to get here."
With the tournament starting at the 189-pound weight class, Chamberlain only had to deal with his pre-match jitters for about an hour after the opening ceremonies at 2 p.m. Dexter's other winner on the day, senior Drew Barnes, didn't wrestle until around 7 p.m.
Barnes appeared tired in his 7-3 win over Bay City Western's Charles Proctor at 160. It was uncharacteristic of the normally indefatigable Barnes, leading Wagner to suspect the length of the day got to him. (Bracket).
"It's a long day, we weighed in at (10 a.m.) and he's just now wrestling at (7 p.m.)," Wagner said. "He still wrestled great through, got through it, so now he'll get some rest and come back strong tomorrow."
Chelsea also had two wrestlers advance in Division 2, with Steven Bleise winning a 10-4 decision at 119 over Lowell's Jordan Hall (Bracket) and Mike Hovater beating Tecumseh's Cole Amstutz, 13-4. (Bracket)
Both were two-point matches heading into the third period.
“I just really tried to wear him down,” said Hovater.
Hovater lost to Amstutz 3-2 at the Southestern Conference championship tournament earlier in the season. Hovater said he thinks the loss played to his advantage.
"I knew I had to comeback with a vengeance ," Hovater said.
Hovater will face three-time state champion Taylor Massa of St. John's -- the nation's top-rated wrestler across all classes -- in the quarterfinal on Friday. Massa extended his career preps record to 220-0 on Thursday.
Bleise will face Massa's younger brother, Logan, a 42-1 freshman.
Like Hovater, Lincoln's Ed Nuttall avenged an early season loss with a 6-2 win over Battle Creek Lakeview's Jake Baker in the 145-pound weight class in Division 1. (Bracket)
Baker took down Nuttall at will in their first meeting, so Nuttall worked all week on takedown defense and counterattacks. Trailing 3-2 in the third period, Baker let Nuttall stand up to attempt to win the match on his feet.
Nuttall countered Baker's shot, scored a takedown of his own and rode Baker out for the final 1:35.
"We worked on (takedown defense) a ton all week and Eddie’s just getting better and better," said Lincoln coach Mike Betts said. "Eddie’s worked nothing but hard the whole year."
Also facing a defending state champion on Friday will be Manchester's Austin Hamilton, who pinned Kent City's Conner Wolter in the first period of their 215 match in Division 4. (Bracket)
"I wasn't expecting a pin," Hamilton said of his win. "I was just going to go wrestle the match, take my time and take advantage of any opportunities and that's what I did."
Hamilton will face Joe Ostman of St. Ignace in the quarterfinals. Ostman is 41-0 and won the Division 4 title at 189 last year.
Losing first round matches were Saline's Nate O'Sullivan (D1, 130), Lincoln's Jordan Markey (119), Ypsilanti's Anthony Simmons (130) and Kyle Abdellatif (112), Dexter's Zeke Breuninger (103), Milan's Chris Gaskill (D2, 160) and Chelsea's Ben Doll (112).
Thursday was especially tough for Manchester, which had five wrestlers -- Brock Vlcek (103), Case Kittel (130), Tom Conway (130), Eric Coval (135) and Cody Render (135) -- lose opening-round Division 4 matches.
"We kind of expected it might be that way today," said Manchester coach Steve Vlcek. "I think we'll be alright tomorrow though."
Thursday's losers are still alive in the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Consolation matches start at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Championship quarterfinals begin at 11 a.m.
Check AnnArbor.com for regular updates from all three days of the tournament.