High 5s - 2/7/12

February 6, 2012

Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer your suggestions by e-mail to [email protected]. Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for other less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics as a whole. We also will honor one team each week.

Marissa Campbell

Brighton senior

Campbell has posted some of the state’s top scores this season according to the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association. Her high game of 268 is tied for ninth this season, and her high series of 470 is tied for 20th. She’s averaging 197 pins per game and rolled a two-game 429 last week.

“I think so far I’ve done good. I’ve definitely had some off days, but lately I’m bowling well."

Up next: Campbell has signed to bowl next season with Alabama A&M. She plans to major in biology and minor in psychology. “I’m not really sure what I’ll do yet. But I really like forensics, like CSI. I could be a lab technician.”

My goal this season: "I want to average 200, at least. My high game this year is 268, and I want to (bowl) last year’s, 279. My dream goal is winning states."

My career highlight: "Number one on my list is when I got my high game of 279 when I was a junior. Another was when I made states sophomore year, which was really big because I was only a sophomore. Last year, I missed the state cut by 10 pins.”

I learned the most about bowling from: "My high school coach, Coach (Shawn) Kind, has taught me the most about bowling, as he was my first teacher. Coach Kind is an awesome coach and never yells at his players, but expects a lot out of us because he knows what we are capable of. In the process of teaching me the technical aspects of the game, I grew a passion for bowling. I can’t imagine my life without it.”

I look up to: “My coaches. My high school coach, Coach Kind, and my person coach Lou Marquez. I look up to them because I trust they only want the best for me, and they believe in me. They know my potential, and always push me to be a better bowler.”

Tim Lambert
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern senior

Lambert recently won the 200th match of his career, and now stands at 46-0 this season and 224-5 for his career. He won 61 as a junior and 62 as a sophomore, and sits atop the MHSAA record book with 124 three-point near falls totaled last season. He is seeking to win his first MHSAA championship. He finished Division 2 runner-up at 112 pounds as a sophomore. He’s wrestling at 125 this winter.

Up next: Lambert has signed to wrestle at Nebraska. He is undecided on what he will study. “I have a wide variety of interests though such as business, marketing, fisheries and wildlife, and sports recreation, etc. (I want to be) a good husband and father, and a successful man in whatever I choose to pursue.”

I learned the most about wrestling from: "I’d say learning a lot from my brother and father has influenced my skills. Training at the Olympic Training Center made a huge impact to my wrestling. I have had many coaches throughout my career and outside of high school that have made a big impact in my wrestling success. Craig Shutich and Ernie Gillem are personal coaches that have made major impacts in my success.

I love most about wrestling: “The challenge and the grind. I love being able to train all year mentally and physically to then step out on the mat and be able to see who the best wrestler is without any other variables.”

My pre-match routine is: "I like warming up early and getting a really good sweat or workout in. That way, I am not going into the match with muscles that are tight and not warmed up. And before finals matches I retie my shoes to make them tight, and it kind of refocuses me."

I look up to: "My whole family gives me inspiration and has supported me, and I look up to them. Also, great wrestlers like Jordan Burroughs give me inspiration."

Other sports: "Right now, I don't play any other sports, and I participate in wrestling for most of the year – although I enjoy playing all other sports like basketball, football, and my personal favorite, ultimate Frisbee."

Grand Ledge Gymnastics

The Comets pushed their four-year-plus winning streak to 69 straight meets and became favorites again to win the MHSAA team championship next month by claiming the Canton Invitational title with a score of 146.8, less than a tenth of a point better than runner-up Canton. The meet featured nine teams from last season's MHSAA Team Final, including the top five placers. 

"We were behind after two events, and we're not used to that," Grand Ledge coach Duane Haring said. "When (we) came back to beam, the last event again, they went five for five. There aren't that many teams that can do that. We're one that can, thank goodness."

Grand Ledge's highlight easily was a 10.0 score by senior Christine Wilson on bars. Haring has been told its the first 10.0 in Michigan high school history, although he's continuing to investigate to find out if that is so. Wilson finished second all-around in Division 1, and teammate Lauren Clark won the Division 2 all-around competition.

"They just showed me so much drive and determination Saturday," Haring said. "It was incredible."

After All-American Career, Rockford's Bennett Making Impact as Mat Mentor

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

July 25, 2023

ROCKFORD – Ben Bennett knew from an early age what he wanted his career path to be.

Made in Michigan is powered by Michigan Army National Guard.“I always wanted to coach,” the former Rockford High School wrestling standout said. “I think I have wanted to coach since I was in middle school. I wanted to be a college wrestling coach.”

Bennett, 33, is currently living out his dreams of becoming a collegiate coach as a member of the Central Michigan University wrestling program.

Bennett, one of the most decorated wrestlers in CMU history, is in his 10th season on 32-year coach Tom Borrelli’s staff.

“I was getting ready to graduate, and a position opened up,” Bennett said. “I think Coach Borrelli knew that I really wanted to stay involved in wrestling and get into coaching. I was fortunate enough to slide into that position, and he had enough faith in me to let me stay here.”

Before getting the opportunity to coach, Bennett amassed eight years of unbridled success at the high school and collegiate levels.

He was a three-time Individual Finals champion at Rockford and helped lead the Rams to a Division 1 team championship as a junior.

“I had a really good high school experience, and I really enjoyed wrestling for our head coach at the time, Don Rinehart,” Bennett said. “He coached for a long time, and we always had some very competitive teams.

“In 2007, my junior year, we won the team state duals, but every year we were really competitive and had multiple individual state champions. Those were the type of teams I was able to wrestle on, which made it pretty exciting and pretty fun when you have those types of guys around you.”

After excelling through the junior ranks, Bennett made an immediate impact for the Rams and captured the Division 1 championship at 140 pounds as a freshman.

However, the following year, he took third at 152 after losing a semifinal match 2-1.

That defeat was humbling for Bennett but also showed him how to handle adversity.

“At the time, in my eyes, the world was ending,” Bennett said. “You look back and it probably was more of a positive. It's good to have those things happen to you, and you face some adversity.

“And I think that's more relatable to life rather than just when you win all the time. I did a lot of winning, but when things are really important, sometimes it's good to fail, for things not to go your way because it will probably happen for the rest of your life.

“You have to learn how to respond and come back from that and handle it the right way and just get back to work. At the time, I remember how devastated I was, but looking back it probably was a positive thing long term.”

Bennett wound up collecting two more Individual Finals titles, at 160 and 171 pounds, to end his high school career and then was named Mr. Wrestler, receiving the award given to the top senior wrestler by the state coaches association.

“I wasn't even thinking that I might get that,” he said. “There are so many great high school wrestlers that come out every year, and thinking about the guys I wrestled … to be singled out as the one chosen for that award was pretty special.”

After graduation, Bennett took his talents to Mount Pleasant. He could’ve gone anywhere to wrestle, but found the right fit at CMU.

“I knew I wanted to wrestle in college, and it was close to home, which I liked,” Bennett said. “I didn't feel like I had to go across the country to have an opportunity to accomplish my goals. I felt like I could stay here and do that.”

Bennett is the only four-time All-American in CMU history and one of three Chippewas to have earned four individual Mid-American Conference titles.

Bennett twice earned the Chick Sherwood Award as CMU’s most valuable wrestler and was named the MAC Wrestler of the Year in 2012. He also had earned the MAC Freshman of the Year Award in 2010.

Bennett ranks sixth in CMU history with 121 career victories, and his career win percentage of .834 is fourth all-time. In 2013, he finished 31-2 for a .939 win percentage, the second-best in program history. He also won a school-record 30 consecutive matches during that season and finished a personal-best fourth at the national tournament.

Bennett wrestles Clarkston’s Adam Lauzun for the Division 1 title at 171 pounds that season.“At the time I was disappointed with how my career went, because I was never a national champion,” Bennett said. “But I think looking back on it, I have a lot more appreciation for what I did.

“As a coach, I realize how hard it is to have success at the college level, and every year you see great wrestlers not make the podium. Sometimes I’m shocked when certain guys don’t place, and it makes me appreciate how hard it is to be a four-time All-American, let alone place one time or multiple times.”

The transition to the coaching side was a difficult process for Bennett, but he knew he wanted to mentor other wrestlers the way his former coaches did with him.

“You put so much into the sport and you realize how much time other people invested and how important it was for me to do well, and so I guess for me it was a hard transition to make,” Bennett said. “You’re so competitive and so focused on yourself, but then being able to help these guys improve, get better and hopefully accomplish their goals was something I was looking forward to doing.

“I had so many people help me do that, and then I was able to be in their shoes and give back to these guys.”

Coaching has kept him involved in a sport he loves.

“And I get to continue to learn and grow and develop in different areas, not just wrestling-wise,” he said. “I get to meet a lot of great people through wrestling and coaching. The guys who come through our program are pretty awesome people.

“I’m pretty fortunate, and I've really enjoyed the coaching side of it, being in the wrestling room with these guys. Getting them ready for a match and going over things after a match. There is a lot that goes into it, but I really enjoy it.”

The love of wrestling for Bennett began at 6 years old, when he was coached by his uncle Tom Bennett – a former Division III All-American – and dad Doug.

“My uncle did a ton for me wrestling-wise, and my dad was the conditioning and discipline-type guy,” Bennett said. “Together it was a good mix. For as long as I can remember, I was always in really good shape. I loved wrestling right away.”

Bennett admits that he probably missed out on a lot when he was younger because he was determined to be the best and his life revolved around wrestling and training.

“It can be a tough way to live, but at the time that's what I wanted to do so that's what I did,” Bennett said. “When I was little my dad always told me that I'm not going to take you across the country to these tournaments if we are not training to win the tournament, not going to fill out the brackets, so my whole life the goal was always to be a champion.

“Going into high school my goal was to be a four-time state champion. I wanted to win the senior nationals, the junior nationals, and I won all those things. Going into college, in my mind, the next step was to be a national champion, and I don't think you realize how hard it really is, and I don't think I realized how hard it was to be an All-American.”

Bennett was promoted to CMU associate head coach last June after spending nine seasons as an assistant. He said the biggest difference with his new position is on the administrative side.

“I do a lot of scheduling and budgeting, things I didn’t do as much before in my years as an assistant coach,” he said. “I’ve taken the reins on some of these things, and it’s good for me to learn.”

Bennett is content with his current role at CMU and continuing to evolve as a coach under Borrelli. However, he hopes to one day take that next step as the head coach of a collegiate program.

“That’s my ultimate goal with coaching,” he said. “When that will happen, I don’t know. I guess I’m not in a hurry. When it happens, it will happen. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can right now.

“Coach Borrelli is an unbelievable coach, leader, mentor and role model, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can from him and soak up as much as I can from him until I get an opportunity somewhere to be a head coach. Right now I'm happy with where I'm at, and when that time comes, it will come.”

Bennett, 33, is engaged to former Chippewas field hockey player Erica Garwood. The couple has been dating for seven years and will get married next month.

“We’re excited, and I’m sure life will really change when we start having kids,” Bennett said. “But it’s good right now. We both went to school here, and she has a good job at an elementary school in town. We enjoy it up here.”

2023 Made In Michigan

July 20: Oakridge 3-Sport Star Potts Applying Lessons to 'Second Chapter' in Sales - Read
July 18:
Frankfort Hoops Staff Bolstered by Past Stars Giving Back in Banktson, Kreski - Read
July 12:
Championship Memories, High School Tennis' Impact Stick with Hackett Pair - Read
July 6: 
Brother Rice Finals Hero Aiming to Ace Family Life, Financial World - Read
July 5:
Lapeer West 4-Time Finals Winner Set to Build Champions at Oklahoma - Read

PHOTOS (Top) Rockford’s Ben Bennett stands atop the podium at the 2008 Individual Finals, and now with fiancé Erica Garwood. (Middle) Bennett wrestles Clarkston’s Adam Lauzun for the Division 1 title at 171 pounds that season. (Current photo courtesy of Ben Bennett; 2008 photos from MHSAA Archives.)