Dundee Runs Title Total to 14, Championship Streak to 5 in D3

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

February 26, 2022

KALAMAZOO – It had to be Casey Swiderski.

The best way to cap off another dominant season for Division 3’s dominant wrestling program was by having its most dominant wrestler on the mat for the final match.

Swiderski, who will compete for a fourth straight individual title in a week, won by pin Saturday to close out Dundee’s 55-12 Division 3 Final victory against Alma at Wings Event Center. It was the fifth-straight Finals title for the Vikings.

“Nothing beats that, man,” Swiderski said. “It’s crazy that’s the weight that was drawn. I weighed in above 160 by a pound, and I knew I was going to go 171. It’s just crazy that was drawn. It’s awesome. No better feeling than this right here.”

The Vikings (17-4) have now won eight of the past 10 Division 3 Finals titles, and 14 total. They’ve made at least the Final in each of the past 11 seasons.

“It’s the first time in our school’s history that we’ve won five in a row,” Dundee coach Tim Roberts said. “Where this team was when we started the year, I knew we had a lot of good guys coming back, but when we started, everybody was 152 and below, and we had a bunch of guys at 145. Some guys had to just wrestle over their heads. Connor Collins, he’s a 152-pounder is what he should be. We had him wrestle 160 all year then had him get heavy so he could wrestle 189. Then this weekend, he’s wrestling 189, winning matches, and that Jacob Munger (of Alma) is the No. 1-ranked kid in the state right now, and he kept it to a regular decision. So you’ve got guys giving efforts like and fighting like that.”

As Saturday’s match ended, Roberts and Swiderski shared an embrace on the edge of the mat.

“When we drew that weight, we’d weighed him in at (160) this weekend for a purpose, but we just decided that no matter what, he’s wrestling last,” Roberts said. “He’s been special to this program with all the things he’s accomplished. The level he wrestles, it’s just really fun to watch. All the things he’s done, I’m really proud of him.”

Alma/Dundee wrestlingSwiderski is one of multiple returning individual champions and top-ranked wrestlers for the Vikings, who actually fell behind 9-0 in the dual.

Munger opened with the decision for Alma, and Adam Garcia won by pin at 215 to get the Panthers’ crowd on its feet.

It only took 45 seconds, however, for Dundee to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, as Kaiden Hubbell (285) and Ashton Viers (103) each won with first-period pins.

That was the beginning of 10 straight victories for the Vikings. Kyle Smith (119), Braeden Davis (125), Logan Sander (140) and Aiden Davis (152) won by pin, Kaden Chinavare (135) won by major decision, and Kade Kluce (112), Cameron Chinavare (130) and Trey Parker (145) each won by decision.

“I thought we had a better chance,” Alma coach Randy Miniard said. “I thought we could take the four top weight classes by pin, so I thought if we could sneak in two or three other matches, we might be able to sneak it in there. But we had a hell of a run. At the beginning of the season, we wanted to make the Finals. This year, we thought we had a chance. Knowing that you have a chance and getting here is really, really special. Even though we didn’t get the job done, there’s no shame in losing to Dundee.”

The trip to the Final was the first for Alma (28-2). The Panthers had qualified for the Semifinals the previous two seasons, and its large senior class had finished every season at Kalamazoo.

“I’ve got 10 seniors that put the work in ever since they were in youth wrestling until now, and they deserve every bit of it,” Miniard said. “There’s so many people that it takes to be a championship-quality team. The tradition of Alma wrestling, for five years in a row being here, is unbelievable, and it took a lot of people and a lot of effort. It takes a community of people to win championships, and we’ve got a community of people in Alma that love their wrestling program.”

Cole O’Boyle (160) also picked up a victory for Alma in the Final.

Dundee defeated Imlay City 74-5 in the Semifinals. Both Chinavares, both Davises, Sander, Swiderski, Hubbell, Viers and Kluce all had three wins on the weekend for Dundee.

Alma knocked off Clinton – the 2020 and 2021 Division 4 champion – 33-29 in the Semifinals. The match was sealed by a Fabian Facundo decision, but turned on its head when Munger defeated three-time individual champion Logan Badge at 189. Munger and Garcia each finished with three wins on the weekend for Alma.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Dundee’s wrestlers celebrate their fifth-straight Division 3 championship Saturday. (Middle) Alma’s Jacob Munger works toward a decision at 189 pounds. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Hall, Stevens Teaming Up to Continue Dundee Championship Tradition

By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com

November 22, 2022

DUNDEE – How do you replace a legendary coach? 

Southeast & BorderFor the Dundee Vikings wrestling program, it takes two. 

Nate Hall and Garrett Stevens opened practice last week as the new co-coaches of the ultra-successful Dundee wrestling program, taking the reins from Tim Roberts, one of the winningest coaches in state wrestling history. 

“From day one, we’ve done a really good job of pushing each other and staying focused,” Stevens said. “The kids have been getting after it. Things are going well.” 

Dundee’s wrestling program is a rich one. Roberts stepped down with a state-record 10 MHSAA Finals titles over his 23 seasons as head coach. In all 23 of those years, Dundee won District championships, and in 22 of those 23 years the Vikings won Regional titles. Roberts not only accumulated 10 Finals championship trophies, but he also won more than 500 dual matches.  

Hall and Stevens have coached together for several years on the Dundee staff. Now they are dividing up duties and looking to start the next era of Vikings wrestling.  

“We know what we are up against,” Hall said. “We have a strong tradition to keep on. We understand two people going at it is probably the better route.” 

The move is not without precedent. In the conference that Dundee competes in – the Lenawee County Athletic Association – Clinton had co-coaches lead the Redwolves to the Division 4 championship two seasons ago. Division 3 powerhouse Richmond has utilized co-coaches in the sport as well. 

“We sort of applied together,” Stevens said. “We thought we could do this.” 

Dundee Athletic Director Ross Crow said he was hesitant at first to consider the co-coach idea, but after meeting with both realized it could work. 

Stevens, top, and Hall stand with their retired coach and mentor at various events. span>“After sitting down with them and having a lengthy discussion, I realized they have an extremely organized and articulated plan as to how they are carrying the torch moving forward,” Crow said. “Whenever I have a question, I either text or e-mail both of them on a group thread. They both chime in and more often than not, the answer is exactly the same for both of them. It's a really good fit, as they are close friends and have no egos.” 

Stevens is a 2007 Dundee graduate. He wrestled for Roberts. His dad was a Dundee wrestler as well, graduating in the 1970s. Stevens brings his connection to the Dundee wrestling community to the table as well as years of coaching experience. 

Hall is from nearby Blissfield, where he was an all-state wrestler. He wrestled for Grand Valley State’s club program and was a coach there as well. He returned to southeast Michigan to coach with his father – Adrian Madison head coach Scott Hall – and joined the Dundee staff when he became a physical education teacher at the middle school about five years ago. 

As co-head coach, Nate Hall handles a lot of the organizational duties, especially anything involving the school district, since he works there. Stevens brings a technical side of the sport with him. 

The duo believe they can make it work because of the chemistry between them. 

“I was always more of a technical wrestler,” Stevens said. “I think Tim (Roberts) felt I could help connect with the kids and teach them how to do a few things differently. 

“After I graduated from high school, I got away from wrestling for a while, but in 2011, Tim reached out to me and asked if I wanted to get back involved and it seemed like a no-brainer. I missed it. I liked being around him and there were some things I could bring to the table. I was chomping at the bit once the opportunity opened for me.” 

Stevens said Roberts was wonderful to learn from because he was such a great person and sought out input from his staff. 

“Tim’s approach to coaching was unique,” Stevens said. “He’s very open-minded and understands there is so much more to learn. You constantly want your kids and program to grow. Every year I coached with him, he changed something every year. He was constantly modifying, tweaking, and seeking out help and advice from others.” 

Hall likes how things have started. 

“It’s going very well so far,” Hall said. “Tim didn’t leave the well dry. He’s got an established program and an established wrestling community that has been supportive of both Garrett and I so far.  

Stevens and son Brady, and Hall and daughter Kimberly, celebrate the 2020 championship.“We’ve got a tremendous senior class – three state champions and another kid that was third in the state last year. Their leadership is really going to be a huge aspect of our success this year.” 

The Vikings also have 14 freshmen.          

“We’ve hit the ground running,” Hall said. “We provide a lot of opportunities in the offseason for kids to get into the wrestling room and stay active. Most of our guys are active throughout. The freshmen are a real promising group that we can keep the ball rolling,” Hall said.  

The veterans in the wrestling room include Kaden Chinavare, a Central Michigan University signee who won an Individual Finals title as a sophomore; Aiden Davis, a two-time Finals champ headed to Bucknell; and Braeden Davis, a Penn State University recruit looking for a fourth consecutive Finals title in 2023.  

“The biggest thing with this group, I would say, is their willingness to push each other in the right manner,” Hall said. “We’ve got a lot of successful individuals, and they are already going out of their way to make sure each person around them is getting the most out of their reps they can get. 

“The team chemistry is already a big part of it.” 

Both coaches admit there is pressure to maintain a program that is not just known at the state level, but nationally.  

“If you’re not feeling that pressure, maybe you’re not taking it as seriously as it needs to be taken,” Hall said. “We are here to help kids accomplish their goals, and pressure is a part of that – especially at the elite level a lot of our wrestlers want to compete at.” 

Despite the turnover in coaching, Dundee’s goals remain high. 

Dundee opens with the Grappler Gold, will go to Davison, then compete at a big invitational in Ohio. They Vikings will compete at Detroit Catholic Central and the Hudson Super 16 in late January. 

“We always want to aim high,” Stevens said.

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at DougDonnelly@hotmail.com with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Nate Hall, left, and Garrett Stevens walk together during the opening march at an MHSAA Team Finals; retired coach Tim Roberts is behind them, waving. (Middle) Stevens, top, and Hall stand with their retired coach and mentor at various events. (Below) Stevens and son Brady, and Hall and daughter Kimberly, celebrate the 2020 championship. (Top and below photos by Kathy Killion.)