High 5s - 3/6/12

March 6, 2012

Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments during the current season.

Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer suggestions by e-mail to Geoff@mhsaa.com. 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.

Nathalie Kenny

Manistee senior

Skiing

Kenny finished her high school skiing career with her sixth and seventh top-10 MHSAA Finals finishes, including her second straight Division 2 championship in giant slalom in a two-run time of 59.79 seconds. She also finished runner-up in the slalom (1:13.31), her third runner-up finish over the last four seasons. Her Manistee/Traverse City St. Francis team finishined fourth, but won the meet when she was a freshman. Kenny also swam in the fall, and plays center midfielder for the soccer team.

Up next: Kenny hopes to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees and eventually a doctorate as well, and has applied to St. Olaf's (Minn.), Dartmouth, Harvard and Middlebury (Vt.), as well as to the U.S. Air Force Academy. She'd like to continue skiing competitively, but at what level -- NCAA, intramural or not at all -- will depend on where she attends college. She's planning on a career in science. "I am interested in a plethora of concentrations including, but not limited to, biology, environmental science, law and medicine."

Some day, I will be: "When I was younger I would have answered: the President. But now, I find myself leaning towards a lawyer, researcher, scientist, physician or world traveler. However, I will still just be me; my job won't define who I am."

I learned the most about skiing from: "Dan Janowiak. I have worked with Dan for about six or seven years now, and I don't know many others with the ski racing knowledge that he has. From technique to tactics, visualization to preparation, Dan has stuffed my brain. Without him, I would not be the skier I am today."

I look up to: "My coach's daughter, Lyndee Janowiak, has always been a role model for me in skiing. She has natural talent, and I admire her hard work and passion for the sport. She is very fast and has had a successful career that recently came to an end when she graduated college. When she isn't busy racing herself, she is always giving tips and helping me improve. She believes in me and has helped me become a better skier. That is something that I will always be grateful for."

I love skiing because: "... I love the speed, and the adrenaline rush that pumps through my body when I fly down the hill. I love the feeling of carving my edges into the snow and making angles so big that I feel as if my butt will touch the ground. And I love the challenge that it presents. Between the speed, gravitational forces, use of energy, and complexity of a seemingly simple turn, skiing is one of the most difficult and technical sports there is. The list never ends, and neither does my hunger to improve."

Paige Arrington

Gibraltar Carlson senior

Competitive Cheer

Arrington, a four-year member of the squad, helped the Marauders to their third MHSAA Division 2 championship of her high school career. Carlson posted the meet's highest scores in both Round 1 and Round 2, and then tied for the high score in Round 3 to finish with a total of 807.3944 points, 2.9 ahead of runner-up Dearborn Divine Child.

"It's absolutely mind-blowing. I'm so happy to leave my senior year with three state championships and two of them being back-to-back. It is absolutely an amazing feeling, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Up next: Arrington will attend Oakland University and study nursing. She also expects to join the Oakland cheer team.

I learned the most about cheer from: Shumate Middle School coach Marissa Mousouleas.

I look up to: "All my coaches. Danielle (Jokela), Christy (Wilson), everybody. They just do so much for us and help us so much. It's hard to pick one."

I'm motivated by: "Winning. I just love to win, so (I) work hard to do it."

My career highlight was: "Probably winning states my freshman year. Sending out our seniors with their back-to-back championships. I felt good because I helped do that. And then this year, my freshmen helped send me out with back-to-back state championships, and that's amazing."

To those who say cheer isn't a sport: "First off, I would laugh. And then I would say ... we even had one practice that was 10 hours long to everything perfect. We've been with each other six days a week since November. We put everything into this sport and we flip around, jump around, hit things tight. And it has to be perfect. It's a sport."

Jordan Thomas

Greenville wrestling

Senior

Thomas, who will wrestle next season at the University of Michigan, won his third-straight MHSAA championship Saturday, in Division 2 and 189 pounds. Thomas defeated reigning champion Gabe Dean of Lowell 5-1, giving him two wins over Dean this winter and a final record of 45-0 -- and 217-3 for his high school career. Thomas and St. Johns senior Taylor Massa led the opening wrestlers march onto The Palace of Auburn Hills floor. Massa is the only wrestler who has stopped Thomas in an MHSAA Final -- he beat Thomas 5-2 in the 145-pound Final when both were freshmen.

"I knew (Dean) was thinking overtime. I thought I had one more good shot in me. With 12 seconds (left), I go after it. I got a good shot off, strong finish. It felt good."

Up next: Thomas hopes to redshirt his first season at Michigan plans to study business. "I love math."

I learned the most about wrestling from: Thomas thanked Tom, Doug and Ben Bennett, Rodger and Taylor Massa, and his Greenville coaches.

I look up to: Ever since I was little, people asked me do you look up to Cael Sanderson, do you look up to Brent Metcalf? I think those guys are great. But I try not to look up to anybody. ... I want to make my own path, do something nobody else has done. Obviously, I can't have an undefeated career. Cael already had that undefeated college career. I want to do something else for the first time. It doesn't matter who you look up to. There's a lot of people I think are great. I just pick up little things from everybody."

Richmond Competitive Cheer

The Blue Devils improved from third place at the Division 3 Final in both 2009 and 2010, to second last season and finally finished first Saturday at the Grand Rapids Delta Plex.

Richmond won all of its events this winter, and scored the meet high in each round on the way to its first MHSAA championship.

Click to read more.

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.)