By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half
KALAMAZOO – When Scott Marry took over the wrestling duties at Hudson High School 31 years ago, he knew he had to build a foundation to make his program a success.
He had to get his Tigers young and prepare them for the demands of wrestling, knowing that someday they would perform on the state's largest stage.
So when he was handed his team’s eighth – and third straight – Division 4 championship trophy Saturday after Hudson beat Clinton 45-19 in the Final at Wings Event Center, he made sure one of the championship photos had two rows of young Tigers in it, with smiles wide and raising their index finger high in the air claiming victory.
"There is definitely a climate going on right now, from the youth program all the way up through Hudson," said Marry, whose team ended the year with a 20-7 record. "We don't worry about how many kids we have; the kids work hard. You get them, then season them, get them tough and callus them. A meet like today’s is no different than our practice room. Our room is really tough."
Carson Price was one of those young Tigers who felt the excitement when Hudson was winning five straight titles from 2008-13.
He wanted to be part of the winning, and played a big part in the victory over Clinton when he earned a pin in 3 minutes, 23 seconds at 171 pounds.
That was one of six pins Hudson had over the Redskins.
"We peak at the right time," Price said. "Our guys love each other, and this is a tradition. I have been wrestling since I was a 4-year-old little kid and dreaming about this stuff since I was 6. Today we had all those little kids sitting up there, dreaming with us, and now they are the next wave."
All the seasoning does pay off at the most important times for Hudson.
Of the six pins, four came in a row between 215 pounds and 112. During that stretch, Kyle Moll, Isiah Krizek, Payton Rogers and Bronson Marry all secured falls that turned a 14-9 Clinton lead into a 33-14 advantage for the Tigers.
From there, who was going to win the title was a formality.
“The coin flip was big, and that is a great team," said Clinton coach Jeff Rolland, whose team ended its year with a 30-5 record. "When they get going, they get going, and that (the four pins in a row by Hudson) was a tough stretch for us. We got wins at 140, 145, 160 and 189 and it was close and we felt good. I don't feel like we underperformed today. We got beat."
Starting at 140 pounds, the Redskins did jump out to a 14-9 lead thanks to wins from Kent McCombs at 140, Riley Jeffrey at 145, Braydon Randolph at 160 and Logan Badge at 189.
That's when the Tigers flexed their muscles and showed the Wings Event Center crowd how well they can pin from the cradle.
"We didn't know we were going to get pins, but we knew those rubber matches would be in those places," Marry said. "So we knew there would be a shift in the scoring. This is not like football; you can't get caught up in a 14-point deficit, knowing that you have four weight classes in a row where you can score 24 points."
And that is what Hudson did to show everyone it remains the team to beat in Division 4, even though the Tigers came into the weekend as the third seed. Clinton was seeded number one.
"Everyone keeps asking about the seeds," Rolland said. "Until someone beats them, they are the one everyone is chasing."
PHOTOS: (Top) Hudson's Carson Price works toward a win at 171 pounds during the Division 4 championship match. (Middle) Another Tigers wrestler controls his opponent Saturday. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Years from now, when girls wrestling is no longer considered “new” but just part of every winter’s Michigan high school sports lineup, Eliana Bommarito must still be remembered among its first legendary MHSAA Finals champions.
The recent Hartland grad’s title at 255 pounds in March was among highlights of the Individual Wrestling Finals at Ford Field, which included a girls division for the first time. The state championship actually was Bommarito’s fourth – she’d also won titles her first three seasons at tournaments conducted by the Michigan Wrestling Association, before the MHSAA provided full sponsorship for a girls division last season for the first time. She's continuing her academic and wrestling careers at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, which has won two straight women’s national championships.
"I’m really glad to have that opportunity to not only have girls wrestling be recognized in Michigan, but to be sanctioned alongside the boys this year, which was amazing.
"It feels like our sport is finally being recognized, and that girls wrestling is growing."
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights
Sept. 20: Anna Tracey's Story - Read
Sept. 13: Lola Korpi's Story - Read
Sept. 6: Meah Bajt's Story - Read
Aug. 30: Morgan Brunner's Story - Read
Aug. 23: Ava Brizard's Story - Read
Aug. 16: Paige Miller's Story - Read
Aug. 9: Gracie Olsen's Story - Read
Aug. 2: Maddy Stern's Story - Read
July 26: Reese Miller's Story - Read
July 19: Macy Irelan's Story - Read
July 12: Bridget Boczar's Story - Read
July 5: Ella Boose's Story - Read
June 28: Kaila Jackson's Story - Read
June 23: We Celebrate Our Past, We Look Forward to Our Future - Read
June 21: Assistant Directors Have Been Difference Makers - Read
June 14: Girls Lacrosse Finals Officials Set Empowering Example - Read
June 7: From Gymnastics to Wrestling, Girls Opportunities Continue to Grow - Read
May 31: Mumford Sprinter's Magnificent 2006 Final Remains Unmatched - Read
May 24: Scane, Whiteside Alone on 400-Goal, 500-Point Girls Lacrosse Lists - Read
May 17: Over 8 Days in 1988, Pair of Champs Set No. 1 Singles Standard - Read
May 10: Portage Central's Tarpley Scores as State's Superstar, U.S. Soccer Hero - Read
May 3: Prychitko 'Legend In Her Own Time,' Legend for All Time - Read
April 26: Braddock vs. Verdun Still Striding Among All-Time Sprint Matchups - Read
April 19: Holmes' Strikeout Record Rarely Approached, May Be Unbreakable - Read
April 12: Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports - Read
April 5: Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 28 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read