Mason County Central's Quinn Wins for Team, Family, Community

By Drew Ellis
Special for

March 5, 2022

DETROIT – Standing across from Mason County Central’s Andrew Quinn on Saturday was the reigning Division 4 champion at 285 pounds, who also hadn’t lost in two seasons.

Despite a near-perfect record of his own, Quinn likely wasn’t the favorite to most. But he had other ideas.

The senior scored a reversal in the second period and quickly transitioned it into a pinfall against New Lothrop’s Isiah Pasik to earn his first MHSAA Finals title.

Dealing with a small team at Mason County Central, Quinn (51-1) credited the victory over Pasik (46-1) to his coaching staff, family, and friends who have all put time on the mat with him.

“I’ve got three older brothers up there watching me. They have pushed me my whole life,” Quinn said. “There’s tons of people that came to the wrestling room to help me out. We don’t have a big team, so I get to beat up on these guys (the coaches) every day. 

“There’s tons of people to thank. I didn’t do it alone.”

Champion: Logan Gilbert, Martin/Climax-Scotts, Fr. (41-6)
Decision, 10-5, over Logan Mears, Union City, Fr. (45-5)

Gilbert knew what he needed to do to come away with the 103-pound title.

Having faced Mears three previous times this season, and winning all three, he just stuck to his game plan.

“I was just trying to stop the switch on bottom. (Mears) loves to hit that, and he’s really good at it. In neutral, he likes to hit the slot, but I tried to tie him up with my right arm,” Gilbert said. “I was ready for him.”

Gilbert kept the pressure and scored five takedowns during the match.

“I don’t think it has hit me yet,” Gilbert said of winning a title. “I don’t know what I am feeling right now, but it feels good.” 

Champion: Jacob Bunn, Manchester, Sr. (46-2)
Decision, 5-2, over Trent Kimmel, Martin/Climax-Scotts, Sr. (37-3)

Making his fourth Finals appearance, Bunn finally got through to the top of the mountain.

“It’s something I have been working toward for 14 years now,” Bunn said. “I am just glad that I was able to get to the top in my senior year.”

It was a hard-fought win for the Manchester senior, as he held off a late surge from Kimmel.

“Even before the match, I just was thinking that it was another match and I couldn’t change up my style because it was a state final,” Bunn said. “I went out there and just didn’t let the pressure get to me and stayed focused.”

Champion: Shawn McGuire, Iron Mountain, Jr. (39-2)
Decision, 5-0, over Tyler Winch, Iron Mountain, Soph. (32-14)

It was a bittersweet championship victory for McGuire, the junior, as he dispatched of his Iron Mountain sophomore teammate for the title.

“It’s tough. It’s like your worst nightmare,” McGuire said. “I can never imagine going against my teammate, especially in a state final. It was difficult.”

McGuire controlled the match from start to finish, scoring a pair of takedowns and adding an escape while keeping Winch from getting on the scoreboard.

“It does feel great to be a champion. I’ve worked really hard for this,” McGuire said. “I’ve come close in the past and lost, but I just kept working toward this goal. It’s hard to put into words.”

Champion: Landyn Crance, Union City, Soph. (45-3)
Decision, 8-1, over Austin Marry, Hudson, Soph. (27-12)

As a freshman, Crance saw his chances at competing for a Finals title ended by COVID-19. This year, he made sure to make the most of his opportunity.

“Last year was devastating, having it all taken away from me because of COVID. But, I knew I just wanted to work harder this year to make up for it,” Crance said.

Crance started fast and never looked back, maintaining control of Marry throughout the six minutes.

“I knew I had to ride tight and stay on top,” Crance said. “I knew getting off the bottom would be difficult with (Marry), so I just had to keep control of him.”

Champion: Derek Mayle, Breckenridge, Sr. (38-3)
Major Decision, 14-1, over Dalton Birchmeier, New Lothrop, Fr. (31-13)

Mayle made sure his last match was one of his best.

The Breckenridge senior came within inches of a pinfall victory, but still came away with a 14-1 win.

“This was the last match of my life, so I just wanted to go out and have fun and end it on a bang,” Mayle said. “I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave anything on the mat.”

Mayle overwhelmed Birchmeier, whom he had seen before in Regional competition. Still, the New Lothrop freshman fought hard to see the full six minutes.

“I was pretty confident, but I didn’t want to take the match lightly,” Mayle said. “I just needed to stay disciplined and keep attacking.”

Champion: River Roberson, Hesperia, Sr. (45-2)
Decision, 10-7, over Payton Rogers, Hudson, Sr. (33-7)

In one of the more back-and-forth matches of the Division 4 Finals, Roberson grinded out a 10-7 win.

“It’s hard to believe, but it’s an amazing feeling,” Roberson said. “I’ve worked so hard for this, it’s hard to believe it’s actually happened.”

Roberson found himself in a nearfall situation early in the match, but battled back to take control. Once he got it, he didn’t allow Rogers to get it back.

“When (Rogers) got the first takedown, it kind of made me nervous. But, I knew what I have been through to get here,” Roberson said. “My coaches put me through a lot of intense training to be ready for matches like this.”

Champion: Manus Bennett, Marlette, Jr. (43-0)
Decision, 2-0, over Bronson Marry, Hudson, Sr. (27-3)

In a matchup of two past champions, Bennett scored a takedown in the second period to find a way past Marry.

“A lot of it was just mental technique for me. I knew if I could get the takedown, I am really good at riding legs,” Bennett said. “I knew he was a good wrestler. I just had to not allow him to work his strengths, and find a way to work mine.”

The 103-pound champion in 2020, Bennett used his riding ability and endurance to hang on for his second title.

“Wrestling is the longest six minutes of your life. Two minutes can feel like years,” Bennett said. “Seeing that clock finally hit zero, it was a lot of relief.”

Champion: Sebastian Martinez, Riverview Gabriel Richard, Fr. (33-4)
Decision, 4-1, over Dillon Raab, Bark River-Harris, Jr. (34-3)

Martinez became the first Finals champion in the young history of the Gabriel Richard program by scoring a pair of key takedowns.

“I am starting a new legacy for future Pioneers coming to this school,” Martinez said of being the first champion. “This program is going to be something great, and I am just glad I got to be the first.”

Leading 2-1 entering the third period, Martinez didn’t get passive. He made an aggressive shot on Raab and earned a powerful takedown to lock up the victory.

“I was just trying to hold on, but the best defense is a great offense,” Martinez said. “I decided to take the shot in the third and managed to get the takedown to really secure the win.”

Champion: Parker Stroud, Iron Mountain, Sr. (41-6)
Decision, 11-9, over Josh Collins, Hemlock, Sr. (41-5)

Stroud ended his prep wrestling career with a championship, but wasn’t too thrilled with his performance in an exciting 11-9 victory over Collins.

“It feels pretty good, but I didn’t really wrestle my best. It takes a little away from it, but it still feels good to be a champion,” Stroud said.

Stroud was getting a number of takedowns, but Collins would respond with reversals and threaten to take the victory. It took an explosive takedown from Stroud to get the go-ahead points in the closing seconds.

“I was wrestling pretty well, but I wasn’t getting much done on top,” Stroud said. “I just managed to get the score in the end.”

Champion: Shenard Foster, Detroit Loyola, Sr. (17-0)
Decision, 5-4, over Gavin Wilmoth, Traverse City St. Francis, Sr. (39-3)

After losing in overtime of last year’s championship match, Foster was determined to not let that happen again this year.

The Detroit Loyola senior used his explosiveness and athleticism to top Wilmoth, last year’s 152-pound champion.

“It feels great. I fell short last year, so it feels great to win (a title) this year,” Foster said. “It motivated me a lot, because I knew I could do it.”

Foster was able to score two takedowns in the match while adding an escape. That’s all he needed, as Wilmoth was unable to get him to the ground.

“I just had to stay smart. I am used to wrestling guys that are taller than me. (Wilmoth) was my height, so I just had to be aggressive. I knew he couldn’t stop my shots,” Foster said. 

Champion: Cole Hopkins, Evart, Jr. (54-0)
Major Decision, 15-7, over Noah Etnyre, Lutheran Westland, Jr. (48-5)

Hopkins completed an unbeaten junior season and avenged his lone loss in the 2021 Finals by scoring a major decision in the 171-pound championship match.

“That is the greatest feeling in the world,” Hopkins said. “Since that day (last year’s loss), it’s been eating me alive. Every time I wake up, that’s what I have been thinking about and it made me go harder.”

It was all about the takedowns for Hopkins, as he repeatedly got Etnyre to the ground. He scored a quick takedown in the first and never trailed in the match.

“I just had to not wrestle scared,” Hopkins said. “I had been here before, so that gave me the confidence to wrestle that much harder and get the job done.”

Champion: Drew Allgeyer, Bark River-Harris, Jr. (40-4)
Decision, 9-5, over Cameron Kimble, Hudson, Sr. (43-2)

It wasn’t always easy for Allgeyer, but he led throughout the match to kick off the Division 4 Finals and earn his first championship.

“It feels amazing,” Allgeyer said. “I am on top of the world.”

Allgeyer secured some early takedowns, but Kimble put up a game effort with a reversal in the second period to keep things interesting. In the end, Allgeyer pushed a pace that Kimble couldn’t quite match.

“When I was warming up, I just kept telling myself that these six minutes were going to be mine,” Allgeyer said. “That’s the way that I wrestle every single match.” 

Champion: Caden Ferris, Delton Kellogg, Sr. (49-0)
Major Decision, 10-2, over Grayson Orr, New Lothrop, Jr. (47-6)

Caden Ferris will be a name the Orr family is likely never to forget.

The Delton Kellogg senior won a second consecutive title at 215 pounds with a dominant 10-2 win over Grayson Orr on Saturday.

Last year, Ferris defeated Grayson’s brother, Camden Orr, in the 215-pound final by a score of 13-11 in OT.

“It’s pretty cool,” Ferris said of winning another title. “I’m feeling pretty good about it. I was pretty focused on winning.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Mason County Central’s Andrew Quinn, standing, celebrates his win at 285 pounds Saturday at Ford Field. (Middle) Marlette’s Manus Bennett, top, works toward a win at 140 pounds. (Click for more from

Constantine Football All-Stater, Wrestling Champ Aiming for Grand Finale

By Scott Hassinger
Special for

April 30, 2024

CONSTANTINE – Bennett VandenBerg has earned many accolades over the last four years as a three-sport athlete at Constantine.

Southwest CorridorBut the awards aren't what the 6-foot-3, 240-pound standout will remember most when reflecting on his memories as an all-state football player, state champion wrestler and record-breaking throwing specialist on the Falcons' track & field squad.

"I'll remember how I represented our school and pushed myself to be the best I could be in each sport that I played," said VandenBerg, who has earned 12 varsity letters.

VandenBerg has evolved into one of the most accomplished athletes in the state this school year as a senior, especially standing out among those from smaller communities.

This past fall he was named first-team Division 5-6 all-state at defensive end in football before winning the Division 3 Individual Finals wrestling title at 285 pounds in early March at Ford Field.

VandenBerg's final goal is to win the discus title at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals on Saturday, June 1, in Kent City to end his Constantine career all-state in all three sports.

He broke the school record in the discus his junior year with a throw of 158 feet, 1 inch; the previous mark of 156-6 had been held by Doug Polasek since 1986. VandenBerg has eclipsed his school record twice this spring, most recently with a personal-best toss of 170-9 in a Southwestern Athletic Conference double dual meet with Schoolcraft and Kalamazoo Christian. He ranks No. 4 statewide in the event regardless of enrollment division. Lawton junior Mason Mayne at 175-4 is the only Division 3 competitor with a better throw than VandenBerg.

"It's really cool to have your name up on the school record board, but I'd like to make that mark more untouchable before I'm done," VandenBerg said. "My goal is to be a state discus champion. I've put in the necessary work for it. It would be nice to end my career that way."

Kyle Rimer, Constantine's veteran boys track & field coach, is most impressed with VandenBerg's leadership and presence in working with the Falcons' younger athletes.

VandenBerg, top position, battles Wyatt Spalo in their Division championship wrestling match at 285 pounds in March at Ford Field. "Bennett loves to compete. Ever since he was a freshman, we've also had him on our 400-meter relay team. That's something he really enjoys doing. He's not just a thrower, but a good overall athlete with lots of drive,” Rimer said. “There's a lot of individuality in track & field, but I think he does a great job of leading the younger kids. He has the drive, accountability and technique to achieve his goal of being a state champion in his throwing events.”

VandenBerg is already a two-time Finals placer in the discus, earning sixth as a junior and seventh his sophomore year. He admits being a little disappointed with his distance at the 2023 state meet.

"In that particular event (discus) you need lots of focus and determination because there are a ton of tiny things you can mess up on that affect your throw. To become better you need to be consistent, show up every day and be willing to put in the work," VandenBerg said. "Right now I'm working on my speed in the circle and quickness in my follow-through."

VandenBerg also has been pleased with his improvement this spring in the shot put. He's increased his distance by over five feet and hopes to break the school record in that event as well. John Kampars (1967) holds Constantine's shot put record at 54-8¼, and VandenBerg's personal best is 48-10 in a double-dual meet this season against Parchment and Centreville.

"Shot put is a difficult event. You need power, but your form has to be top-notch – otherwise it's tough to move that 12-pound ball," VandenBerg said. "I would love to qualify for state in both the discus and shot put and be all-state in each. That would be amazing if I could be a state champion in either of those events."

VandenBerg has put in extra work in the offseason with special instruction from Bill Griffey of Next Throw in Plainwell, along with working with Constantine assistant track & field and head football coach Shawn Griffith.

"Bennett puts a lot of time into working on his throwing. He spends a lot of time in the weight room, and he's a bigger kid who is not afraid to be coached and listens to what other people tell him," Griffith said. "We're excited to see what he can do now that we've had warmer weather recently."

VandenBerg (34) carries the football during a 2023 regular-season home game against Schoolcraft.VandenBerg's motivation this spring follows a tremendous wrestling season that saw him finish 54-0 and capture the 285 championship with a 3-0 win in the title match over Reed City junior Wyatt Spalo.

"I gained 20 pounds of muscle and did everything you need to do to become a better athlete to wrestle the heavyweight division. Winning the title was overwhelming. It was everything I ever wanted, and the first 20 minutes after winning it was relief, especially after losing in the Finals as a junior. I just went into that last match and wrestled smart and confident," VandenBerg said. "My speed and strength gave me an advantage over the bigger heavyweights I faced this year."

Vandenberg, 188-22 with 104 career pins, became the 10th Finals champion in Constantine wrestling history and the first to achieve the feat since Kevin Watkins won a 152-pound crown in 2000.

VandenBerg competed at 189 as a freshman and sophomore. He was a Regional qualifier as a freshman and finished sixth in Division 3 as a sophomore before ending his junior campaign as the Finals runner-up at 215. 

"Bennett is a competitor who hates to lose, and if he does he learns from it. He had a lot of good practice partners on the team his first three years, and he wasn't going to be denied after losing in the Finals as a junior," said Constantine wrestling coach Dale Davidhizar Jr.

VandenBerg played on Constantine's varsity football team for four years. He got a lot of extra playing time as a freshman when Constantine reached the Division 6 Semifinals during in the COVID-shortened season. He led the Falcons in rushing as a sophomore before switching to tight end as a junior. Out of necessity, VandenBerg returned to lead Constantine in rushing and scoring again as a senior.

"Bennett learned a great deal from the older guys on the team his first three varsity seasons. He learned leadership qualities and is a very unselfish kid who is willing to do what's best for his team," Griffith said.

VandenBerg is most proud of Constantine winning a District crown last fall, especially after his senior class went 0-5-1 as eighth graders. VandenBerg posted 164 solo tackles at defensive end during his final high school season and was Constantine's main offensive weapon with 1,354 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing on 186 carries.

"Winning Districts as seniors in football was a special moment. As eighth graders, we weren't exactly the most athletic team, but we put in the work as we got older to become successful," VandenBerg said.

VandenBerg has been invited to play for the West team at the annual Michigan High School Football Coaches Association's East-West All-Star Game this summer.

College coaches have shown interest in VandenBerg in all three sports, especially football and wrestling. VandenBerg, who carries a cumulative GPA of 3.989 and scored 1110 on his SAT, is weighing his options in athletics but knows he wants to study either ecology or forestry in college.

"I love being outdoors and doing what I love to do," VandenBerg said.

Scott HassingerScott Hassinger is a contributing sportswriter for Leader Publications and previously served as the sports editor for the Three Rivers Commercial-News from 1994-2022. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Constantine’s Bennett VandenBerg competes in the discus during a home meet his junior season. (Middle) VandenBerg, top position, battles Wyatt Spalo in their Division championship wrestling match at 285 pounds in March at Ford Field. (Below) VandenBerg (34) carries the football during a 2023 regular-season home game against Schoolcraft. (Photos by Brandon Watson/Sturgis Journal.)