Perry's Persistence Pays Off Once More with 3rd Finals Championship

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 2, 2024

DETROIT – As his sophomore season was being derailed by injuries, Coy Perry vowed to keep going.

Two years later, he left Ford Field as a three-time Division 4 Individual Finals champion.

“It’s unreal, I don’t know,” Perry said. “It’s crazy.”

The Hudson senior defeated Blake Sloan of Manchester 1-0 in the 144-pound Final on Saturday to wrap up his high school career as a four-time placer. The one non-title year was 2022 when he finished seventh at 135 pounds in Division 3 while wrestling for Clinton, where he spent the first two years.

He won Division 4 titles at 112 in 2021 and 144 a year ago. He was also part of three team titles, winning with Clinton in 2021 and Hudson each of the past two years.

“Hopefully I’ll have kids one day, and it’ll be awesome to show them some of the stuff I’ve done,” Perry said. “Hopefully it sets an example for a lot of people, especially my brother (Colt, who placed second Saturday).”

Perry, who was one of four champs from Hudson, claimed title No. 3 by beating a good friend in Sloan, which is something he would rather not have had to do.

“I can’t explain how bad it is knowing he’s your friend, too,” said Perry, who had to defeat a teammate in the Final as a freshman. “You kind of have to change your entire offense, everything. It’s nuts. That’s not the first 1-0, either.”

Champion: Logan Gilbert, Martin, Jr. (52-3)
Decision, 5-2, over Jordan Zambron, Riverview Gabriel Richard, Fr. (45-7)

Gilbert put himself back on top of the podium after coming up one match short a year ago. He was the 103-pound champion in 2022.

“Especially after last year, it just drove me to get better and get back on top,” he said. “When I lost, I thought ‘Nobody thinks I’m a legitimate state champ,’ so I had to put my head down and go to work and prove to them that I’m still one of the top wrestlers in the state at lightweight. That’s a phenomenal wrestler I just wrestled, he’s going to be a state champ in the future, no doubt about it.”

Champion: Alex Rodriguez, St. Louis, Soph. (48-2)
Fall, 3:16, over Austin Garcia, Lawton, Jr. (47-4)

After finishing as runner-up a year ago, Rodriguez was emotional following his first Finals victory. After leaving the mat, he quickly met with his teammates to receive congratulations, and then sprinted to the Ford Field stands to find his dad.

“Last year I lost in the state finals, and it was a hard month after that,” he said. “I could barely sleep and stuff. Came back here tonight and did what I had to do.”

Rodriguez is at the center of St. Louis’ climb to the top of Division 4, as he and his teammates were team runners-up to Hudson a week ago. He’s been training in the Sharks’ room since he was in third grade.

“Just knowing that we’re a part of that, and what we can do, it’s huge,” he said.

Champion: Nicholas Sorrow, Hudson, Soph. (52-1)
Technical fall, 16-1 (4:18), over Colt Perry, Hudson, Soph. (22-8)

Sorrow didn’t mince words after claiming his second Finals title in as many tries. He’s coming for four.

“I’m trying to get four,” he said. “I’m looking ahead, I’m not going to look back.”

He had to get through his teammate to claim title No. 2, but said he and Perry are able to separate their friendship from the mat.

“It’s always tough wrestling a teammate,” he said. “Colt’s a good guy, we’re friends off the mat, we’re buds. But, for me, whenever we step on the mat, put the ankle bands on and shake hands, you kind of forget about all that.”

Champion: Julien Kimling, Hudson, Jr. (42-10)
Decision, 7-4, over Sammy Stewart, Manchester, Soph. (55-3)

It was an emotional title for Kimling, who lost his grandfather to cancer a year ago, something he learned while at the Finals his sophomore year.

So, despite facing a 2023 champion in Stewart, he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way.

“It means everything,” he said. “I was at this tournament last year when I found out my grandfather passed of cancer, right up in Section 124. And I told him I’d get it for him this year. I didn’t get there last year, I was fourth, and I told him I’d get it for him. This was all for him. All glory to God, God has kept me connected to my grandpa through it all. And I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Champion: Haylen Buell, Climax-Scotts/Martin, Soph. (45-4)
Fall, 2:24, over Logan Mears, Union City, Jr. (35-3)

Buell became the first wrestler to claim a title on the night, winning by fall early in the second period.

It was the first Finals title for the sophomore, who was runner-up at this weight a year ago.

“I was so excited,” he said. “I’m glad I didn’t freeze. It feels great, it was against the same team.”

Champion: Cole Marry, Hudson, Sr. (48-8)
Decision, 5-0, over Jacob Gillison, Benzie Central, Sr. (46-9)

Marry claimed his first Finals title and 150th career win with the victory. He broke the match open in the second period with a pair of nearfalls.

“I just went out there wanting to have fun and wanting to go get it,” said Marry, who has been part of the past three Team Finals titles at Hudson. “It feels awesome. I came out here with my buddies, our coach told us to come out here with the same mentality that we had last weekend, which I think we all did.”

Champion: Montana Connell, Union City, Jr. (41-8)
Decision, 6-2, over Gabriel Erwin, Bronson, Soph. (42-7)

Connell was an afterthought heading into the postseason, sitting outside the rankings. He didn’t advance to the Individual Finals a year ago, after going 0-2 here as a freshman. 

So, following his unanticipated victory, he was understandably emotional.

“It just meant a lot the whole time,” said Connell, who allowed himself to believe he could win it all after winning his second-round match against Grason Weber of Leslie. “That was a really big win for me and helped me mentally get here.”

Champion: Gavin Schoff, Niles-Brandywine, Sr. (49-0)
Decision, 1-0, over Layne Knisely, Bronson, Soph. (51-7)

It wasn’t until a year ago when he placed third at the Individual Finals that Schoff allowed the thought of being a Finals champion enter his head.

Now it’s a reality.

“I never thought I’d be a state champ,” Schoff said. “It was never even in my thought when I was younger, like a freshman, I never thought I’d be able to make it to this high of a level. I saw him at Regionals, but I was able to pin him in the first. He knew that I wanted to go upper body with him, so he wasn’t staying in the tie-up at all.”

Champion: Sebastian Martinez, Riverview Gabriel Richard, Jr. (54-0)
Major decision, 9-1, over Fulton Stroud, Iron Mountain, Sr. (36-3)

Martinez stayed on pace to become the state’s 38th four-time champion, claiming his third Finals title in as many years. 

He won at 145 as a freshman and 157 a year ago. Stroud, meanwhile, was a runner-up at 165 in 2023.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Martinez said. “There’s a lot of pressure to be a four-timer, but it’s a good step toward that goal and I’m just grateful I got to be here and compete.”

Winning four is something Martinez said started to enter his head after his freshman year, but the pressure is something he welcomes.

“You can only make diamonds in pressure, so it’s good,” he said.

Champion: Brady Jess, Charlevoix, Jr. (54-1)
Major decision, 13-2, over Caleb Lane, White Pigeon, Sr. (49-2)

Jess wasn’t going to hide it after winning his first Finals title: This is tough work, even when you win in a dominant fashion.

“I’m really tired, but it felt good,” Jess said. “I don’t even know, it felt unreal.”

He actually trailed in the match, 2-0, as Lane got a takedown 36 seconds in. But Jess countered with eight points to close the period and was on his way to a major decision.

Champion: Colton Symons, New Lothrop, Sr. (47-5)
Fall, 2:46, over CJ Copeland, Lakeview, Jr. (46-6)

Winning matches at the Individual Finals is a tradition for the Symons family. Now Colton gets to join his older brother Caleb as a Finals champion, even using a cradle to get the pin, something else that ran in the family.

“It’s something my brothers were really good at, so I knew if I got on top, that’s the move I had to go for,” Symons said before rattling off what his brothers had accomplished before him. “Four team state championships, two runner-ups, one state championship and I think nine all-state appearances. I think I felt (pressure) my entire life. When people are successful before you, you want to do the same, and I always want to do better.”

Charlevoix’s Landon Swanson, right, works to keep leverage against Perry’s Cameron Doody. 

Champion: Landon Swanson, Charlevoix, Sr. (49-2)
Decision, 9-3, over Cameron Doody, Perry, Sr. (47-5)

Not long after watching his good friend Jess win a title, Swanson got the chance to do it himself, and he made the most of the opportunity.

“My adrenaline was through the roof,” Swanson said. “It’s crazy. He’s been my best friend since I can remember, so it’s great having us both win one.”

The Central Michigan football signee broke the match open by scoring seven points in the third period.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Senior year, finally getting there after being here for the third time, it’s just amazing to come out on top, finally.”

Champion: Zachary Hayes, Bangor, Sr. (51-1)
Decision, 4-0, over Chaz Underwood, White Pigeon, Jr. (43-8)

Hayes and Underwood had met multiple times during the season, so the Bangor senior knew what to expect and how dangerous his opponent from White Pigeon could be.

“Really all upper body,” Hayes said. “Getting under the arms, trying to do lat drops, headlocks, stuff like that.”

The match was scoreless going into the third period, but Hayes got an early escape and a stalling point before a late takedown closed the victory.

“Once I got my point, I think I really thought I could secure the match,” he said. “I’m pretty good in the up position, and I feel like I can stay up. I was pretty confident by that point.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Hudson’s Coy Perry, right, wrestles Manchester’s Blake Sloan during Saturday’s 144-pound title match. (Middle) Charlevoix’s Landon Swanson, right, works to keep leverage against Perry’s Cameron Doody. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

Performance of the Week: Detroit Catholic Central's Darius Marines

March 8, 2024

Darius Marines headshotDarius Marines ♦ Detroit Catholic Central
Senior ♦ Wrestling

Marines became the 36th wrestler in Michigan high school history to win a fourth Individual Finals championship as he clinched the 157-pound title with a 10-2 major decision over Roseville's previously-undefeated Jay'Den Williams on Saturday at Ford Field. Marines became the third Detroit Catholic Central wrestler to earn four Finals titles. 

The clinching victory put Marines at 50-0 to close this season, and 138-9 for his career. His previous championships came at 145 pounds as a freshman, 152 as a sophomore and 157 last year as a junior. He won by technical fall, pin and then major decision on the way to meeting Williams in the championship match. He also helped the Shamrocks to Division 1 team titles the last two seasons. Marines will continue wrestling at the college level and is considering multiple Division I opportunities.

@mhsaasports 🤼‍♂️POW: Darius Marines #wrestling #individual #detroitcatholiccentral #letsgo #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🤼‍♂️POW: Darius Marines #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #muhammadali #joker #pasta #japan #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

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PHOTO DCC's Darius Marines, left, wrestles Roseville's Jay'Den Williams in the Division 1 157-pound championship match Saturday at Ford Field. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)