Trombley Prevents History, Makes His Own

March 5, 2016

By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half

AUBURN HILLS – Jarrett Trombley ended a bit of history Saturday night at the MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

And along the way, he kept his own bit of history going.

The Lake Fenton sophomore beat Grand Rapids Catholic Central senior Devin Schroder 6-4 in overtime, preventing Schroder from winning his fourth MHSAA championship and becoming just the 22nd wrestler to accomplish that feat.

And Trombley won his second straight Division 3 Finals title, to go with the 112-pound championship he earned last year while wrestling for Corunna High School.

"Pretty much everyone knew who won this match would be a (four-time) champion, whether it was me in two years or him today," Trombley said. "I'm just really happy to hold him back from history and make some of my own history today."

It wasn't easy, though, as the match went into an extra period, where Trombley secured the win with a takedown.

"That's why we work so hard, Trombley said. "We were both very well-conditioned athletes; it just came down to whoever had the most heart."


Champion: Anthony Gallagher, Perry, Jr. (42-1)
Decision, 2-0, over A.J. Geyer, Lake Fenton, Jr. (51-9)

After shaking hands with the opposing coaches, Anthony Gallagher sprinted across the mat and jumped into his coach's arms.

He first wanted to share his special moment with two people who helped realize his dream.

"This is amazing," Gallagher said. "My coaches and I put so much work into this. So much blood, sweat and tears, and to finally see what I've wanted to accomplish since the start of the year is amazing."

What's even more amazing is that Gallagher is the first wrestling MHSAA champion at Perry High School in 41 years.


Champion: Spencer Good, Jackson Lumen Christi, Jr. (43-4)
Decision, 6-3, over Blain Wood, Caro, Soph. (51-6)

Good was better than good; he was great this weekend in Auburn Hills. And because of that, the Jackson Lumen Christi junior is a champion.

Good said it was old-fashioned work ethic that helped him come out on top in his weight class this weekend, and it showed in the Final as he took the match to Wood from the start.

"I am so thrilled with this; this is the best feeling I have felt in my life," Good said. "There is so much work and effort put into this sport, and this is the dream behind it all. You put in so much work, to finally accomplish this, it's a big deal."


Champion: Aaron Kilburn, Richmond, Sr. (44-4)
Decision, 7-1, over Trevor Robinson, Shepherd, Fr. (49-6)

Kilburn is a man of few words. He let's his talking be done on the mat.

Kilburn won his second title with a workmanlike 7-1 decision.

The Richmond senior won his first title at 112 pounds at the end of his sophomore season.

"It feels a little different this time since it’s my senior year," Kilburn said "Going out with a bang, that's a bonus."

Even though it was Kilburn's day, he looked back at Richmond history to get through his last year.

"Watching him (Richmond 4-time champion Devin Skatzka) dominate this tournament for four years helped," Kilburn said of his former teammate who accomplished that feat last year. "He just dominated this tournament, and showed me."


Champion: Alex Martinez, Ida, Sr. (45-0)
Decision, 4-3 OT, over Kole Krauss, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Sr. (43-2)

As a freshman, Martinez advanced to the Finals, only to lose a tough match and finish runner-up.

It took two long years to get back to wrestling Saturday night at The Palace for a championship, but that's where Martinez found himself, wrestling Krauss for the title at 130 pounds.

The match went to overtime, and Martinez rode Krauss out for a hard-fought 4-3 victory.

"I got the early takedown in the first, and that's what I knew I had to do right away to win," Martinez said. "I wrestled him earlier in the season, and that's how I beat him then; I got an early takedown in the first.

"Then in the second period I rode him out," he added. "In the third period, I got a little gassed, I'm not going to lie. Triple overtime, I was stuck on bottom all match, so I went on top and that is usually my best position. I got that side headlock, and got it done." 


Champion: Reiley Brown, Whitehall, Sr. (51-1)
Decision, 2-1 OT, over Matt Santos, Saginaw Swan Valley, Sr. (51-2)

It was a battle of returning champions at 135 pounds, and the match would not disappoint, as Brown rode out Santos in triple overtime for the win, 2-1.

"I expected that match completely," said Brown, who will be wrestling at Central Michigan University next year. "I knew we were going to be defensive on our feet. I knew it was going to be close, and I knew it was going to come down to the mat wrestling like it did. Whitehall is known to be dominant on top, that is what we work at."


Champion: Jwan Britton, Whitehall, Sr. (51-2)
Decision, 5-4, over Zach Blevins, Dundee, Sr. (49-5)

Britton didn't get a chance to watch teammate Reiley Brown win his MHSAA title. He was busy in the tunnel of The Palace warming up for his match as Brown was finishing off Matt Santos.

But Britton knew something special happened for the Whitehall wrestling program, and he wanted to keep that feeling going in his match.

And that happened, as Britton beat Blevins on a late takedown.

"I didn't even get to watch his (Brown's) match, but we both had a plan to come out here and wrestle for a championship," Britton said. "My coach said I was better on my feet, so when he was up by one in the third because I cut him early, I knew I could win on my feet."


Champion: Kanen Storr, Leslie, Sr. (58-0)
Technical fall, 17-2, over  Jaycob Sharp, Remus Chippewa Hills, Soph. (50-7)

On a night when several past champions, and a few multiple champions like Schroder and Lowell senior Lucas Hall went down to defeat, Storr, a returning two-time champ, was not about to fall by way of the upset.

"Sitting back in that tunnel, watching all these upsets go down, it's a crazy thing," Storr said. "Guys I thought would never lose, went down. But they may have let up, they might have gave those extra points up that they shouldn't have. Going into my match, I really changed my mindset  to score and get a comfortable lead, to score, score and score."


Champion: Sean Sterling, Dundee, Jr. (47-4)
Decision, 4-2 OT, over Collin Lieber, Croswell-Lexington, Jr. (54-1)

Sterling reached into his school's past for inspiration for what he did Saturday night, earn a championship with a 4-2 overtime win over the previously undefeated Lieber.

Now he will be an inspiration for Dundee's future.

"The entrance to our building, there is a picture of every state champ, and every day I walk into school and look at every single one of them," Sterling said. "And now I am going to be one of them. Knowing that some kid will be looking up at me now, that's cool."


Champion: Foster Karmon, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Sr. (34-0)
Decision, 9-3, over Tyler Childs, Birch Run, Sr. (43-9)

Karmon has had a great high school career that spanned over two schools.

He started by winning an MHSAA title his sophomore year, and then carried that success over to Catholic Central his past two years.

He won his third overall title, and second at GRCC.

"I don't think it's really set in completely," Karmon said. "It's been a good career. I had a good time at Allegan, and a good time at Catholic Central. Each program had upside. A lot of history at Allegan, and a lot of good workout partners at Catholic Central. And a lot of good coaches at both."


Champion: Daniel Thompson, Lake Odessa Lakewood, Jr. (49-2)
Decision, 6-5 OT, over Adam McCann, Midland Bullock Creek, Sr. (53-1)

Thomson picked up a little scouting report from a friend, Lapeer senior Devon Pingel, that helped him win Saturday.

"That helped me a lot. I owe a lot to him, because my focus was to stay aggressive progressively throughout the match. That helped a lot when we got into overtime," Thompson said.

Unfortunately, Thompson's friend Pingel was losing his championship match a mat away from Thompson. 


Champion: Brandon Whitman, Dundee, Soph. (48-1)
Decision, 2-1, over Jared Roehl, Millington, Jr. (44-2)

When two reigning champions meet on the mat, the margin of error shrinks, and the matter of victory can be as little as a little more work and effort to pull out the win.

That was the case when Whitman and Roehl met for Roehl's title Saturday night.

Whitman, who won at 171 last year, found that little bit extra in beating Roehl by the score of 2-1.

"That was tough," Whitman said. "At the beginning of the year we kind of figured we were going to face him, and we knew we were going to have a tough time with him. I knew I had to practice harder to get the job done."


Champion: Quintin Wilber, Montrose, Sr. (48-4)
Decision, 8-2, over Tyden Ferris, Delton Kellogg, Soph. (54-3)

Wilber not only showed his great athleticism during his 8-2 win, but also after, completing a near-perfect back flip to seal it.

And during the post-match interview, Wilber wanted to flip some of the credit to the people he said helped him realize his dream of a title.

"This feels real good," Wilber said after his win. "I went in with the mindset I could do it, and I went in and got after it. I want to thank my (workout partners) for pushing me and getting after me. And to all my teammates, thank you."


Champion: Trent Hillger, Lake Fenton, Jr. (63-0)
Fall, 1:27, over Maddox Maki, Williamston, Sr. (45-6)

Hillger may have had the most impressive weekend of any champion in any division at The Palace.

He pinned his way to his second championship, including a fall against reigning heavyweight champion Maki in the Final in one minute, 27 seconds.

Hillger won his first title at 215 pounds last year.

"Being a state champ last year, I wanted to come back as a returning state champ and not lose my title," Hillger said "I wanted to be aggressive and use my speed to my advantage. Coming up from a lighter weight class, a lot of these heavyweights are slower, and I wanted to go out there and wrestle my match."

Click for full results

The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.

PHOTO: Lake Fenton’s Jarrett Trombly works against his Semifinal opponent Friday on his way to claiming a second MHSAA championship Saturday. (Click to see more at

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.)