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

After All-American Career, Rockford's Bennett Making Impact as Mat Mentor

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

July 25, 2023

ROCKFORD – Ben Bennett knew from an early age what he wanted his career path to be.

Made in Michigan is powered by Michigan Army National Guard.“I always wanted to coach,” the former Rockford High School wrestling standout said. “I think I have wanted to coach since I was in middle school. I wanted to be a college wrestling coach.”

Bennett, 33, is currently living out his dreams of becoming a collegiate coach as a member of the Central Michigan University wrestling program.

Bennett, one of the most decorated wrestlers in CMU history, is in his 10th season on 32-year coach Tom Borrelli’s staff.

“I was getting ready to graduate, and a position opened up,” Bennett said. “I think Coach Borrelli knew that I really wanted to stay involved in wrestling and get into coaching. I was fortunate enough to slide into that position, and he had enough faith in me to let me stay here.”

Before getting the opportunity to coach, Bennett amassed eight years of unbridled success at the high school and collegiate levels.

He was a three-time Individual Finals champion at Rockford and helped lead the Rams to a Division 1 team championship as a junior.

“I had a really good high school experience, and I really enjoyed wrestling for our head coach at the time, Don Rinehart,” Bennett said. “He coached for a long time, and we always had some very competitive teams.

“In 2007, my junior year, we won the team state duals, but every year we were really competitive and had multiple individual state champions. Those were the type of teams I was able to wrestle on, which made it pretty exciting and pretty fun when you have those types of guys around you.”

After excelling through the junior ranks, Bennett made an immediate impact for the Rams and captured the Division 1 championship at 140 pounds as a freshman.

However, the following year, he took third at 152 after losing a semifinal match 2-1.

That defeat was humbling for Bennett but also showed him how to handle adversity.

“At the time, in my eyes, the world was ending,” Bennett said. “You look back and it probably was more of a positive. It's good to have those things happen to you, and you face some adversity.

“And I think that's more relatable to life rather than just when you win all the time. I did a lot of winning, but when things are really important, sometimes it's good to fail, for things not to go your way because it will probably happen for the rest of your life.

“You have to learn how to respond and come back from that and handle it the right way and just get back to work. At the time, I remember how devastated I was, but looking back it probably was a positive thing long term.”

Bennett wound up collecting two more Individual Finals titles, at 160 and 171 pounds, to end his high school career and then was named Mr. Wrestler, receiving the award given to the top senior wrestler by the state coaches association.

“I wasn't even thinking that I might get that,” he said. “There are so many great high school wrestlers that come out every year, and thinking about the guys I wrestled … to be singled out as the one chosen for that award was pretty special.”

After graduation, Bennett took his talents to Mount Pleasant. He could’ve gone anywhere to wrestle, but found the right fit at CMU.

“I knew I wanted to wrestle in college, and it was close to home, which I liked,” Bennett said. “I didn't feel like I had to go across the country to have an opportunity to accomplish my goals. I felt like I could stay here and do that.”

Bennett is the only four-time All-American in CMU history and one of three Chippewas to have earned four individual Mid-American Conference titles.

Bennett twice earned the Chick Sherwood Award as CMU’s most valuable wrestler and was named the MAC Wrestler of the Year in 2012. He also had earned the MAC Freshman of the Year Award in 2010.

Bennett ranks sixth in CMU history with 121 career victories, and his career win percentage of .834 is fourth all-time. In 2013, he finished 31-2 for a .939 win percentage, the second-best in program history. He also won a school-record 30 consecutive matches during that season and finished a personal-best fourth at the national tournament.

Bennett wrestles Clarkston’s Adam Lauzun for the Division 1 title at 171 pounds that season.“At the time I was disappointed with how my career went, because I was never a national champion,” Bennett said. “But I think looking back on it, I have a lot more appreciation for what I did.

“As a coach, I realize how hard it is to have success at the college level, and every year you see great wrestlers not make the podium. Sometimes I’m shocked when certain guys don’t place, and it makes me appreciate how hard it is to be a four-time All-American, let alone place one time or multiple times.”

The transition to the coaching side was a difficult process for Bennett, but he knew he wanted to mentor other wrestlers the way his former coaches did with him.

“You put so much into the sport and you realize how much time other people invested and how important it was for me to do well, and so I guess for me it was a hard transition to make,” Bennett said. “You’re so competitive and so focused on yourself, but then being able to help these guys improve, get better and hopefully accomplish their goals was something I was looking forward to doing.

“I had so many people help me do that, and then I was able to be in their shoes and give back to these guys.”

Coaching has kept him involved in a sport he loves.

“And I get to continue to learn and grow and develop in different areas, not just wrestling-wise,” he said. “I get to meet a lot of great people through wrestling and coaching. The guys who come through our program are pretty awesome people.

“I’m pretty fortunate, and I've really enjoyed the coaching side of it, being in the wrestling room with these guys. Getting them ready for a match and going over things after a match. There is a lot that goes into it, but I really enjoy it.”

The love of wrestling for Bennett began at 6 years old, when he was coached by his uncle Tom Bennett – a former Division III All-American – and dad Doug.

“My uncle did a ton for me wrestling-wise, and my dad was the conditioning and discipline-type guy,” Bennett said. “Together it was a good mix. For as long as I can remember, I was always in really good shape. I loved wrestling right away.”

Bennett admits that he probably missed out on a lot when he was younger because he was determined to be the best and his life revolved around wrestling and training.

“It can be a tough way to live, but at the time that's what I wanted to do so that's what I did,” Bennett said. “When I was little my dad always told me that I'm not going to take you across the country to these tournaments if we are not training to win the tournament, not going to fill out the brackets, so my whole life the goal was always to be a champion.

“Going into high school my goal was to be a four-time state champion. I wanted to win the senior nationals, the junior nationals, and I won all those things. Going into college, in my mind, the next step was to be a national champion, and I don't think you realize how hard it really is, and I don't think I realized how hard it was to be an All-American.”

Bennett was promoted to CMU associate head coach last June after spending nine seasons as an assistant. He said the biggest difference with his new position is on the administrative side.

“I do a lot of scheduling and budgeting, things I didn’t do as much before in my years as an assistant coach,” he said. “I’ve taken the reins on some of these things, and it’s good for me to learn.”

Bennett is content with his current role at CMU and continuing to evolve as a coach under Borrelli. However, he hopes to one day take that next step as the head coach of a collegiate program.

“That’s my ultimate goal with coaching,” he said. “When that will happen, I don’t know. I guess I’m not in a hurry. When it happens, it will happen. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can right now.

“Coach Borrelli is an unbelievable coach, leader, mentor and role model, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can from him and soak up as much as I can from him until I get an opportunity somewhere to be a head coach. Right now I'm happy with where I'm at, and when that time comes, it will come.”

Bennett, 33, is engaged to former Chippewas field hockey player Erica Garwood. The couple has been dating for seven years and will get married next month.

“We’re excited, and I’m sure life will really change when we start having kids,” Bennett said. “But it’s good right now. We both went to school here, and she has a good job at an elementary school in town. We enjoy it up here.”

2023 Made In Michigan

July 20: Oakridge 3-Sport Star Potts Applying Lessons to 'Second Chapter' in Sales - Read
July 18:
Frankfort Hoops Staff Bolstered by Past Stars Giving Back in Banktson, Kreski - Read
July 12:
Championship Memories, High School Tennis' Impact Stick with Hackett Pair - Read
July 6: 
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July 5:
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PHOTOS (Top) Rockford’s Ben Bennett stands atop the podium at the 2008 Individual Finals, and now with fiancé Erica Garwood. (Middle) Bennett wrestles Clarkston’s Adam Lauzun for the Division 1 title at 171 pounds that season. (Current photo courtesy of Ben Bennett; 2008 photos from MHSAA Archives.)