Five wrestling commits compete at MHSAA team finals
The future of Central Michigan wrestling was on display at McGuirk Arena during this weekend.
CMU commits Sean Sterling, Nick Jenkins, Nolan Saxton and Drew Marten all competed in the MHSAA team finals Friday and Saturday.
Commit Kameron Bush didn’t wrestle, but did qualify for the individual state finals along with the rest of the CMU commits.
Thirty-two teams competed during the event, with Detroit Catholic Central, Lowell, Richmond and Hudson taking home team titles in the four Divisions.
CMU head coach Tom Borrelli said he's excited to bring in kids who want to compete for the Chippewas. All five of the athletes qualified for next week’s individual state finals.
“All of our recruits have a big upside,” he said. “They didn’t start wrestling really early, they’re just starting to come on in high school. We’re real excited about the potential moving forward.”
Dundee wrestler Sean Sterling is arguably Borrelli’s most impressive recruit. Sterling is ranked No.1 in his weight class for Division 3 according to Michigan Grappler, which ranks high school wrestlers.
He entered this weekend with a 21-0 record. He qualified for next weekend's individual state finals for the fourth straight season, looking to defend his title at 160 pounds.
Sterling picked up a second period pinfall in the semifinals Saturday against Chippewa Hills to put Dundee in the title match against Richmond. He went on to get a third period pinfall, but Richmond would win the title on criteria.
Borrelli said Sterling brings special qualities to the CMU program.
“(Sean) is tough, gritty, (with a) little bit of an attitude,” he said. “He’ll bring a little bit of attitude to the team.”
Another top commit for the Chippewas is Detroit Catholic Central wrestler Nick Jenkins.
Jenkins came into the weekend with a 38-1 record for top seeded DCC. He qualified for the individual state tournament for the fourth straight year, and will seek to repeat as state champion.
Jenkins is ranked No. 1 in the 285-pound weight class. He had three matches this weekend, the first two resulting in a first period pinfall. He won 3-1 in the finals against Davison, scoring a takedown with 27 seconds remaining in the third period to help lead the Shamrocks to a Division 1 State Championship.
Borrelli said he is excited for what Jenkins brings to the team.
“(Jenkins) weighs about 270 and moves around pretty good,” Borrelli said. “He will bring a work ethic to our room in the upper weights.”
Kameron Bush entered the weekend with a 34-1 record. He won his quarterfinal matchup via forfeit after Davison clinched the dual and did not want to risk injury.
Bush was coached by former CMU wrestler and two-time All-American, Bubba Gritter.
“(Kameron) is a good kid (who) really wants to come to Central Michigan,” Borrelli said. “We think he’s going to be a real dynamic athlete for us.”
Bush is ranked No. 1 in Division 1 in the 152-pound weight class on Michigan Grappler.
Chippewa Hills wrestler Nolan Saxton won’t have to travel far from his hometown for the next four years.
Saxton is the No. 1 wrestler in the state at 135 in Division 3. He compiled a 49-0 record coming into the weekend and qualified to compete in the individual state finals for a fourth consecutive season.
Saxton won his quarterfinal match via pinfall against Lake Odessa Lakewood. Saxton also scored a decision in his semifinal matchup against Dundee.
Borrelli said Saxton's ability to put on weight helped him land with the Chippewas.
“I didn’t think (Saxton) would be big enough to wrestle at 103 pounds,” said Borrelli. “Now he’s wrestling 140. He’s improved a lot this year.”
Tecumseh wrestler Drew Marten was one of three seniors to compete for second year head coach A.J. Marry’s Indians.
Marten is the top ranked 130-pounder in Division 2. He won his quarterfinal matchup via a first period pinfall, but it wasn’t enough to avoid an early exit to reigning three-time state champion Lowell.
Borrelli said Marten will feel right at home in Mount Pleasant.
“(Drew) has a real steady work ethic, a blue-collar type of kid” he said.
The Chippewas will lose four wrestlers to graduation this season. CMU will compete in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Saturday in Cedar Falls, Iowa.