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Ford Awards

By MI Grappler, 03/06/19, 10:00AM EST


Most Outstanding Wrestler

All-Tournament OW: Kevon Davenport (DCC) and Jordan Hamdan (Hudson)
D1: Cameron Amine (DCC)
D2: Taye Ghadiali (Warren Fitzgerald)
D3: Hayden Bastian (Richmond)
D4: Skyler Crespo (Mendon)

Davenport and Hamdan capped off incredible careers with their fourth state championships.  Hamdan did so in dominant fashion, with two pins in under a minute and two tech falls by a combined score of 31-0.  He ended his senior year 48-0.  Davenport picked up two falls of his own, a major decision in the semis, and then a 7-3 decision over previously unbeaten and 2x finalist Schoenherr, to end his season 38-1.  Both became the first 4x state champions in school history at powerhouses DCC and Hudson.

Amine powered through the 152 bracket in Division 1 by pinning his way to the finals.  Two of those falls came over multiple-time placers Samuels and Case.  In the finals, he continued his dominance by scoring a major decision over a tough Jaden Fisher, who is committed to Bucknell next fall.  Amine capped off his senior season a perfect 40-0.

Taye Ghadiali went on a tear all season for Fitzgerald.  After seemingly coming out of nowhere to place 3rd as a junior, he continued that momentum into this season and was almost untouched all year long.  In the state tourney, he had three first period falls and an 11-4 decision over 3x placer Kline of Goodrich in the finals.  He went 45-0 on the year and added a GFC finals appearance in the fall.

In Division 3, Richmond senior Hayden Bastian had to get through two returning state finalists to earn his stat title.  In the semis, he knocked off a 2x finalist in Shelby's Nick Felt, 3-1.  Then he survived an ultimate tiebreaker match with Dundee's Christian Killion in the title match.  It was Bastian's first trip to the finals and he ended his career with a championship for the Blue Devils.

Now a 3x state champ, Mendon's Skyler Crespo left little doubt en route to another title.  He opened the tournament with a fall and a pair of tech falls to get to the championship.  There, he cruised to a 13-0 major decision to set himself up for #4 next season.  He went 51-2 on the year with his only losses coming to the 135 and 145 state champs in D4.

Most Dominant Performance

D1: Brendin Yatooma (Detroit CC)
D2: Vince Perez (Tecumseh)
D3: Owen Guilford (Portland)
D4: Austin Wolford (New Lothrop)

DCC 215 pounder Brendin Yatooma pinned through the bracket on his way to a state title.  In fact, he pinned through the postseason individual tournaments, save an injury default in the regional finals.  Moreover, including the postseason team events, he nearly had as many pins (12) as the regular season combined (13).  Last weekend, he scored falls over wrestlers who placed 2nd, 3rd, and 5th en route to his first championship.

Vince Perez capped off a perfect senior season by running through the D2 119 weight.  The CMU-commit scored tech falls in his first two bouts before picking up a fall in the semis and an 18-8 major decision in the finals.  Perez stayed true to form as he scored bonus points in 46 of his 53 wins on the year.

Portland's Owen Guilford won his second state championship by bonus pointing his way through the tournament.  He bookended the weekend by pinning in the first round and the finals.  In between, he scored major decisions of 15-3 and 12-0.  The weekend capped off a perfect 48-0 season.

New Lothrop senior Austin Wolford had little issue picking up his second state championship in Division 4.  After pinning his first two opponents, he scored a tech fall in the semifinals.  In the finals, he won an anticlimactic championship by way of injury default, though he was leading 6-1 through the first period.  In any event, Wolford capped off a brilliant career for the Hornets.

Most Impressive Team Performance

D1: Detroit Catholic Central (11 placers, 8 finalists, 7 champs)
D2: Warren Woods Tower (5 placers, 3 finalists, 2 champs)
D3: Dundee (8 placers, 5 finalists, 3 champs)
D4: Clinton (11 placers, 3 finalists, 2 champs)

DCC continued to raise the bar in Division 1.  Three straight years the Shamrocks had crowned five individual champions.  This year they increased that number to seven.  That's half the lineup.  They went 7-1 in the finals, with the only loss coming via a teammate final at 140.  During the Hancock era, CC has gone 44-10 in state finals matches.  

There was a lot of competition for this spot in D2.  Lowell led the way with 8 placers, while Goodrich and New Boston Huron both went 7-for-7 in all-staters.  But it's Tower who picks up the most impressive team performance.  The Titans brought six wresters and five placed - all of whom finished inside the top-four.  They also advanced three to the finals and crowed two champions in senior Chaise Mayer and freshman Omari Embree.

Dundee got all eight of their qualifiers onto the podium.  All eight placed top-five in their weight classes, seven in the top-three.  The two-time defending D3 champs put five into the finals, coming away with three champs - C.Swiderski, White, and Buell.  They also had a teammate final at 135.  

Clinton followed up a state runner-up team finish by putting 11 wrestlers into the top-eight.  Six of them were first-time state placers.  The Redskins also got three wrestlers into state championship matches and picked up a pair of state titles from Noah Comar and Logan Badge.  They'll return six state placers next season.

Breakout Rookie Performance

D1: Jimmy Colley (Davison)
D2: Omari Embree (Warren Woods Tower)
D3: Casey Swiderski (Dundee)
D4: Logan Badge (Clinton)

Colley missed a big portion of the season with an injury dating back to the GFC.  He made up for lost time by turning it on when it counted.  The Davison freshman placed 4th at 215 pounds in Division 1.  He's the highest placing freshman upperweight (171+) in D1 since former Cardinal Richard Kirksey was 2nd at 189 in 2006.  

Maybe the most impressive freshman performance of the weekend was turned in by Omari Embree.  He knocked off three returning state placers, including defending champ and NIU-bound Alec Rees, to win the 160 pound state title.  It sounds like he's a football player first, but he accomplished a rare feat - something even his older brother Jelani did not do.

In Division 3, Swiderski continued his dominance in the state by rolling to a state championship at 103 lbs.  He won his four matches by a combined score of 71-17, including three tech falls.  The quarterfinals match, which he won 12-5, was the only match at 103 pounds he did not major, tech, or pin in Michigan this year.

Clinton freshman Logan Badge lived up to the hype as well, winning the D4 title at 215 pounds.  The feat is even more impressive as he wrestled most of the season at 189, including team state the week before.  On his way to the championship, he defeated both the #1 and #2 ranked wrestlers.  He finished his freshman campaign 37-2 with both losses coming to state champs Yatooma and Weatherspoon.

Darkhorse Award

D1: Brody Kemper (Grand Blanc)
D2: Chris Lilly (Croswell Lexington)
D3: Kendel Taylor (Bishop Foley)
D4: Isaac Tappenden (Bronson)

Ranked 7th coming in, Brody Kemper would've been considered a longshot finalist.  He placed 5th in the tournament as a freshman but failed to qualify a year ago.  Then he went on a tear on Friday, knocking off #3 Riggins and #5 Borthwell to make the state finals.  He hung in there with Edmond in the finals as well, ultimately dropping a 7-3 decision.  In the process, he became just the sixth Bobcat to advance to a title match since 1992.

Another 7th-ranked wrestler, Cros-Lex's Chris Lilly, did one better.  Also a 135 pounder, Lilly had an incredible run to a state championship, winning four straight decisions, including a 6-3 win in the title bout over defending state finalist Tomsett.  It was Lilly's third trip to the tournament, but his first time on the podium saw him standing atop it.   He became the 3rd state champ in Cros-Lex history.

Maybe the most incredible run to a state title in the entire tournament came in Division 3, where Bishop Foley senior Kendel Taylor won the 189 pound weight.  Two weeks before, Taylor was 4th at his regional.  He started the tourney with a win over Evan Moore, who had 1 loss on the year.  Then he defeated the #1, #2, and #3 ranked wresters en route to a state title.  He will head to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to play football but ended his wrestling career with a bang.

Bronson senior Isaac Tappenden made the most out of his senior state tournament.  Another 4th place regional finisher, he upset returning all-stater Tutt in round one and then advanced to the semifinals.  He nearly made the finals, dropping a 5-3 decision to Hudson's Sereno.  Tappenden ultimately would finish 4th in the state at 152, but turned in an amazing performance.