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Indi State Preview - D1

By Steve Widzinski, 02/25/14, 7:45PM EST

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#1 Nick Bennett favored at 152lbs in Palace debut...

103lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#8 Antrassian
Vincent #8 Antrassian
#5 Marion #4 LaRochelle
#4 Larochelle (BCL) #4 LaRochelle
#7 Hollingshed #3 Priante
Boxeth #7 Hollingshed
#3 Priante #3 Priante
#6 Medley #3 Priante
#1 Freeman
#1 Freeman #1 Freeman
Stevens #1 Freeman
#9 Graham #9 Graham
Thomas #1 Freeman
#2 Smith #2 Smith
Klapec #2 Smith
Jaracz #10 Siemasz
#10 Siemasz

Round of 16

Once you get past WLC’s #1-ranked Ben Freeman there is a whole lot of parity at 103, and that should be evident from the onset. The two biggest Thursday matches will come between #4 Hayden LaRochelle of BC Lakeview/#5 Kaleb Marion of WLC, and #3 Vincent Priante of TCW/#6 Jack Medley of Anchor Bay.
 

Quarters

Given the aforementioned parity there’s a lot of ways this round’s matchups could play out. I am pretty confident we will see Freeman and #2 Nolan Smith of Portage Northern advance through the lower half of the bracket, but on the top half I think any of the 6 top-10 ranked guys are fair game to get through.
 

Semis

Much like the semis, the top half of the bracket is wide open for the taking. Of the top half’s 6 ranked guys, all are viable finals candidates. Meanwhile, the lower half seems pretty clear cut. Smith is the second best wrestler at this weight class, at least based on this season’s results, but the distance between he and Freeman is pretty significant.
 

Finals

There are a plethora of potential finals opponents for Freeman, but in the end his toughest may be the scale. Since competing at 100lbs in Fargo this summer Freeman has grown into quite the full-sized 103lbr, but as long as his weight is under control on Thursday/Friday I just don’t see how he loses.
 

112lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#6 Harris
#9 Brower #6 Harris
#3 Johnson #3 Johnson
O'Brien #3 Johnson
#1 Gomez #1 Gomez
Nelson #1 Gomez
Hazelton Hazelton
Perez #1 Gomez
#1 Gomez
#5 Volyanyuk #2 Hrisopoulos
Miller #5 Volyanyuk
#4 Bennett #4 Bennett
#10 Fuller #4 Bennett
#2 Hrisopoulos #2 Hrisopoulos
Romanowski #2 Hrisopoulos
#7 Rivera-Garcia #7 Rivera-Garcia
#8 Heaps

Round of 16

Some huge matchups are on the board for the tournament’s opening weight class, including 3 between top-10 wrestlers. The best will probably be at the bottom of the chart between elite freshmen #7 Donte Rivera-Garcia of Southgate Anderson/#8 Matt Heaps of Portage Northern.
 

Quarterfinals

#1 Benny Gomez of Holt should roll through without too much difficulty, but the other 3 semifinal spots are more or less up for grabs. I’m especially interested in #3 Max Johnson of Davison/#6 Brandon Harris of Plymouth. Johnson beat Harris in pretty dominant fashion at the GFC, but Harris has taken his wrestling to another level as of late.
 

Semis

Gomez is the favorite, but if anyone on this chart can knock him off it is Johnson. The last time they met was at this year’s GFC, where Gomez prevailed in an intense, chippy and hard fought decision. I see a lot of possibilities in the other semi, but I really like the way Oxford’s #2 Alex Hrisopoulos has wrestled over the past few weeks.
 

Finals

Assuming Gomez gets through Johnson in the semis, I think he takes care of business in the finals. Last year he Tech-falled in his Saturday night match, and while I don’t think it will be as lopsided this time around he should walk out of the Palace as a 2X state champ.
 

119lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champ
#7 Youssef
Wiscombe #7 Youssef
#3 Jendritz #3 Jendritz
#9 Wilkie #3 Jendritz
#1 Zdebski #1 Zdebski
Ajami #1 Zdebski
#8 Fleming #4 Brickley
#4 Brickley #1 Zdebski
#1 Zdebski
#2 Rodriguez #2 Rodriguez
Davis #2 Rodriguez
Robertson #10 Prater
#10 Prater #2 Rodriguez
#6 Gonser #5 Shear
Renicker #6 Gonser
#5 Shear #5 Shear
Perez

Round of 16

For the most part this feels like chalk, but I’d watch out for #9 Cam Wilkie of Clarkston. The senior has been really impressive since dropping from 125lbs, and should be a good test for #3 Stephen Jendritz of Rockford. As their rankings indicate, #4 Jay Jay Brickley of Grand Ledge/#8 Nate Fleming of Grand Blanc should also be a good one.
 

Quarters

I feel pretty confident in how the first 3 QF’s will play out, but the fourth feels much more evenly matched. It will be a rematch of this year’s KLAA finals where #5 Dan Shear of WLC edged #6 Noah Gonser of Grand Blanc by a final score of 3-2.


Semis

As long as their weight is not an issue I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where #1 Trevor Zdebski of DCC and #2 Martin Rodriguez of Holt don’t end up meeting the finals. I do really like the way both Jendritz and Shear have wrestled this season, but if either gets through this round it would be a pretty substantial upset.


Finals

Assuming it is in fact Zdebski and Rodriguez, this will be a rematch from January’s Holt Invite where Zdebski won 4-2. It’s an interesting contrast of styles, but I am leaning towards Zdebski’s mat skills to make the difference once again. 
 

125lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#4 Huynh
Boike #4 Huynh
Pfeffer #10 Schroder
#10 Schroder #4 Huynh
#1 Olson #1 Olson
#9 Koehler #1 Olson
#6 Castillo #6 Castillo
Hertel #1 Olson
#1 Olson
#3 Conrad #2 Noonan
Tomko #3 Conrad
#7 Stewart #7 Stewart
Marceau #3 Conrad
#5 Bohnsack #2 Noonan
Wang #5 Bohnsack
#2 Noonan #2 Noonan
#8 Atienza

Round of 16

Not a ton of big Day 1 matchups, but I am pretty interested to see how stud freshman and #8-ranked Nathan Atienza of Franklin fares against #2 Kyle Noonan of Stoney Creek. Atienza has taken a couple head scratching losses this season, but also has looked pretty remarkable at times.


Quarters

I have a hard time seeing anyone other than #1 Lincoln Olson of Davison and #4 Kevin Huynh of John Glenn getting through the top half of the bracket, but the opposite end feels much more open. #7 Brad Stewart has had an up and down season, but is coming off his best performance to date at regionals. Keep an eye on him against #3 Brandon Conrad of Waterford Kettering.
 

Semis

Huynh has really broken out in his senior season, but I don’t see him being any match for Olson. Noonan and Conrad will both have a tough road to the semis, but assuming they meet it should be an awesome battle between two Oakland County seniors. I lean towards Noonan based on the way he performed this summer, particularly in Fargo.
 

Finals

Simply put, I think Lincoln Olson is D1’s heaviest favorite. With the way he attacks, I really don’t think anyone will be able to match his pace for more than a period or two, and there’s a good chance he bonuses all the way through.
 

130lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#1 Abdellatif
#10 Steward #1 Abdellatif
Vaughn #7 Toth
#7 Toth #1 Abdellatif
#3 Calandrino #3 Calandrino
Lee #3 Calandrino
#6 Dombrowski #6 Dombrowski
Dionne #3 Calandrino
#4 Bahro
#4 Bahro #4 Bahro
Pierobon #4 Bahro
#8 Hughes #8 Hughes
Ajami #4 Bahro
#5 Humphrey #2 Griffin
Allor #5 Humphrey
#2 Griffin #2 Griffin
#9 Trevino

Round of 16

This is one of the most open weights in D1, but I don’t think we will really see that unfold until the quarters. There is a pretty good talent distribution as far as Thursday goes, and I have #’s 1-8 all reaching the quarters.
 

Quarters

The way I see it this more or less a 4-horse race, and all 4 of those horses are in different quarterfinals. The one who I think will be most heavily tested is Canton’s #2-ranked Ben Griffin, who will need to get through #5 Derek Humphrey of Davison. I really like the way Humphrey has wrestled in his senior season, and his length makes him a tough matchup for just about anyone. He already has a win over Bailey Jack this season, the defending D2 state champ.
 

Semis

This is where things get really interesting. #1 Kyle Abdellatif announced himself as the new favorite after beating #2 Griffin in consecutive weeks, but will have a big time challenge in #3 Ben Calandrino of Howell. In his only loss this season, Calandrino was pinned by Griffin in overtime. On the opposite side of the bracket, #3 Ross Bahro of West Bloomfield will put his unblemished record on the line against Griffin. To be honest, to say I felt even remotely confident in how either of these semis will play out would be a bold-faced lie.
 

Finals

My gut feeling is a Calandrino/Bahro final, but it could just as easily be Abellatif/Griffin and I wouldn’t bat an eye. For the sake of analysis, Calandrino vs. Bahro would be a rematch from last year’s state tournament. The two actually met twice at the Palace last March, with Calandrino winning handily in the round of 16, but Bahro coming back to nip him by a point in the consolation semis.
 

135lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#2 Markey
Cendrowski #2 Markey
#4 Tomkins #4 Tomkins
Graham #2 Markey
#7 Murray #5 Keyes
Vargo #7 Murray
#5 Keyes #5 Keyes
#6 Pawlowski #2 Markey
#2 Markey
#1 Eicher #1 Eicher
Wells #1 Eicher
#10 Baker #9 Johnson
#9 Johnson #1 Eicher
#3 Miller #3 Miller
Leyrer #3 Miller
#8 Gudneau #8 Gudneau
Houze

Round of 16

The match to watch on Thursday at this weight will be #5 Thomas Keyes of Troy Athens and #6 Adam Pawlowski of Mona Shores. Both are seniors with Palace experience, and the winner should have a great shot at the semis. The only other meeting between top-10 foes is #9 Greg Johnson of DCC and #10 Holden Baker of Saline. This will be a rematch from the Holt Invite, where Johnson decisioned Baker soundly.
 

Quarters

No doubt about it, the match to watch will be #2 Jordan Markey of Ypsi Lincoln and #4 Collin Tomkins of Grandville. Both seniors, Markey is unbeaten on the year, and all 4 of Tomkins’ losses are to opponent currently ranked #1 within their respective division. I could see it going either way, but I real like the physicality Markey brings in neutral.
 

Semis

I think that whoever wins the #2 Markey/#4 Tomkins match is a good bet to emerge from the top half of the bracket. Down low I am pretty confident we will see #1 Austin Eicher of Hartland and #3 Matt Miller of Davison take the mat on Friday night, but it’s a match I am torn on. Normally Eicher would be my guy without much hesitation, but he didn’t look like himself at team state last weekend. That being said, I’m still going with the NIU commit to make his 3rd consecutive finals appearance.
 

Finals

I won’t speculate as to why, but based on what I saw from Eicher this weekend I don’t think he is playing with his full deck of cards. Assuming that is in fact the case this weekend, I think Markey’s relentless and physical attack may be a bit much for him to overcome.
 

140lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#4 Parks
Centala #4 Parks
Chudler #10 Leark
#10 Leark #4 Parks
#1 Oliver #1 Oliver
Jasman #1 Oliver
#5 Heaps #5 Heaps
Lockemy #1 Oliver
#1 Oliver
#3 Amine #2 Machart
Shaw #3 Amine
#6 Freter #6 Freter
#9 McDill #3 Amine
#7 Bush #2 Machart
Joyner #7 Bush
#2 Machart #2 Machart
#8 Conn

Round of 16

There’s a pretty equitable distribution of talent in the early goings, and I think all of the top 5 win handily. Beyond that, the biggest match will be #6 Robert Freter of AA Pioneer/#9 Connor McDill of Utica Ike. Both have add all-state caliber seasons, but whoever loses will likely catch #5 Jacob Heaps of Portage Northern in the blood round.
 

Quarters

It’s definitely a deep weight, but I think the top 4 are a step ahead of the rest of the field, and as long as their weight is under control all should advance to the semis.
 

Semis

This is where things really get interesting. Southgate Anderson’s #4-ranked Logan Parks has been lights out this season, and will pose a serious threat to #1 Justin Oliver of Davison’s quest for a 3rd state title. In the opposite semifinal, I think we will we see a barnburner between #2 Tevin Machart of Utica Ford and #3 Myles Amine of DCC. It feels like a tossup, but with a gun to my head I am going with Machart’s unique athleticism and big move ability.
 

Finals

Assuming it is in fact Oliver and Machart, this will be a rematch from indi regionals. In that meeting Oliver took a 4-2 decision, but when they wrestled in the GFC semis this fall it was Machart who got his hand raised. Prior to that, their last meeting came in the consolation semis of the 2013 state meet where Oliver won a 2OT battle. As if that wasn’t enough back-story, the two will also be teammates at CMU next year. Overall, while I’m a big fan of Machart’s, I just don’t see Oliver coming up short as a senior after winning titles in his first two HS seasons.
 

145lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#1 Pantaleo
#9 Mills #1 Pantaleo
#5 Dawkins #5 Dawkins
Fresch #1 Pantaleo
#3 Gorial #3 Gorial
Nielson #3 Gorial
#6 Lauderback #6 Lauderback
Slating #1 Pantaleo
#1 Pantaleo
#2 Amine #2 Amine
Moorer #2 Amine
#7 Presley #7 Presley
Alcodray #2 Amine
#4 Russ #4 Russ
Giglio #4 Russ
#10 Balogh #10 Balogh
#8 McPhail

Round of 16

All of the serious title contenders should advance to the quarters without a ton of trouble. The biggest matchup will be between #8 Taylor McPhail of Mona Shores and #10 Jacob Balogh of Southgate Anderson. Whoever wins will have the unenviable task of taking on #4 Dom Russ of Davison on Friday morning, but will also avoid a likely blood round matchup with #5 Milik Dawkins of FCA.
 

Quarters

Of the 4 favorites to advance, the one most heavily tested will be #1 Alec Pantaleo of Canton. His opponent, Dawkins, has enough athleticism to keep from being blown away by Pantaleo’s absurdly explosive attacks, and should have a chance to put up some points of his own.
 

Semis

#3 Jacob Gorial of Hartland is a stud who will be looking to make back-to-back appearances in the finals, but I don’t see anyone stopping Pantaleo. In the other semi, #2 Malik Amine of DCC will wrestle Russ in a rematch from the first week of the season. Amine won a low-scoring decision in that meeting, and I think the defending champ will win in similar fashion this time around.
 

Finals

Last year an injury kept Pantaleo out of the postseason, but in the year prior he and Amine met in the district, regional and state finals. Pantaleo won the first and last of those 3 meetings, but both have grown significantly as wrestlers since then. It’s definitely a winnable match for Amine, but I’m not sure he has enough offense to mount a comeback if Pantaleo can jump out to a lead.
 

152lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#6 Montrie
Szajna #6 Montrie
Cummings #10 McRill
#10 McRill #6 Montrie
#1 Bennett #1 Bennett
Steele #1 Bennett
#8 Decent #8 Decent
Kamali #1 Bennett
#1 Bennett
#2 Latora #2 Latora
Gegic #2 Latora
#7 Santiago #5 Bozinovski
#5 Bozinovski #2 Latora
#3 Garty #3 Garty
Brower #3 Garty
#4 Grimsley #4 Grimsley
#9 Frazier

Round of 16

This weight will start with a bang when #5 Alex Bozinovski of Dakota meets #7 Quenitn Santiago of Roosevelt in a battle of all-state seniors. Both are viable contenders to reach the finals, but neither has the luxury of thinking that far ahead. I also am intrigued by the matchup between #4 Tyler Grimsley of Anchor Bay and #9 Nick Frazier of Franklin. A GFC runner-up, Grimsley seems to be wrestling really well at the right time, but Frazier is a cagey veteran capable of pulling an upset. 
 

Quarters

#1 Nick Bennett of DCC should cruise, but the other 3 quarterfinals will all be open for the taking. #2 Dom Latora of Portage Central is the next biggest favorite to advance to the semis, but will have his hands full with either Bozinovski or Santiago


Semis

Once again Bennett should cruise, but Latora will be in for a significant challenge. Like Latora, #3 Thomas Garty of Davison is a 2X all-state senior, and will be set on reaching the top of the podium in his final trip to the Palace.
 

Finals

Assuming it is in fact Bennett and Latora, this will be a rematch from January’s DCC Invite. Bennett posted a major over Latora last time around, and, while I see his margin of victory being smaller on Saturday, I don’t think Latora has quite enough offense to reverse their prior outcome.
 

160lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#2 Atienza
Jackson #2 Atienza
Vaughn Mourer
#7 Mourer #2 Atienza
#4 Price #3 Johnson
Harmon #4 Price
#6 Greco #3 Johnson
#3 Johnson #2 Atienza
#2 Atienza
#10 Lock #1 Juarez
#8 Vish #10 Lock
#5 Shaver #5 Shaver
Kinne #10 Lock
#1 Juarez #1 Juarez
Carter #1 Juarez
#9 Wells #9 Wells
Ammons

Round of 16

This is a pretty stacked weight, and that should be evident pretty shortly into the tournament. The match I’m most eagerly anticipating is #8 Logan Vish of Hartland and #10 Andrew Lock of GP North. For nearly the entire season Lock managed to stay off the radar, but after a very impressive regional showing he looks like a strong candidate to earn all-state honors. However, in order to so he probably can’t afford to lose on Day 1 because it would likely mean facing either #3 Jake Johnson of Dakota or #4 Andrew Price of Stoney Creek in the blood round.
 

Quarters

As previously mentioned, either Johnson or Price will probably end up in the blood round, and that is because they are slated to wrestle in one of Friday afternoon’s most notable quarterfinals. As a 2X all-state senior Johnson is the favorite, but Price is a stud as well who really impressed me in the Oakland County finals this December. Also of note, the 3rd quarter-bracket feels very wide open, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if Lock, Vish, #5 Joey Shaver of Plymouth, or even Noah Kinne of Oxford were to crack the semis.
 

Semis

Whether #2 Jordan Atienza of Franklin ends up wrestling Johnson or Price, it will be a barn burner. Atienza isn’t shy about putting up points, and, despite taking a 7-6 loss, I liked the way he wrestled when bumping up against 2X state champ Jordan Cooks last weekend. If his opponent is in fact Johnson as I predicted, it would be a rematch from the DCC Invite finals. Atienza won that match 10-7 after trading multiple takedowns, and I think we will see a similarly paced bout this time around. On the opposite end of the bracket, I don’t see much standing in the way of Grand Haven’s #1 Dakota Juarez.
 

Finals

This should be one of Saturday night’s finest matches. Juarez is #1, but whether his opponent is Atienza, Johnson or Price this feels like a match that could easily go either way. Of the 4, Atienza is the only one to have wrestled in the finals previously, and I think he will be a man on a mission. Admittedly, I’m not as familiar with Juarez, but I have a hard time betting against Atienza giving his willingness and ability to attack for 6 minutes non-stop. 
 

171lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#6 Powell
Frazier #6 Powell
#4 Maskill #4 Maskill
#8 Burnham #4 Maskill
#7 Brish #3 Richter
Hammack #7 Brish
#3 Richter #3 Ricther
#5 Shadaia #3 Richter
#1 Garcia
#1 Garcia #1 Garcia
Mason #1 Garcia
#10 Lubbers #10 Lubbers
Slattery #1 Garcia
#2 Cooks #2 Cooks
Doran #2 Cooks
#9 Youssef #9 Youssef
Harvey

Round of 16

There looks to be a pair of huge Day 1 matchups, both on the top half of the bracket. Oxford’s #4 Wes Maskill has a good shot at the finals, but his draw is absolutely brutal. He has #8 Josh Burnham of Dakota off the bat, and if the rankings hold up he would see #6 Shon Powell of Brother Rice in the quarters, and #3 Devan Richter of L’Anse Creuse in the semis. However, Richter, the other top favorite to emerge from this half of the bracket, has arguably an even tougher draw. He will see #5 Shane Shadaia of Rochester on Thursday, then would likely have get through #7 Nick Brish of Brighton in the quarters, followed by Maskill in the semis.


Quarters

#1 Drew Garcia of DCC and #2 Jordan Cooks of Davison are both 2X state champs who should cruise, but the top half of the bracket will feature some great quarterfinals regardless of how Day 1 plays out. Powell didn’t wrestle much this season, but the 2X all-state senior seems to be back in full force, and I’m excited to watch him take on Maskill in a very interesting contrast of styles. If Richter gets through Shadaia he will see Brish who is rock solid, but whom I think will struggle to match Richter offensively.
 

Semis

I’ve talked a lot about the top half of the bracket already, and there’s a whole bunch of potential semifinals it could produce, all of which should be very competitive. However, all eyes will be on the other semifinal, which will pit nationally ranked seniors Garcia and Cooks against each other. This will be a rematch from last Saturday where Garcia edged Cooks 3-1 in OT. Once again I expect a relatively conservative bout that will be decided by a lone takedown, but beyond that it’s tough to call. I feel dirty betting against either, but I suppose I like Garcia’s ability to initiate attacks slightly more than that of Cooks.


Finals

I’ve got Richter making the finals opposite Garcia, and as impressive as he has been this season, I don’t see any chance that the Cooks/Garcia does not go on to win their 3rd consecutive state title. Based on the past 4 years of evidence, I can’t envision either making a mistake significant enough for Richter to pull off the upset.  
 

189lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#1 Hillman
Brohl #1 Hillman
#5 Gorby #5 Gorby
Houston #1 Hillman
#3 Giese #3 Giese
Pauly #3 Giese
Krause #9 Ready
#9 Ready #1 Hillman
#1 Hillman
#4 Fotis #2 Shadaia
Harden #4 Fotis
#6 Beallas #6 Beallas
Petrone #6 Beallas
#2 Shadaia #2 Shadaia
#10 Sivyer #2 Shadaia
#8 Sovel #7 Gross
#7 Gross

Round of 16

For the most part this bracket is pretty light as far as high profile Day 1 matchups, but the exception will come in the final bout between Salem’s #7 Mitch Gross and WLC’s #8 Alex Sovel. This will be a rematch of the KLAA finals, where Gross managed to break through Sovel’s head-hands defense and penetrate pretty easily. As far as big guys go Sovel does some excellent mat work, and I’m interested to see what adjustments he makes this time around.
 

Quarters

The most competitive QF looks to be #4 Andrew Fotis of GR FHC/#6 Ben Beallas of Bedford. Neither were state qualifiers prior to this season, but both have really broken out and established themselves as potential top-4 finishers. I’m also interested to watch #9 Luke Ready of Brighton, a sophomore with extremely high upside who I think may cause some problems for #3 Nick Giese of DCC.
 

Semis

#1 Derek Hillman of Woodhaven and #2 Shwan Shadaia of Rochester seem to be on a collision course, and I have a hard time seeing either lose prior to the finals. Giese wrestled out of his mind at last year’s state tournament, but, based on their January matchup where Hillman majored, I’m not sure how much Giese can do to stop Hillman’s persistent leg attacks.


Finals

This is one of Saturday night’s most anticipated finals and rightfully so. Shadaia, the defending champ, lost pretty handily to Hillman early on this season, but I have to imagine he closes the gap. That being said, after what I have scene from Hillman as of late, particularly at the DCC Invite, there’s no way I’m picking against him.
 

215lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#1 Brandon
Ellis #1 Brandon
#3 Russell #3 Russell
Fischer #1 Brandon
#5 Line #5 Line
Wooley #5 Line
#9 Correa #6 Balabani
#6 Balabani #1 Brandon
#1 Brandon
#2 Okaiye #2 Okaiye
Saarenheimo #2 Okaiye
#8 Perdue #8 Perdue
Pettiford #2 Okaiye
#4 Houle #4 Houle
Rice #4 Houle
#7 Thomas #7 Thomas
#10 Tis

Round of 16

Both sides of the chart will kick things off with a top-10 matchup on Thursday. On the top half, #6 Antonio Balabani of Dakota will see #9 Ramon Correa of West Ottawa in a battle between a pair of guys who could end up meeting in next March’s 215lbs state finals. On the opposite side of the chart, I like returning SQ and #7-ranked Jerron Thomas of FCA to get through #10 Cody Tis of Southgate.
 

Quarters

#’s 1-8 are all have a good draw on Day 1, but from there things get considerably more cloudy. #1 Jordon Brandon of John Glenn is among the country’s best upperweights and a heavy favorite to win it all, but will have a significant challenge in DCC’3 #3-ranked Jimmy Russell. In their meeting this January Brandon recorded a pretty quick pin, but Russell has been extremely impressive since then, and I have to imagine it will be a lot closer this time around.
 

Semis

#4 Brandon Houle of Rockford has really impressed this season, but it’s hard to see Brandon wrestling anyone other than #2 Matt Okaiye of Waterford Kettering. A 2X state placer, Okaiye may be the most physically imposing wrestler in the state, and he has the savvy to back it.
 

Finals

Assuming we get the Brandon/Okaiye final most are anticipating, this will be a rematch from 4 weeks back at the KLAA finals. Brandon controlled that match, and kept Okaiye from generating any semblance of an effective attack form his feet.  I expect Okaiye to have some more offense up his sleeve this time around, but Brandon is flat out too well rounded of a big guy for me to pick otherwise.
 

285lbs

Rd of 16 Quarters Semis Finals Champion
#5 Mauldin
#4 Charneski #5 Mauldin
#9 Trevino Sokoll
Sokoll #5 Mauldin
#1 Tillman #1 Tillman
Baker #1 Tillman
Hollins Hollins
#10 Stringer #1 Tillman
#1 Tillman
Krol #2 Darios
Daniels Daniels
#2 Darios #2 Darios
#8 Ortman #2 Darios
#6 Wood #6 Wood
Strong #6 Wood
#7 Wahab #3 VanHoef
#3 VanHoef

Round of 16

For a Thursday at the Palace, this is pretty close to as good as it gets. There will be 3 matches between top-10 wrestlers, all of which feel like they could go either way. Atop the bracket #4 Justin Charneski of Hartland will take on #5 Aaron Mauldin in a rubber match. Mauldin pinned when they met in January, but Charneski avenged the loss via decision in the KLAA finals. The other especially notable matchup is #2 Brian Darios of East Lansing/#8 Adam Ortman of Temperance Bedford. It’s been an up and down season for Ortman, but the senior is one of 3 returning all-state placers on this bracket, and, if on top of his game, I firmly believe he has the ability to crack the finals.
 

Quarters

No question about it, the quarterfinal to watch will be #3 Chase VanHoef of Grand Haven/#6 Zach Wood of Oxford. Wood was sitting at #3 in the ranking prior to a 4th place stumble at districts, but he vindicated himself with a regional title. It will be a battle, but I think the countless miles Wood travels on the USAW circuit each spring/summer will pay off with a berth to the semis.
 

Semis

#1 Parker Tillman of GR FHC has been ranked atop this weight class all season, and Darios has continuously sat behind him at #2. Both are pretty impressive physically, and I think their combination of size, strength, athleticism and savvy will be tough for anyone potential semifinalist to overcome.
 

Finals

Both Tillman and Darios entered regionals undefeated, and it took an OT fall for Tillman to preserve his unblemished mark. I expect to see a similarly tight bout in the rematch, and anything greater than a 2-point margin of victory would be pretty shocking. It’s a match either can win, but I lean towards Tillman based largely on the way he performed at the Palace last March.
 

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