We did this last year and people seemed to enjoy it, so here it is again! A theoretical dual between this year's Dream Team and 2008's team from ten years back. The fictional matchup features so many memorable names and intriguing bouts that it was fun to think back about how they might have matched up.
We're taking these at face value. Obviously the sport has evolved over the past ten years, but we're looking at results- both in-state and nationally. Just have fun with it. Polls are included so cast your ballot as to who you think would win. Comment below with any thoughts, within the lines of course.
One other minor detail that answers the question as to why the Wrestler of the Year isn't on the "First Team." It wasn't the case in 2007. In 2008, MIG founder Tony Greathouse was coaching at Mason HS. Jacob Burge, of Mason, was a top-five ranked wrestler nationally and Greathouse couldn't fathom him not being on the Dream Team. So, he created a separate category (Wrestler of the Year) which was won by Ben Bennett, a 171 pounder, and slid Burge on the 1st Team at the weight. The Dream Team has done that every year since. Just a little factoid.
Anyways, we put Bennett on the 2008 team at 171 and Whitman, this year's WOTY, at 215 for the 2018 team.
2008 - BJ Suitor, Swan Valley, So. (62-1) D3 State Champ
2018 - Hunter Assenmacher, Ida, So. (53-0) D3 State Champ
Breakdown: A pair of highly skilled, sophomore, D3 state champs kick off this theoretical dual. In 08 Suitor suffered the first loss of his career while winning the second of his three state titles. Assenmacher was undefeated and relatively untested en route to title number one. While its definitely a toss-up, give the edge to Suitor.
Team Score: 3-0, 2008
2008 - Kyle Waldo, Rockford, Jr. (26-1) D1 State Champ, 7th Junior Freestyle '08
2018 - Andrew Chambal, Davison, So. (35-3) D1 State Champ, 4th Junior Folkstyle '18, 2nd Cadet Free/Greco '17
Breakdown: This is a really interesting matchup that would feature the majority of the action from neutral. With both having a multitude of attacks, it could go either way. Waldo, a 3x state champ would go on to place at Fargo a few months after season at 112. Chambal will definitely be one of the contenders to do so as well this year. Looking at the national rankings picture, they were in similar spots as well. Coin flip, edge Waldo.
Team Score: 6-0, 2008
2008 - Cameron Amateis, L'Anse Creuse, Jr. (62-1) D1 State Champ
2018 - Ben Kamali, Detroit CC, Sr. (35-1) D1 State Champ, 7th Junior Freestyle '17
Breakdown: 3x state champ Kamali has the edge here over Amateis, who won the first of his two state titles in 2008. Amateis was a dangerous matchup, but Kamali is just too solid and likely wouldn't put himself in too much danger. The future Virginia Cavalier gets the new class on the board - with bonus.
Team Score: 6-4, 2008
2008 - Zac Stevens, Monroe, Sr. (45-4) D1 State Champ, 4th Senior Nationals
2018 - Mike Mars, John Glenn, Sr. (55-0) D1 State Champ, 6th Flonationals '17
Breakdown: Interesting style matchup. Both University of Michigan commits, Stevens broke out during his season year winning the state and placing 4th at Seniors. Mars earned his third state title and fourth finals appearance. Mars would probably be able to neutralize Stevens' pace with his mat wrestling and scrambling, which is why he's the pick here.
Team Score: 7-6, 2018
2008 - Dan Osterman, Carson City, Jr. (48-0) D4 State Champ, 3rd Junior Folkstyle '08
2018 - Jarrett Trombley, Lake Fenton, Sr. (59-0) D3 State Champ
Breakdown: Osterman's biggest year came in 2009 where he double AA'd at Fargo. In 08 he did win his second state championship for Carson City, before transferring to St. Johns. Trombley, a four-timer who set the national takedown record this year, has to be the favorite. No bonus, Osterman was very good as a junior. But the NC State commit gets the nod.
Team Score: 10-6, 2018
2008 - Mark Weber, Goodrich, Sr. (58-3) D3 State Champ, 2nd Senior Nationals, 2nd Junior Freestyle '07
2018 - Corbyn Munson, Chelsea, Sr. (54-0) D2 State Champ
Breakdown: Weber did take a couple losses during his final year which saw him collect his fourth state championship, but he was a consensus top-five ranked guy in the country and was in the finals at both Seniors and Juniors. Munson, while dominant in state this year, did not have that same level of success nationally. A couple underhook, far-knee blasts for Weber and he gets the win.
Team Score: 10-9, 2018
2008 - Jackson Morse, Lowell, So. (33-2) D2 State Champ, 1st Super32 '08
2018 - James Whitaker, St. Johns, Jr. (39-1) D2 State Champ, 5th Super32 '17, 1st Flonationals '18
Breakdown: Another super intriguing matchup. Morse defeated the aforementioned Weber during his sophomore year and, though he hadn't competed much nationally, did win Super32's the following fall- just to show what level he was at in 2008. Whitaker recently won his first national tournament at Flonationals and grabbed his first state title in March. It would be an entertaining match, but Morse always seemed to win the big matches.
Team Score: 12-10, 2008
2008 - Jeremy Bommarito, Hartland, Sr. (56-2) D1 State Champ
2018 - Austin Boone, Lowell, So. (44-1) D2 State Champ
Breakdown: A battle of two-time state champs here. Boone went unbeaten in-state and currently resides in the thick of the national rankings at the weight. Not sure if bonus would be on the table because Bommarito was a two-year champ at 145, but it's a possibility. Young guys back in the lead.
Team Score: 14-12, 2018
2008 - Dan Yates, Hesperia, Jr. (56-0) D4 State Champ
2018 - Alex Facundo, Davison, Fr. (31-0) D1 State Champ, 1st Junior Folkstyle '18, 4th Super32 '17, 1st Cadet Free '17, 4th Cadet Greco '17
Breakdown: Two highly talented guys matched up here. 2x champ Yates, who would go on to win his third and be named MIG Wrestler of the Year in 2009, was lights out for Hesperia. However, Facundo's wins this year can not be overlooked. It's a tough sell for someone to convince me that he loses this match.
Team Score: 17-12, 2018
2008 - Chris Eggert, Dundee, Sr. (55-1) D3 State Champ
2018 - Will Marano, Edsel Ford, Sr. (55-0) D1 State Champ
Breakdown: Two really good athletes with contrasting styles. Marano is a point-scoring machine with a high motor. Eggert, who also had a great motor, was more controlling and was fantastic at grinding out close matches. It's hard to see Marano being stifled, based on his season where he bonused 53 of 55 matches and his closest matches were 5-point wins. 2018 jumps out to the biggest lead of the dual for either side.
Team Score: 20-12, 2018
2008 - Ben Bennett, Rockford, Sr. (50-0) D1 State Champ, 1st Senior Nationals, 1st Junior Nationals '08
2018 - Layne Malczewski, Dakota, Sr. (55-0) D1 State Champ, 5th Super32 '17
Breakdown: Both undefeated D1 state champs, both hammers on top. Bennett just took it to a different level. One of the top overall wrestlers in the nation in 2008, the current CMU assistant won both the Senior Nationals and Junior FS Nationals, where he was OW. While Malczewski is a great talent with national success, he'd be overmatched in this one.
Team Score: 20-16, 2018
2008 - LJ Helbig, Mason, Sr. (57-0) D2 State Champ, 7th Senior Nationals
2018 - Ben Cushman, Flushing, Sr. (53-0) D1 State Champ
Breakdown: Dominating upper weights, both of these guys cruised to state titles. Cushman won his second with ease. Helbig earned his first championship after losing in the finals to Cam Simaz in OT as a junior. He added a Senior Nationals AA a month later. Really tough call, but advantage Helbig.
Team Score: 20-19, 2018
2008 - Marcel Dubose, Oak Park, Sr. (33-0) D1 State Champ, 1st Senior Nationals, 1st Junior Greco '07
2018 - Brandon Whitman, Dundee, Sr. (47-0) D3 State Champ, 3rd Junior Free/Greco '17
Breakdown: Don't even no where to start. These are two of the most dominant and decorated in state history. 99 times out of 100 you'd pick either of these two to win a theoretical matchup. Unfortunately we have to pick someone here. Dubose was one of the most exciting wrestlers anyone had the privilege to watch and was ranked #1 in the country for part of his senior year. He would have the size advantage for sure and was extremely dangerous up top. However, Whitman is seasoned in Greco and I'm not convinced that Dubose would be able to throw him. Whitman is much more technical and has the advantage on the mat, but doubtful that he'd be able to turn him. If we assume we get the best versions of both, I'm going Dubose in a mild upset and likely unpopular pick. Dual coming down to heavyweight!
Team Score: 22-20, 2008
2008 - Mike Martin, Detroit CC, Sr. (38-1) D1 State Champ
2018 - Austin Emerson, Bedford, Sr. (48-3) D1 State Champ, 1st Senior Nationals, 4th Junior Greco '17, 5th Junior Freestyle '17
Breakdown: Another amazing athlete, Martin won his second title in his second year in the sport. Emerson went unbeaten in state for his first championship to go along with a pair of Junior AA's the summer before his final season. As athletic as Martin was, it's important to remember he lost at Regionals prior to winning it. In saying that, Emerson's skill set is just better and he picks up a close decision and brings the dual home for 2018.
Team Score: 23-22, 2018