Clinton stands proud in first team state appearance
Just getting to the big show at Battle Creek for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Division 4 team state wrestling meet was a huge accomplishment for Clinton but a 72-6 loss against Hudson had the Redskins carrying their hearts on their sleeves to end the season.Everyone went into the meet knowing Hudson was favored to win the quarterfinal against the Redskins and some completely expected the Tigers to win their sixth consecutive championship this year. But it was not to be. The number two seed, New Lothrop (31-1), upset the number one seeded Tigers 33-22 in the championship final.Hudson (2009-2013) still goes down in history, sharing the title of most consecutive state championships with Davidson (2002-2006).The Tigers opened the quarterfinal match by picking up a three point decision at 135-pounds (Dustin Mattison over Tanner Phillips, 4-3) but Clinton’s Huntter Tribiano flipped Hudson’s Mason Lopinski to his back and recorded a pin (2:19) at 140-pounds to give the Redskins a 6-3 advantage. “He’s a great kid,” said Clinton coach Jeff Rolland. “He’s only a sophomore and he made great strides this year. We expect a lot from him the next couple of years.”It was a short-lived lead for Clinton as it was the Redskins’ only win in the state tournament.Hudson recorded pins in 11 of the remaining 12 matches to secure the quarterfinal victory.“They were what we thought they were,” said Roland of Hudson after the loss. “But I feel like our kids competed. I don’t think we have anything to be embarrassed about.” Recording pins for the Tigers were: Cole Weaver (145, over Jeffrey Rolland, :23); J.D. Waters (152 over Nicholas Rolland, 2:45); Kyle Johnson (160, over David Chantelois, :39); Brian Sumber (171, over Keagan Ward, :21); Clayton Brockway (189, over Kenny Deshano, 3:13); Jake Morgan (285, over Tanner Bowles, 1:04); Zachary Lopinski (103, over Hunter Mellinger, 1:12); Tyler Roberts (112, over Evan Shovels, 2:56); Roddy Hamdan (119, over Zech Johnston, :38); Isaac Dusseau (125, over Nick LaCoss, :22); and Michael Prock (130, over Christian Ford, 1:45).Mitch Ely (215, Brett Tschirhart, 5-2 OT) won by decision for Hudson.“It was good for the kids,” Rolland added. “We had nine kids lose in the blood round for the state [individual] tournament. There were no studs, as people perceive studs. But, we’ve got eight of them coming back next year. So, we can only use this as a stepping-stone in the future.“That’s a great team. We’ll be rooting for them the rest of the way. But, our kids represented Clinton proudly, I think. And they behaved well and were good sports in battle.”The excitement from the successful football season trickled over into wrestling, according to Rolland, with Clinton’s and Lenawee County’s sports fans not missing a beat by supporting the wrestling team the entire way to the state meet.“It’s been unbelievable,” said Rolland. “I’ve heard from kids I coached 20 years ago. It’s great. I think people are excited about it. We tried to use the football team to build off of that a bit and hopefully going forward, we’re here to stay. This isn’t the last time we’ll be here in the near future.”The Redskins finished the season with an overall record of 21-13.