Tecumseh wins two state titles


Drew Marten came from behind and upset Lucas Hall to earn the 125-pound state championship. Last season Hall beat Marten in the state semifinals and went on to win the championship match. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

It’s been 11 years since Tecumseh won a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 individual state wrestling championship and just like the last time the Indians had two athletes earn titles.
Landon Pelham was expected to win his championship match at 215-pounds and he controlled Eli Boulton of Lowell throughout the entire three rounds to win by a 9-2 decision.
Pelham scored two points with a first period takedown. He added another point in the second period with an escape and two more with a takedown for a 5-0 advantage heading into the final period.
Pelham allowed Boulton an escape for a point to start the third period. With just 30 seconds left in the match Pelham scored a takedown for two more points and again gave up a point when allowing an escape. With just 15 seconds remaining Pelham added his final two points on another takedown.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble in Tecumseh and it just finally feels good to have everything go the way it should for once,” Pelham said after winning the bout. “I just can’t thank our coaches enough for giving me the ability to do this and the opportunity.”
MHSAA lists Pelham as being undefeated this season with an overall record of 54-0. His ultimate goal was picking up the state title after finishing third in the state last year.
“That’s what we teach all year is mental preparation. Be tougher than the other guy. Whoever can go the longest can win the match, and score as many points as we can to try and break our opponent. Worry about scoring points. Don’t worry about losing. That’s my mentality on that,” said Pelham.
Last year his brother Preston placed second in the state as heavyweight and Landon said he picked up this year’s championship with his brother in mind.
“I feel like I kind of got some redemption for him,” said Landon. “It’s always been our goal to be state champs. He wants it more for me than I could ever want it for myself. He’s always been along with me for the journey and I can’t thank him enough. I’ve got to give him all the credit. He’s the reason I’m great.”
Another thing that Landon said helped him win a state title was the loyal fan base supporting the entire program. “We have the best fans, man. They travel well. They’ve traveled well for years. We’ve been through a lot. Six coaches in the last six years. But our fans have been loyal.”
It was a long and tough road he had to travel to get to the pinnacle of state wrestling. Landon broke his left arm in two places in 2014 during a football game.
“I snapped my humerus in half and fractured my elbow,” he said. “I had a pretty major surgery, a foot-long plate with 14 screws.”
Instead of missing the wrestling season, he was back on the mats much sooner than the doctors expected. 
“I ended up being able to come back. I thought I was going to miss all wrestling season. I was able to come out three months early. It was a good feeling just getting to come to the state tournament when that’s something I thought might never be a thing, so coming back this year and winning it all and going undefeated is a dream come true.”
Pelham signed a National Letter of Intent last November to continue wrestling at Central Michigan University.
Drew Marten’s state title match at 125-pounds didn’t go as easy as Landon’s. Marten was the underdog and started the match a bit sluggish, giving up two quick points on a takedown by last year’s 119-pound state champ from Lowell, Lucas Hall. Three quarters of the way through the second period, Marten shook off the cobwebs, tied the match 4-4 and took a two point 6-4 lead with a fierce takedown that changed the match’s momentum. Marten didn’t give up another point while adding four more in the final period to secure the state title. He flipped Hall to his back for a near fall that added three points and the final point on a stalling call.
“I thought about it every night before I went to bed,” said an emotional Marten after walking off the championship mat. “I knew I could do it.” He said he trained extremely hard during the season and his coaches pushed him hard every day.
“It’s just amazing. My friends, everybody that’s helped me along the way, it’s great.”
Hudson’s head coach Scott Marry lifted Marten off the ground for a huge hug and said, “I told you, I told you, I told you!” which made even more tears fall from Marten’s eyes.
Marten said it was gratifying win after having been beaten by Hall last year in the state semifinals.
“I just hope other people are inspired by it,” Marten said of winning the title. “I hope it creates a chain reaction for the program.”
Tecumseh first season head coach AJ Marry said the two state championships are a testament to the consistency that the wrestlers have had from the top to bottom for a long time.
“I’m just fortunate to have been a part of the experience,” said Marry. “ Community support is awesome. Actually, the county support. We’ve trained with these guys not just the last month, but we train with all the guys from the county throughout the year. It creates a special bond.”
In 2005 Tecumseh picked up two state championships, with Chris Jenkins placing first at 130-pounds and John Ahern winning at 275-pounds.


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