Lowell continues winning tradition with another D2 title
Mount Pleasant - One day Sam Russell wants to get married, have kids, buy a house in Lowell and have his kids wrestle there.
He also wants his future children to experience the wrestling rivalry with St. Johns.
The two state powers squared off in the Division 2 final for the fourth time since 2011, and this time it was Lowell breaking away for a 37-22 triumph in front of over 5,000 fans at Central Michigan’s McGuirk Arena.
“I love this rivalry. I hope it never goes away,” said the Lowell junior. “I hope one day my kids can wrestle for Lowell and compete against St. Johns. It’s a great rivalry. The best.”
With the teams tied at 22-22, Russell’s pin of Cody Wood in a 119-pound bout put the Red Arrows up for good, which led to Lowell’s third straight title and sixth since the Michigan Hich School Athletic Association went to the team format.
Lowell closed with a 15-0 run including Russell’s pin in 1:24. Lucas Hill’s subsequent pin in 26 seconds over Derek Selden (125) and Avry Mutschler’s 11-5 decision over Cross Gonzalez (130) closed the match.
“I expected this to be tight. A lot of people did,” Lowell coach R.J. Boudro said. “We’ve had some great matches with them in recent years. We were able to pull this one out.”
St. Johns led 7-0 after two weight classes and had five victories in drawing even with the Red Arrows through 112 with three weight classes to go. The Redwings (28-5) ran out of steam.
St. Johns won four straight state titles from 2010-13 and lost to Lowell in the 2014 finals. The Redwings were knocked out by Mason in the regional semifinals last season.
“That was disappointing not making it here (to the team state tournament) last year. We didn’t want that to happen again,” said St. Johns coach Derek Phillips. “We just came up a little short. Our goal was to not only make it here, but to get to the final match and win it. We won four in a row (2010-13) and know what it takes to get it done. Lowell was just a little better than us today.”
Boudro took over for Dave Dean in the summer of 2014 and has kept Lowell amongst the state’s premier programs with two more titles.
Lowell has now won team titles in 2002, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016 to go along with state runner-up efforts in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2012 and 2013. The Red Arrows are 2-2 in state title matches against St. Johns.
“We’ve been dealing with expectations all season,” said Boudro. “We’ve made the finals now five years in a row. We lost to them twice, then won three in a row. People don’t know how hard it is to get here every year and how hard it is to win a state title. People don’t know how hard these kids work in order to do this and what an accomplishment it is to win a state championship. And when you do it several times, there are really high expectations.”
LOWELL 37, ST. JOHNS 22
135: Trent Lashuay (St. Johns) maj. dec. Channing Perry 10-0; 140: Ian Parker (St. Johns) d. Zeth Dean 3-0; 145: Bryce Dempsey (Lowell) maj. dec. Braxton Parks 13-4; 152: George Gonzales (Lowell) d. Derek Droste 4-3; 160: Brett Fedewa (St. Johns) d. David Kruse 5-4; 171: Danny Kruse (Lowell) d. Lucas McFarland 5-1; 189: Eli Boulton (Lowell) p. Blake Thelen 2:47; 215: Logan Blough (Lowell) d. Matt Nunn 7-3; 285: Max Dean (Lowell) d. Jake Gnegy 5-4; 103: Brendan Zelenka (St. Johns) p. Hunter Browning 3:06; 112: Emilio Sanchez (St. Johns) p. Jeff Leach 3:22; 119: Sam Russell (Lowell) p. Cody Wood 1:24; 125: Lucas Hall (Lowell) p. Derek Selden 0:26; 130: Avry Mutschler (Lowell) d. Cross Gonzalez 11-5.