Father and son Landon and Mark Raczkowski of Western High School celebrate during the Michigan High School Athletic Association state wrestling finals Saturday at Ford Field. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Grass Lake High School wrestler Trenton Holden said he was getting “gassed” at the end of his matches last season.
The junior went out and did something about it.
It paid off Saturday.
Holden won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 state wrestling title at 160 pounds at Ford Field on Saturday afternoon. He finished the season with a 46-1 record.
The Grass Lake junior was one of three local wrestlers earning state individual titles Saturday in the MHSAA finals. Springport wrestler Thomas Potter won the Division 4 title at 152 pounds and Simon Lato of Manchester claimed the top spot at 285 pounds.
Holden said following his win over Nick Phillips in the D-4 finals that he changed his regiment this season after getting knocked out of the playoffs in the regional round last year.
“I don’t have a training partner, so I had four coaches work with me,” Holden said. “Each one worked with me in a rotation.”
That constant rotation wrestling against coaches wore him out to the point the exhaustion – and made six minutes of wrestling seem easier. It paid off as Holden won conference, district, regional, and state titles. Holden earned an 7-2 win over Phillips in the finals in a battle of Cascades Conference foes.
Here are other stories of local wrestlers at the state individual finals.
Jackson High School wrestler Jayson Roy thought he could get to the finals in the MHSAA Division 1 285-pound weight class. But a loss in the second round to Nick West of Lincoln Park ended that dream.
“It didn’t go as well as I thought,” Roy said Saturday.
But Roy got the last laugh, defeating West in the third-place match.
The top eight earn all-state medals and a trip to the podium.
“I thought I had a pretty good season,” Roy said.
The junior will have a chance at a state title next season.
Western High School wrestler Landon Raczkowski calls wrestling his “stay in shape sport.”
By the way, he is pretty good at it.
Raczkowski took third place in Division 2 at 215 pounds, earning his second all-state medal in the process.
“I am more of a baseball and football kind of guy,” Raczkowski said.
His father, Mark, is an assistant coach in the wrestling program.
“It will be bitter-sweet after my final match,” Raczkowski said.
125 pounds – Nick Marienfeld, Napoleon High School, eighth place.
152 pounds – Trentton Wortham, Hillsdale, sixth place.
Thomas Potter of Springport High School was not sure he was going to make it to the state wrestling finals.
Despite being the No. 1 seed at 152 pounds in Division 4, the flu bug brought him down on Tuesday of last week.
“I would be lying if I said the thought of not wrestling did cross my mind,” Potter said after winning the state title on Saturday. “I put it in God’s hand and this is what I got.”
Potter finished fourth last year and put his efforts into getting better since then.
“Last year coach talked about this being the first time in four seasons without a state champ,” Potter said. “That fueled me.”
Potter earned a 5-1 win over Bryce Cheney of New Lothrop in the finals. He finished the season with a 46-1 record.
In the last match of the night, Simon Lato of Manchester won a thrilling 5-4 win over Emmett Bingaman of Mendon.
It appeared as if the Manchester wrestler had won the match in regulation. But officials called a locked hands violation on Lato late in the match.
“He was on the mat and I had both of my hands under him,” Lato said. “They were not locked.”
Lato won the match when an official called stalling on Bingaman – earning a point of the Manchester senior in overtime.
“I want to thank my coaches for coaching me all of these years,” Lato said. “It is hard to believe I could win a title after going 13-20 as a freshman.”
Lato said he was inspired by fellow senior Jacob Shelby who lost in the finals earlier in the day.
“He told me to go out and win one for him,” Lato said. “That made me happy and gave me pride to go out and wrestle.”
Lato finished the season with a 53-2 record.
Here are other medal winners from the Jackson area:
103 pounds – Jacob Bunn, Manchester High School, sixth place.
119 pounds – Walter Obrinske, Springport High School, seventh place.
125 pounds – Drew Gebhardt, Manchester High School, third place.
Connor Fitzpatrick, Lumen Christi Catholic High School, seventh place.
130 pounds – Jacob Shelby, Manchester High School, second place.
135 pounds – Robert Patterson, Springport High School, fourth place.
Chris Sorrow, Hanover-Horton High School, sixth place.
140 pounds – Nathan Rodlund, Addison High School, fifth place.
145 pounds – Grant Weber, Leslie High School, third place.
152 pounds – Melvin Minniear, Homer High School, seventh place.
189 pounds– Nick Carey, Leslie High School, fourth place.
Colin McCaffrey, Manchester High School, seventh place.
215 pounds – Ben Smieska, Leslie High School, third place.
285 pounds – Wally Gilbert, Lumen Christi Catholic High School, fifth place.