By Sean Budlong
The Schoolcraft wrestling team had one of the best seasons in its history. Not only did it win a District Championship and advance to the Regional Finals, but it finished the season ranked eighth in Division 4. In addition to these team honors, six Eagles advanced to the State Individual Tournament, with two, Spencer Fox and Brandon Verwey, bringing home a third-place finish.
Spencer Fox entered the State Tournament ranked third in the State in the 125 weight class. He beat the fourteenth and sixth ranked wrestlers in the first two rounds before losing to Davian Gowens, who was ranked first in the state. Fox came back to beat two more top-ten opponents to earn a third place finish in the tournament. Fox is a junior who relishes competing against the best competition he can find because he believes it only makes him a better wrestler, win or lose.
Brandon Verwey had never made it to the State Tournament before his senior year, and he made the most of his opportunity. Ranked fourth in the state in the 189 weight class, Verwey beat the 13th- ranked wrestler before losing to top ranked and eventual State Champion Nick Cooper. Verwey came back to win four consecutive matches against top ten wrestlers to finish third in the State.
Justin Braford was ranked ninth in the State in the 140 weight class, and won his first two matches of the Tournament against the seventh and fifth-ranked wrestlers. Like Verwey, Braford lost to the top ranked and eventual State Champion in the third round. Bradford finished his senior year with a sixth place finish.
Zac Sharp finished the regular season ranked fifth in the State at the 160 weight class. In his fourth State Tournament, he won his first match before losing to the sixth-ranked wrestler in the State. Sharp came back to beat Cole Houtz of Bronson and Trevor Willing of Sandusky to record a school record 173 career wins and finish seventh in the State.
Cam Blalock and Ethan Sharp had fantastic seasons, but failed to reach the medal round at the State Tournament. Blalock entered the Tournament as the 14th-ranked wrestler in the 171 weight class, and lost his first match to their third ranked wrestler and eventual State runner up. He beat the 11th-ranked wrestler before dropping his final high school match. Sharp was ranked seventh in the State in the 152 weight class and lost his first match to Jacob Shoop (ranked third and finished third in the Tournament). He split the final two matches of his junior year.
These accomplishments are more impressive when put into context. Over 150 schools compete in Division 4 wrestling, and each of these young men were among the final 14-16 wrestlers in their weight class. Additionally, each of them achieved a milestone win (100 or 150 career victories) during the season.