Mendon wrestlers advance to state quarterfinals

Hornets crush Bronson, Lawton to win team regional

THREE OAKS — It was a huge night for the Green and White jerseys from Mendon on the mats at Three Oaks-River Valley High School Wednesday.
Mendon punched its ticket to the Division 4 team state wrestling finals by knocking out old nemesis Bronson 54-21 in the regional semifinals and Lawton 47-21 in the championship.
Caleb Stephenson’s Hornets, ranked No. 3 in the season’s final team rankings by MichiganGrappler.com, improved to 29-1 with the pair of wins.
“We have the utmost respect for Bronson and Lawton. With Bronson not having Cole Houtz in their lineup because of injury changed the landscape of that match somewhat,” said Mendon head coach Caleb Stephenson. “Both of those programs are well-coached. I miss not having Bronson in the same league as us.”
Lawton pounded Three Oaks-River Valley 61-15 in the other semifinal match.
Mendon advances to the state quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 23 at the Wings-Events Center in Kalamazoo. Pairings will be determined by a draw Sunday evening.
It’s the first regional championship for Mendon since 1991 when the Hornets were the Class D state champions.
 “This is such an incredible night for our program. I cannot help but think about my dad tonight and all the years he put into building this program. There were years that he didn’t have the numbers and all the tough losses that he took at the hands of teams like Bronson and Constantine,” said Mendon coach Caleb Stephenson about his dad Art who is now one of the Hornets’ assistant coaches.
“For me personally this night was for him and it was incredible to be with him on the sidelines for such a historic night for us.”
Individually, Mendon had a lot of things go its way in terms of the way it wrestled and matchups it had against both Bronson and Lawton.
“Guys like Logan Hunter came out and absolutely battled and looked great. He was coming off an individual district that he was unhappy with,” Stephenson said.
“Our hammers like Nik Andaverde, Kaden Frye, Wyatt Cool and Skyler Crespo really did their jobs tonight as well. But moving forward it was performances like we got from Chris Rios who bumped up to 160 that we are doing to need as we move forward toward Kalamazoo and the team state finals.”
Mendon’s dominating win over Bronson in the semifinals avenged last year’s 41-26 district semifinal loss to the Vikings.
 

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