Wilmoth wins D4 title; Rojas beats Cotton in D1 final | Local Sports
GRAND RAPIDS – Mike Simaz told Gavin Wilmoth he would score more points with a national champion in his corner.
He was right. Andy Simaz, the last Traverse City St. Francis national champion, now wrestling for Iowa, trained a Division 4 national championship with his father Wilmoth on Saturday at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
“It’s really some kind of weight that is taken off my shoulders,” said Wilmoth, the TCSF junior. “I’ve been looking forward to it and visualizing this since I was in seventh grade.”
Wilmoth said Andy Simaz’s presence must have intimidated opponents. He said Andy watched Wilmoth’s film for over 10 hours to coach him on Saturday.
“In every position I was in and felt uncomfortable in, he (Andy) has trained me and coach (Mike) Simaz,” said Wilmoth.
Wilmoth defeated wrestlers from Hesperia and Hanover Horton 9: 1 and 10: 4 and prevailed 6: 4 in extra time against Bryce Cheney from New Lothrop.
“In the final, I was totally thrilled and pumped up. I only tried as hard as I could,” said Wilmoth. He decided AJ Baxter of Clinton 14-2.
Wilmoth (31-6) was the second TC wrestler to appear in a state final.
Detroit Catholic Central’s Manuel Rojas beat Traverse City Central 11-5 at the Remis City Center in the 189-pound weight class in the Division 1 final on Saturday at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo.
Cotton (28-1) ended his second campaign with a loss – the state championship. That season included beating Rojas (29-2) earlier this season when he was ranked # 1 in the state.
“I don’t think the match has ever gotten away from me,” said Cotton. “To be honest, I think I went out and wrestled hard. In the end I fell short. A couple of things to work on, a couple of moves that I didn’t get right. The greatest thing was stopping my feet and he (Rojas) took advantage of that because he’s a good wrestler. “
Cotton, who came into the brackets as the top seed with 189, reached the state finals.
He started the day with a first pin against Alec Schulte of Hudsonville, defeated Drew Grup of Temperance Bedford in the third period with a 22-5 technical fall, and pinned Blake Williams of Belleville at 1:59 to reach the final.
Rojas stuck every one of his opponents on Saturday on the way to the title. His match with Cotton was the only one in the individual postseason that went over the distance.
“The season has been great,” said Cotton, who improved to seventh place in 2020.
Mancelona let Gage Tipton win an eighth place in the 119 weight class in the 119 weight class at the Division 4 final.
Tipton received a goodbye in the first round, then lost in the quarterfinals, setting an opponent from Bangor at 2:48 in the blood round for his only win that day. He lost to Vassar’s Chase Nickerson in the game for 7th place in a 9-4 decision to occupy eighth place.
Mancelona’s Wyatt fleet won 2-1 in the first consolation round against Byron’s Nolan Lange 1-1. His season ends at 19-9.
Traverse City St. Francis sophomore year Josiah Schaub posted a 2-1 record, including a pin in 4:03. He finished the season 28-9.
Austin Bills also represented the Trojans in the finals with 171 but fell out of both games in a high-ranking bracket.
Forest Area’s Josh Sayler went 2-0 at 189 pounds.
Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR