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Detroit Catholic Central, Lowell, and Dundee intend to continue their Michigan state-championship dynasties this season.
Davison and Clinton are two teams intent on derailing dynasties.
All five are teams well worth watching.
Here is a breakdown of each:
1. Detroit Catholic Central
The Shamrocks are seeking a fifth straight Division 1 state championship and eighth in 11 seasons.
They are loaded again with returning state champions Derek Gilcher (160 pounds, 35-2 record), Josh Edmond (135, 40-2), Brendin Yatooma (215, 42-3), and Steven Kolcheff (285, 39-3). Gilcher and Edmond are seeking their third state titles.
Gilcher (Indiana) is ranked 10th nationally at 160 pounds and won the Grappler Fall Classic, 160-pound title. He was also fifth at the Super 32 and seventh at Freestyle Nationals (152 pounds).
Edmond (Missouri) is ranked sixth nationally at 138 pounds. He was fourth at the Super 32 and fifth at the UWW Cadet Freestyle Nationals. Kolcheff is ranked 12th nationally.
Overall, Detroit CC returns 10 state qualifiers, including eight who medaled by placing in the top eight at the state tournament.
Other state medalists last season were Anthony Walker (103, 33-10), Camden Trupp (130, 41-8), Marc Schaeffer (140, 22-5), and Logan Sanom (145, 38-6). Schaeffer has committed to Old Dominion and Sanom to Bucknell.
Add to that mix freshman Dylan Gilcher, who is ranked fifth nationally at 106. He was third at the Grappler Fall Classic and fourth at the Super 32.
The Shamrocks jump right into the fire, opening the season by hosting six-time defending Division 2 champion Lowell Dec. 11.
The Red Arrows are pursuing a seventh straight Division 2 state title and return 11 state qualifiers, six of whom finished in the top eight.
The group is led by three-time state champion Austin Boone, who went 31-4 at 152 pounds last season. He is ranked sixth nationally at 145 pounds and placed third at the Super 32, Grappler Fall Classic, and Journeyman tournaments during a busy offseason.
Tyler Delooff (285, 36-8) also medaled at the state tournament and was second at the National Folkstyle Tournament last spring.
Other state medalists last season were Ramsy Mutschler (103, 32-10), James Fotis (145, 20-5), Doak Dean (145, 39-6), and Jacob Lee (160, 31-16).
Overall, the Red Arrows return 11 of 13 state qualifiers.
The Cardinals have not won a state championship since completing a run of five straight Division 1 titles in 2006, but have finished second five times since 2012. Davison, which fell to Brighton in last year's semifinals, likely poses the biggest threat to Detroit Catholic Central's dynasty.
The Cardinals' depth seems endless with nine state qualifiers — including five medalists — returning. In all, there were 20 underclassmen on Davison's roster last season who finished with winning records.
Alex Facundo is the only Michigan wrestler currently appearing in FloWrestling's pound-for-pound rankings (sixth). He is also ranked second at 170 pounds.
Facundo won his second state title (Division 1, 160) and finished 39-2 last season. His two-year high school record is 70-2. Facundo's offseason included winning a second straight bronze medal at the Cadet World Championships. He also won a Folkstyle National Championship and placed second at the Who's #1 tournament.
Other state medalists last season were Jimmy Colley (16-6, 215), Aden Williams (103, 26-5), Jay Nivison (171, 30-10), and Andrew Chambal (119, 38-5), who was second at the Grappler Fall Classic. Colley was second at the National Folkstyle Championships
Among the other returning state qualifiers, James Johnston was busy during the offseason, placing second at the National Folkstyle Championships, sixth at the Greco Roman nationals and seventh at the Grappler Fall Classic.
Freshman Caden Horwath is ranked 13 nationally at 106 pounds. He was second at Freestyle nationals and third at the Grappler Fall Classic. Freshman Josh Barr was a National Folkstyle champion at 138 pounds, was fourth at Freestyle nationals and sixth at the Grappler Fall Classic.
The Vikings are seeking a third straight Division 3 state championship and sixth in the past eight seasons.
Dundee returns six of eight state qualifiers, all of whom placed in the top eight, including two-time state champion Stoney Buell (152 pounds, 45-8) and defending state champion Casey Swiderski (103, 46-2).
Buell won a Cadet championship at the Freestyle nationals while Swiderski won the Grappler Fall Classic at 119 pounds, beating Florida state champion Braden Basile.
Other returning state medalists are Austin Fietz (112, 38-11), Tyler Swiderski (135, 28-11), Christian Killion (140, 44-5), and Jaxon Guinn (171, 21-9).
Freshman Braeden Davis won a championship at Freestyle nationals and was second at the Grappler Fall Classic. Freshman Dominick Lomazzo was seventh at the Grappler Fall Classic.
The Redskins seem the most likely team to capture its first state championship after falling to Hudson in the Division 4 title match last season.
To do so, Clinton will likely have to oust a Hudson squad seeking its fourth straight championship and ninth in 12 seasons.
The Redskins return eight state qualifiers, including six who placed in the top eight.
Returning state medalists are A.J. Baxter (119, 49-9), George Ames (130, 36-13), Spencer Konz (135, 47-10), Kent McCombs (140, 37-10), Brayden Randolph (160, 46-2), and Logan Badge (215, 37-2).
In all, 13 wrestlers who posted winning records last season are expected back.
Mark Spezia is a freelance writer based in Lapeer, Michigan. He has written for ESPNW, Flohockey, Flint, Michigan-based My City Magazine, the Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit Magazine and Troy, Michigan-based Oakland Press. He previously worked for the Flint Journal, Lapeer (Michigan) County Press and Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton, Michiga