Mark Hall defeated two nationally ranked wrestlers en route to winning the title (Photo/MichiganGrappler.com)
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- It was yet another wrestling tournament for Mark Hall: an opportunity for him to showcase his elite level of talent for an interested audience. That is what the nation's No. 2 sophomore did on Saturday in Battle Creek, Mich., at the Grappler Fall Classic. Entered in the show case weight class of the tournament, Hall came out of it with the championship, but not without a couple of tests.
In the semifinal round, Hall upended the nation's No. 4 sophomore Alex Marinelli (St. Paris Graham), 5-3, and in the final he defeated Fox Baldwin (Osceola, Fla.) -- the nation's No. 4 junior -- by 6-3 decision. Both Marinelli and Baldwin moved up a weight class from where they'll be during the season for the opportunity to compete against Hall. On the way to the final, Baldwin beat Top 100 senior Jordan Cooks (Davison, Mich.) 9-3 in the semifinal round.
Logan Massa dominated his way to a title at the Grappler Fall Classic on Saturday (Photo/MichiganGrappler.com)Two other top ten wrestlers in their grade level were champions on Saturday in the Grappler Fall Classic. At 152 pounds, Logan Massa (St. John's, Mich.) -- the nation's No. 3 junior -- dominated his way to the title with three pins, a technical fall, and an injury default. One of those three pins came in the first period of the championship match against Indiana state fourth place finisher Brendon Kelly (Evansville Central). At 160 pounds, the nation's No. 8 freshman Jelani Embree (Warren Lincoln, Mich.) dominated his way to the title with a technical fall and then three major decisions. In fact Embree did not give up a single point during his matches on Saturday.
Massa was one of three wrestlers from St. Johns to win titles. Also sitting at the top of their brackets were Zac Hall, the nation's No. 17 senior, at 140 pounds and junior Tyler Wildmo at 182 pounds. Hall had four decisive wins on the way to the title, including an 11-4 decision in the final over the tournament's giant killer Tevin Machart (Utica Ford, Mich.). In the quarterfinal, Machart upset two-time state champion Justin Oliver (Davsion, Mich.), 12-6, who placed third at the FloNationals and was a Junior Greco-Roman All-American; then, in the semis, he upset three-time state champion Colton Adams (Scottbluff, Neb.) 8-3, who is the nation's No. 34 senior.
Wildmo, who was third at state last year, had three key outcomes on the way to his title. In the quarterfinal, Wildmo advanced by injury default over returning state champion Teddy Warren (Dundee, Mich.), also a FloNationals placer; he then earned a 10-2 major decision over state placer and Cadet freestyle runner-up Jackson Harris (Urbana, Ohio); and the championship match was a 7-2 decision over state champion Jacob Cooper (Springport, Mich.)
Two other high school programs saw multiple wrestlers win weight class titles on Saturday at the Grappler Fall Classic: Leslie, Mich. and Detroit Catholic Central, Mich. The Storr brothers -- Kanen at 112 and Zehlin at 135 -- were those from Leslie; while Nick Bennett at 145 and James Russell at 215 won titles from Detroit Catholic Central. Most interesting matchup among those four finals was Zehlin Storr upending Austin Eicher 6-1 in a battle of two-time state finalists who both won titles this past March.
Most impressive among the performances Saturday was that had by Robert Lee (Kaukauna, Wis.). Lee, a two-time state finalist and Cadet freestyle All-American this past summer, won the 130 pound weight class with five pins from five matches. That included a pin in the finals over Junior freestyle All-American Stephen Polakowski (Libertyville, Ill.)
Rounding out the weight class champions at the Grappler Fall Classic were Louie Hayes (Carl Sandburg, Ill.) at 98 pounds, Lucas Hall (Lowell, Mich.) at 105, Josh Heil (Brunswick, Ohio) at 119, Lincoln Olson (Davison, Mich.) at 125, and Brian Darios (East Lansing, Mich.) at 285.
Championship Match Results:
98: Louie Hayes (Carl Sandburg, Ill.) dec. Austin Franco (Lakeshore, Mich.), 6-1
105: Lucas Hall (Lowell, Mich.) pinned Ian Parker (St. Johns, Mich.), 3:23
112: Kanen Storr (Leslie, Mich.) dec. Caleb Smith (Lake Gibson, Mich.), 7-2
119: Josh Heil (Brunswick, Ohio) dec. Dresden Simon (Dansville, Mich.), 4-1
125: Lincoln Olson (Davison, Mich.) dec. Matt Santos (Swan Valley, Mich.), 13-6
130: Robert Lee (Kaukauna, Wis.) pinned Stephen Polakowski (Libertyville, Ill.), 1:24
135: Zehlin Storr (Leslie, Mich.) dec. Austin Eicher (Hartland, Mich.), 6-1
140: Zac Hall (St. Johns, Mich.) dec. Tevin Machart (Utica Ford, Mich.), 11-4
145: Nicholas Bennett (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.) major dec. Myles Amine (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.), 9-1
152: Logan Massa (St. Johns, Mich.) pin Brendon Kelley (Evansville Central, Ind.), 1:49
160: Jelani Embree (Warren Lincoln, Mich.) major dec. Tyler Grimsley (Anchor Bay, Mich.), 12-0
171: Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) dec. Fox Baldwin (Osceola, Fla.), 6-3
189: Tyler Wildmo (St. Johns, Mich.) dec. Jacob Cooper (Springport, Mich.), 7-2
215: James Russell (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.) pinned Kendal Betteridge (Caro, Mich.), 1:05
285: Brian Darios (East Lansing, Mich.) dec. Aaron Mauldin (Wayne Memorial, Mich.), 6-0