CHESANING — Jordan Rodriguez’s four-year quest for a state wrestling championship was finally fulfilled in his last high school match.
After placing third, seventh and second in the state the previous three years, Rodriguez won the 112-pound, Division 3 state crown at Ford Field in Detroit, defeating Hunter Keller of Richmond on a 7-1 decision.
“I was focused and I was prepared,” Rodriguez said. “I had two takedowns in the first period … I beat him earlier in the season at the New Lothrop Tournament, 5-0 … Winning the championship was very satisfying.”
Rodriguez, who finished 41-1 overall, was voted The Argus-Press All-Area Wrestler of the Year for 2019-2020.
“It feels good,” Rodriguez said. “It took a lot of hard work.”
Chesaning coach Jeremy Reiber said Rodriguez has been a standout wrestler ever since he stepped on the mat as a freshman. He wrestled at 103 pounds as a freshman and sophomore and 112 the last two years.
“He’s just a great kid,” Reiber said. “Three times he has actually come fairly close to winning a state title. Last year, as a junior he took second and lost (6-2 to Hunter Assenmacher of Ida) in the finals. As a freshman he lost in the semifinals and took third. And his sophomore year he finished seventh.”
Rodriguez was 10-0 in the individual tournament, including six pins — three in under 40 seconds — and two major decisions. His closest encounter came in the district finals when he defeated Lake Odessa Lakewood’s Zach Gibson 7-6. Gibson was 39-2 at the time.
His only loss came when he was bumped up two classes to 125 pounds and lost to a St. Charles wrestler.
“He actually wrestled a lot of matches at 119 and every once in a while we’d bump him up to 125 to really give him some good competition,” Reiber said. “He was definitely outweighed by quite a bit when he took his only loss this year. But he takes it in stride. He actually invites the challenge.”
Along with being the consummate competitor, Rodriguez has everything else going for him, said Reiber.
“He has that fierce drive and he’s always in great shape,” Reiber said. “He always pays attention to detail and he’s very open-minded. He’s willing to learn from any of the coaches. He’s not stubborn or sort of a self-absorbed kid.”
Rodriguez said his most improved area this season was his footwork.
“I was tougher and more mentally ready to wrestle,” he added.
Rodriguez went 44-4 both as a sophomore and junior and 48-6 as a freshman.
He will continue his wrestling career at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, an NCAA Division II school. He will be majoring in education.
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
Jordan Rodriguez, Chesaning
Rodriguez, a senior, became the first Chesaning wrestler to win a state title in 15 years. He defeated Hunter Keller of Richmond 7-1 in the 112-pound, Division 3 finals. Rodriguez, who had 177 victories in his high school career, also won district and regional titles. The Indians’ last wrestler to top the podium was Josh Brettrager in 2005 at 171 pounds.
103: Daven Lockwood, New Lothrop
Lockwood placed fifth in the state in Division 4 while faring 33-15 as a freshman. He was second at districts and third at regionals.
112: D’Angelo Campos, Corunna
Campos, a sophomore, finished 29-9 and was a state qualifier. He placed fourth at districts and third at the regionals, pinning Durand’s Ty Fielder along the way.
119: Zack Hall, Byron
Hall, a junior, placed second in the state at 119 pounds in Division 4. He finished 50-5 while falling 9-4 to Ben Modert of Bronson in the state title bout. Hall won district and regional crowns.
125: Andrew Krupp, New Lothrop
Krupp placed second in the state as a junior. He finished 39-11, losing 6-2 to Jaron Johnson of Carson City-Crystal in the Division 4 state title match. He was a district champion and regional runner-up.
130: Brock Holek, Durand
Holek won district and regional titles and took an undefeated record into the D3 state title match at 130. He fell just short, losing 5-3 to Austin Fietz of Dundee. Holek finished the year 45-1.
135: Logan Wolford, New Lothrop
Wolford went 38-9 en route to an eighth-place state finish. The senior won a district championship and placed second at the D-4 regionals.
140: Xavier Anderson, Corunna
Anderson, a freshman, finished 41-12 and placed eighth in the state. He competed at both 140 and 145 pounds during the season and 145 in the postseason, where he placed third at districts and regionals.
145: Ty Anderson, Corunna
The senior was 42-7 and placed second at district and regionals. He ended his high school career with a fifth-place showing at the state finals.
152: Bryce Cheney, New Lothrop
The junior finished second in the state in Division 4. Cheney (33-4) lost 5-1 in the state title bout to Thomas Potter of Springport. He won district and regional championships.
160: Colton Blaha, Owosso
Blaha went 54-2 as a senior, finishing second in the state in Division 2. He fell 2-1 to Caleb Fish of Eaton Rapids in the state title match. Blaha won district and regional titles.
171: Trenton Hurst, O-E
Hurst, a senior, finished the season with 30 wins to go along with a second place finish at districts and a regional berth.
189: Justin Carnahan, New Lothrop
Carnahan went 46-2 and placed second in the state as a senior. Carnahan won district and regional crowns before falling 6-4 to Logan Badge of Clinton in the state championship bout.
215: Cam Orr, New Lothrop
Orr, a junior, won the Division 4 state title at 215 pounds. He pinned Shane Osantowski of Ubly in 4:40. Orr was the only area wrestler besides Rodriguez to take home district, regional and state titles. Orr finished 44-3 this winter.
285: Isiah Pasik, New Lothrop
Pasik took third at the state tournament following a tough loss to the eventual champion in his weight class. Pasik went 43-3 as a sophomore, winning district and regional titles.
103: Mason Spiess, Ovid-Elsie
Spiess was among the Marauders’ best this year, racking up 37 wins. The senior was a district and regional runner-up and qualified for the state finals.
112: Ty Fielder, Durand
The freshman finished 26-7 and was a regional qualifier. He placed third at individual districts with a pin over Campos.
119: Max Spiess, O-E
Spiess finished 30-9. The sophomore fell on a decision in the blood round of districts.
125: Colby Shettler, Byron
The junior was a state qualifier in D4 after placing third at regionals, finishing strong with a pair of pins. He was 22-16 on the season.
130: Alex Wolford, New Lothrop
The Hornet sophomore finished fourth in the state and posted a 33-10 record.
135: Aden Baynes, Laingsburg
The Wolfpack freshman fared 26-15, placing second at districts and going 1-2 at regionals.
140: Jackson Knieper, New Lothrop
Knieper fared 26-16, placing third at districts via a pin. He went 1-2 at the regionals.
145: Harry Helmick,
Helmick was a state qualifier for the Hornets, finishing 26-16. He was a district champion and placed fourth at regionals.
152: Kristian Keyes, Owosso
The senior went 28-13 for the Trojans.
160: Austin Barnette, New Lothrop
Barnette finished eighth at the state finals. The senior posted a 37-7 mark, winning a district crown and his first regional title.
171: Kody Krupp, New Lothrop
Krupp, a junior, fared 21-12, placing second at districts and qualifying for regionals.
189: Hunter Spaulding, Durand
Spaulding, a junior, placed third at the D-3 districts. The regional qualifier finished 27-7.
215: Cole Staton, Byron
Staton placed third at regionals and qualified for the state finals. He finished 31-12 as a junior.
285: Matthew Johnson, Byron
The Byron sophomore was a state qualifier and went 36-17. He was third at districts and placed fourth at regionals.
Joey Devaras, Owosso, Sr. 40-10; Connor Thompson, Durand, 24-13; Caleb Sharp, New Lothrop, Fr. 19-20; Jacob Orweller, Perry, Jr., 30-11; Gavyn Perry, Ovid-Elsie, Soph., 27-15; Gabe Fielder, Durand, Sr., 23-6; Coleton Towsley-Wagner, Ovid-Elsie, Jr., 20-13; Logan Palacios, Chesaning, Soph., 19-17; Leka Dinaj, Durand, Jr., 22-18; Matt Weiss, Corunna, Sr., 32-16; Will Taylor, New Lothrop, Jr., 17-7; Andrew McConnell, Perry, Jr., 25-15; Dominic Patterson, Owosso, Sr., 37-15.