NEW LOTHROP — For Justin Carnahan, every year of his high school career has been about his growth and improvement as a wrestler.
“My freshmen year I placed fifth in the state and went 25-18,” the New Lothrop senior said. “Sophomore year, I went 40-6 and was a state runner up and then my junior year I was 36-5.”
That junior season also included some adversity. Carnahan suffered a setback in the thick of the postseason.
“I got hurt at regionals so I couldn’t wrestle at state,” Carnahan said. “It sucked but you know I wrestled all summer and the injury definitely drove me and still drives me to get better.”
This season has proven to be a bounce- back year for Carnahan as he has put together an impressive, undefeated 36-0 season heading into Saturday’s individual district tournament at New Lothrop High School.
“I knew that I had the potential to be undefeated. I knew I had it in me. But it wasn’t a goal of mine coming into the season,” Carnahan said.
Carnahan has not only upped his performances but also has bumped up in weight class nearly every year he’s wrestled at the high school level.
“My freshmen year I was 140 before going up to 171 for my sophomore and junior year,” said Carnahan. “There was a lot of challenges with going up because the lighter weights wrestle so much different from the heavier ones. So I had to adapt to that but credit to my coaches for helping me with that. They all put a lot of work in showing me how to wrestle big guys and the moves that would work on those heavier weights.”
This season he has made yet another weight class jump — this time to 189.
Carnahan’s main focus is on getting back to where he couldn’t be last year.
“My main goal is to go to the title,” Carnahan said. “I didn’t get to do it last year so I’m going to do it this year.”
Here are some area individual wrestlers to watch out for during Saturday’s individual district tournaments. A top four finish will qualify wrestlers into next weekend’s individual regionals:
Zack Hall, So., 119
On the season, Hall has crafted a 41-4 record. Last year he finished seventh in the state at 112 pounds. Hall is currently ranked No.3 by MichiganGrappler.com.
Cole Staton, Jr., 215
Staton stands 27-12 and is currently ranked No.12 by MichiganGrappler.com
Matt Johnson, So., 285
Johnson boasts a record of 30-13 and is currently ranked No.9 by MichiganGrappler.com.
Brock Holek, Sr., 135
Holek is a perfect 36-0 heading into individual district competition.
Hunter Spaulding, Jr, 189
Spaulding sports a 27-7 record entering the individual districts.
Mason Spiess, Sr., 103
Spiess enters individual district action with a 28-5 record. Spiess was a regional qualifier last year and is projected to make a run at states this postseason.
Max Spiess, So., 119
Spiess goes into individual district competition with a 27-7 record. Speiss has defeated four of six ranked wrestlers (in his weight) in the district pool this season.
Trenton Hurst, Sr., 171
Hurst goes into individual district play with a 23-11 record. According to coach Kyle Spiess ,Hurst has the potential to be a state qualifier.
Ty Anderson, Sr., 145
So far, Anderson stands 34-3. He finished fifth in the state last season.
Xavier Anderson, Fr., 140
Anderson sports a 32-9 mark.
Matt Weiss, Sr., 160
So far this season, Weiss has fared 26-11.
Colton Blaha, Sr., 160
Blaha has crafted a 41-1 record so far. He is a three-time state qualifier and a two-time state placer. Blaha finished third in the state at 152 a year ago.
Joey Devaras, Sr., 103
Devaras has delivered a 35-5 mark so far this season.
Dominic Patterson, Sr., 285
Patterson is another Trojan to watch out for as he has crafted a 32-9 mark.
Justin Carnahan, Sr., 189
Carnahan is a perfect 36-0 heading into Saturday’s Division 4 individual districts at New Lothrop.
Isiah Pasik, So., 285
Pasik has won 30 of the 32 matches he has competed in so far this winter. He will be aiming to make a return to the individual state finals. Pasik is currently ranked No.2 in the state according to MichiganGrappler.com
Logan Wolford, Sr., 130
Wolford stands 28-5 entering the individual districts. He is a three-time state qualifier and is currently ranked No.4 in the state at 130 according to MichiganGrappler.com
Aden Baynes, Fr., 135
Heading into individual districts, Baynes stands 23-11.
Mikey Brooks, Fr., 171
Brooks has crafted a 19-2 mark so far this season. Laingsburg coach Shawn Baynes believes that Brooks and Aden Baynes have good shots at qualifying for regionals.
Jacob Orweller, Jr., 125
Heading into individual districts, Orweller is 23-6.
Andrew McConnell, Junior, 189
McConnell stands 22-10 and has been a consistent force this season.
Jordan Rodriguez, Senior, 112
Rodriguez, coming off a state runner-up finish, stands 30-1 so far this season.