Wrestlers Three-peat!

March 2, 2011

By Bill Mullaly

The 2011 team state championship wrestling trophy has been awarded to a team that already has two Division 4 crowns and now Hudson has won three in a row. The Tigers edged state power Hesperia 31-25 on late Saturday afternoon in the final match to claim the school’s third consecutive wrestling team title. “This is a win for the kids, the school and the community,” said Tiger head coach Scott “Scooter” Marry about the huge win at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. “We have a very good group of kids that deserve this and they get their strength from their numbers as they are all in this together. They have been working for this type of success since they were very young. Years ago we talked about things like this happening if we worked hard and stayed together. The competition was very tough this year and it took all we had but the kids stepped up and got the bonus points when they were needed.”

Marry was referring to Hudson winning five of its six matches in the finals meet by pins or technical falls. Joel Varney, Devan Marry and Grant Benschoter all recorded falls for the Tigers. Dakota Kelley and Camden McCaskey also won by technical falls and Matt Smith added a decision. Hesperia won eight of the 14 bouts but they had seven simple decisions and just one major decision. “It was a true team effort by the kids,” said coach Marry. “We got the bonus points but just as importantly we didn’t surrender any bonus points. Those kids who lost but just fell by a decision were the ones who won this match for us just like the ones who scored the points.”

Marry also had to be quite pleased from a personal note as his son, Devan, along with two nephews dominated the action all weekend. Marry at 152, Varney at 145 and Benschoter at 189 all won their three matches over the weekend by falls in all nine of their bouts. “It is always special when it involves family and relatives like it did for us and I have been working with this kids since they were nine or ten years old,” said the veteran coach, who also had a second cousin in Cole Weaver helping out. And to make it even more unique add in that Marry’s wife, Paula, had her relation in Camden McCaskey also contributing to the big win. “It’s about all of the kids and this community and our school adminstration and school board that really give us great support here at Hudson. We are very fortunate to have the support of our fans. I really feel Hudson had as large and loud of fan support as anyone at Battle Creek. Coach Marry wasn’t done assessing why his team and program has been so successful over the years. “It’s the kids, the coaching staff, our youth wrestling program, the fans and the community all supporting us and working together for this to happen.”

Hudson won its third consecutive team state title with an opening round win on Friday 57-15 over eighth seeded Iron Mountain. Then the number one seeded Tigers took on local rival and fourth seeded Manchester who fell victim to the Tigers 45-19 in the Saturday morning semifinal bout. Hesperia, seeded third, narrowly edged number two seeded New Lothrop 35-30 in the other semifinal setting up the Hudson-Hesperia rubber match in what is becoming one of the state’s top rivalries in Divison 4. Hesperia toppled Hudson 36-28 in 2008 in a quarterfinal match and the Panthers went on to win it all that March. A year later in the 2009 finals Hudson beat the Panthers 31-23 for its first of three crowns. The match last Saturday now gives Hudson the series edge at 2-1 with three state crowns to Hesperia’s one. In 2010 the two perennial powers were set to meet in the finals again but Addison pulled the upset 36-33 to face the Tigers where they fell 43-20 for Hudson’s second team title.

“I can’t thank our fans and my coaching staff enough for what we have accomplished and I have had the pleasure of working with some great wrestlers the past several years,” said Marry, who now has 603 wins in his 23-year career. “My assistant Justin Butts has done a great job and he mentioned how special this is and he quickly added that he doesn’t see it ending anytime soon, nor do I.”

Hudson ended the year 45-3 with the three losses coming to St. Johns the Division 2 champion, Oxford the Division 1 champion and Dundee the Division 3 third place team. Addison had a run of three straight team titles from 2005-07 and now Hudson has equaled the feat of its local rivals. With the nucleus of this team returning in 2012 Hudson could very well be back at Kellogg Arena battling Hesperia or perhaps New Lothrop for that fourth trophy. Until then Tiger fans can relish another championship season on the mat with the knowledge that the Tigers have one of the top teams in the entire state to be proud of. Great job “Scooter” and the boys as you have done it again and again and now again!