February 25, 2010 —
The Hudson Tiger wrestling team is headed back to Battle Creek to defend its team state championship on Friday at Kellogg Arena. The Tigers took care of two teams at Manchester to win the division 4 team regional last Wednesday. Hudson beat Manchester 41-13 in the semifinal round and then took care of LCAA rival Blissfield 61-18 to earn the repeat trip to Battle Creek. This was the third straight regional title for the Tigers who will look to win back-to-back state titles on Saturday afternoon.
Hudson won the team state championship with a thrilling 31-23 win in 2009 over the Hesperia Panthers the defending state champion heading into last year’s state meet. This winter the Tigers will look to defend its crown won last March 7th when the Tigers edged the Panthers. Both teams first must get to the final match by winning two meets in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. Hudson will open up against Martin, while Hesperia will take on Marlette.
Hudson and Hesperia are even overall at 1-1 with the Panthers winning 36-28 in the 2008 quarterfinal bout. That win led to the Panthers taking the 2008 team state title. This year the two teams have met once at the Ithaca Invitational with Hudson taking first and Hesperia second. According to the state rankings the Tigers are first and Hesperia second and both were seeded that way by the MHSAA for the division 4 final. If all goes as planned these two rivals will meet at 4:00 on Saturday afternoon just like last March. “Everyone knows Hudson is in the driver’s seat to win the state title,” said Hesperia head coach Doug Baird. “They have talent all through the lineup. I think every team there knows they are chasing Hudson. It would take some bad luck for them to not win it all. We are just happy to be in the final eight and we have to take it one meet at a time and we have two matches to win before we even worry about Hudson.”
Don’t let the Hesperia coach fool you as his team is loaded also. They have four regional champions to six for Hudson. However, they are sending 11 wrestlers on to the individual state finals, while Hudson has just ten. Let’s hope for a Hudson-Hesperia rematch in the finals and let’s hope for the same result as last year with Hudson winning its second straight state crown. Go Tigers!