State placer Nik Andaverde, left, of Mendon competes in the MHSAA Division 4 individual state finals last March at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Commercial-News/Scott HassingerOn the big stage Mendon’s Wyatt Cool competes in the 2016 individual state wrestling finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Commercial-News/Scott Hassinger

Mendon grapplers have lofty goals

State placers Andaverde, Cool return for Hornets
“Those two guys will be difficult to replace, but with our incoming class we look to fill in and continue our success,” Mendon’s coach said.

MENDON — Caleb Stephenson likes the effort his Mendon wrestling team has shown so far in the early week of the 2016-17 season.
Stephenson, a varsity assistant for Mendon the past four years, takes over as head coach for his father Art Stephenson.
Art Stephenson, however, remains involved with the program as an assistant coach.
Several key grapplers return for Mendon, which finished 10-10 in dual meets last season and finished third in the BCS Conference.
Mendon graduated two-time state placer Jonah Grimm who had 150 career wins, along with Ty Cool.
“Those two guys will be difficult to replace, but with our incoming class we look to fill in and continue our success,” Mendon’s coach said.
Among the top returning letter winners for Mendon is junior Nik Andaverde (112), who placed third as a sophomore at the Division 4 individual state finals.
Andaverde (14-1) is currently ranked No. 4 in the state in his weight class by MichiganGrappler.com.
Junior Wyatt Cool (14-2) returns after finishing sixth at the individual state finals his sophomore year.
Cool (160, 171) is currently ranked No. 2 in the state for his weight class by MichiganGrappler.com.
Also returning are seniors Austin Goertler (130) and Austin Samson (171, 189), juniors Kaden Frye (145), Layne Peterson (152), Tyler Monroe (140) and Mikki Feister (189, 215) along with sophomores Logan Hunter (119), Kody Drewer (130), Lincoln Crotser (135), Sam Cleveland (140), Justin Mathews (160) and Zach Duchene (285).
Mendon’s coach has been impressed with his group of newcomers, especially the freshman class.
Top newcomers include sophomores Baptiste Halipre, Lindsey Laden, Jasmine Mathis and Chris Rios (135), along with freshmen Emmett Bingaman (215), AJ Butler, Skyler Crespo (125), Wyatt Diekman (119), Payton Friel, Austin Rensi and Ray Robinson.
Drewer and Feister are both 9-7 so far this season. Frye sports a record of 13-3. Rios is 6-2, Hunter has a 6-4 mark. Goertler is 5-4 and Samson is 6-6.
“This year’s incoming class of freshmen is by far among one of the best that we have ever had in our program. We are fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of a number of kids that have national exposure, which we are hoping translates well to the high school schedule,” Caleb Stephenson said.
“The biggest adjustment for many of our freshmen is going to be the adjustment to the period length and weight management for weigh ins, which is now going to be two days per week for them, but we are confident in their abilities to adjust and translate their success to the varsity.”
Crespo has raised some eyebrows already with a 16-0 record and is currently ranked No. 4 in the state for his weight class by MichiganGrappler.com.
Mendon’s head coach has looked to Diekman (9-7), Bingaman (11-3), Crespo and Rensi to help fill the lineup and make an immediate impact.

See Saturday's Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.

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