By Steve Gunn
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – Trip Thommen vs. Gabe Zimmer? In January?

Of course Thommen and Zimmer were standout senior running backs for their respective high school football teams last fall.

Tripp Thommen

Tripp Thommen

But they both wrestle for their schools as well, and met for the first time on the mat Saturday in the 189-pound finals at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Wrestling Tournament at Orchard View High School.

Zimmer had the upper hand last fall, when his Ravenna football team beat Thommen’s Whitehall squad in a key West Michigan Conference game. But Thommen turned the tables on Saturday, beating Zimmer 5-1 in one of the more interesting matches of the championship round.

The outcome had to be considered an upset, because Zimmer was going for his third straight individual city wrestling title, while Thommen had never won a wrestling tournament before, even though he was a state qualifier last season.

“It was great to beat him,” said Thommen, who also captured his 100th career victory at the city meet. “He’s a great wrestler. It was just fun wrestling him.”

Zimmer was a great sport after the match.

“He’s a good wrestler,” Zimmer said about Thommen. “He usually wrestles at 171 but he bumped up this time to wrestle me. My teammate who wrestled him before warned me it was going to be tough.

“It’s on me. I can’t get too down. I have to move forward from here. You can’t have negative thoughts this time of the season, going into districts and regionals.”

Thommen’s victory helped Whitehall walk away with its ninth straight city team title.

Mona Shores wrestler Nick Brown grapples Reeths-Puffer's Max Briggs in the 215 semifinal weight class match. Photo/Jason Goorman

Mona Shores wrestler Nick Brown grapples Reeths-Puffer’s Max Briggs in the 215 semifinal weight class match. Photo/Jason Goorman

The Vikings finished with 250 points, Reeths-Puffer was second with 175.5, followed by Mona Shores (130.5), Fruitport (108), Montague (92), Orchard View (77), Holton (75), Ravenna (69), Muskegon (42) and Muskegon Catholic (38).

The Vikings had wrestlers in 10 of the 14 weight class finals, and captured six individual titles.

Besides Thommen, individual champions for Whitehall were Corey Robinson in the 112-pound division, Dominick Haynes (125), Reiley Brown (130), Jwan Britton (135) and Joe Dowdell (145).

Muskegon's Mateo Zuninga wraps up OV's David Hall in the 189 weight class consolation match. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegon’s Mateo Zuninga wraps up OV’s David Hall in the 189 weight class consolation match. Photo/Jason Goorman

Brown captured his third individual city title while Britton and Robinson won their second.

Dowdell won his title in an entertaining championship match with Paul Douglas of Reeths-Puffer. The match was tied 4-4 at the end of regulation, and it went three overtimes. Dowdell finally won in sudden death by escaping from the stubborn hold that Douglas had on his ankle.

Dowdell literally had to drag Douglas around the mat for at least 10-15 seconds before he managed to shed his determined opponent, get the point for the escape, and capture the title.

Placing second in their weight classes for the Vikings were Spencer Trnka (103), Roger Champion (119), Keanyn Brown (152) and Luke Morningstar (171).

“Every year, the week before the city meet, we put all the names of all the seniors up on the board from teams that have won city,” said Whitehall Coach Cliff Sandee, whose team won its third tournament of the season and is ranked in the state.

Muskegon Catholic's Jacob Schulte faces off with OV's Ignacio Rivera in the 215 weight class semifinals. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegon Catholic’s Jacob Schulte faces off with OV’s Ignacio Rivera in the 215 weight class semifinals. Photo/Jason Goorman

“These kids want to be part of something and keep this alive. Muskegon County is pretty darn good at wrestling. This is not a fluff tournament. This is a very tough tournament.

“I didn’t think we were going to win this one. I fully expect Reeths-Puffer to be at Battle Creek this year, wrestling in the team state finals. We had some kids step up huge today. We only had one senior win a city title today. Our seniors are great and got a lot of points for us, but we have a pretty young team.”

Other individual champions at the tournament were Anthony Borrego of Montague (103), Brendan Cregg of Holton (119), Hayden Cregg of Holton (145), Sam Karel of Mona Shores (152), Mike Parker of Orchard View (160), Sean McWilliams of Reeths-Puffer (171), Nick Brown of Mona Shores (215) and Kylan Sherman of Fruitport (285).

Brown outlasted Jacob Mosher of Montague in the 285-pound title match by a 1-0 score. Holton’s Hayden Cregg won his second consecutive city title.

Like Thommen, several other individual champions were also offensive standouts in football last fall – Britton, a fellow running back at Whitehall, along with Hayden Cregg, a quarterback at Holton, and Parker, a wide receiver at Orchard View.

Besides Ravenna’s Zimmer at 189, Reeths-Puffer’s Douglas at 140 and Montague’s Mosher at 285, other individuals finishing second were Sean Halverson of Mona Shores (112), Seth Dood of Orchard View (125), Jordan Whitener of Holton (130), Terel Johnson of Fruitport (135), Connor McKinnon of Reeths-Puffer (145), Peyton LaFever of Mona Shores (160) and Scott Hutson of Ravenna (215).