KALAMAZOO — Whitehall’s journey ended one step away from competing in the MHSAA Division 3 state championship match with a 41-24 loss to Goodrich in the semifinals at the Wings Event Center.

Goodrich has made the trip to the state finals five of the last seven years. It’s last state titles came in 2008 and 2009, but the Martians finished second in Division 2 in 2019 and 2021.  

The Vikings had made it to the team finals in six of the last seven years, but all of those came in Division 3. This was their first foray in Division 2.  

“I was really proud of our kids,” said Whitehall coach Justin Zeerip. “We had a great season. It was a great group of kids. We have some young guys who are ready to step in for the (graduating seniors).  

“We had some good freshmen, and some sophomores really got better for us. Overall, I just thought our kids showed improvement throughout the year.  

“Goodrich has a good team. I tip my cap to them. We gave our all, but things just didn’t go our way.”  

The Martians led, 6-0 before Aiden Weiler scored an 8-4 decision over Nolan Weber at 135 pounds for the Vikings’ first three points of the match.  

But then the wheels started to wobble a bit for the Vikings, as they as they lost the next five matches to fall into a 26-3 hole that they struggled to dig out of.  

Nicholas Blanchard finally ended the Martians’ run when he pinned Chance Carlson in 59 seconds at 189 pounds.  

It began a run of three consecutive wins for the Vikings.  

Shane Cook won the 215 match with a pin in 4:28 over James Mahon, and Ira Jenkins pinned Landon Purdue in just 17 seconds at 285.  

That brought the Vikings within five points of the Martians, 26-21.  

But the string was snapped at 103 pounds when Jaden Davis pinned Nolan Taranko in 1:55 to make it 32-21. Ethan Garza defeated Dylan Osborn at 112, 8-1, to drive the score up to 35-21 with only two matches left.  

Whitehall scored its final points at 119 when Ryne Christensen registered a major decision, 16-3 over Kendra Vickory.  T

The Vikings finish the year 27-1, and graduate seven or eight seniors.  

Lowell (23-3) crushed Gaylord (28-1), 50-6 in the other semifinal, and then defeated Goodrich (31-3) in the final, 46-16 later Saturday and won its ninth straight state title.