AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Bedford saved the best for last at the Michigan Division 1 individual state wrestling championships.
In the final match of the evening, Brandon Sunday scored an escape in sudden death overtime as he forged a 5-4 victory over Westland John Glenn’s Jordan Brandon to claim the 215-pound championship on Saturday before some 8,000 spectators at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The victory brought a happy ending for the Kicking Mules, who had four wrestlers earn medals.
Defending state champ Mitch Rogaliner settled for second in the 119-pound class, Mitch Pawlik finished third at 125, and Adam Ortman was fifth at 215.
In Division 4, Erie Mason’s Logan Griffin captured the 112-pound state title, defeating Carson City Crystal’s Kenneth Dittenber 5-4 in overtime while Blissfield heavyweight Dylan Thompson finished in fourth after a 5-2 loss to Jacob Lonergan of St. Louis.
This was the third meeting between Sunday and Brandon.
“That was amazing,” said Sunday of his dramatic triumph. “I’ve wrestled that kid at two regionals and it was close every single time. Definitely, he is my toughest opponent. He’s a junior and wrestles like he’s in college.”
Sunday trailed 3-2 in the third period but tied it up seconds before regulation ended. He fought off Brandon’s attacks throughout overtime before managing his escape, wrapping up a solid tournament run.
“This was the most exciting thing easily in my life,” Sunday said. “I used that mental mindset.”
After a pair of state titles and three straight finals appearances, Rogaliner (48-3) reached the state finals for the fourth straight season. The senior couldn’t close the deal as he fell 6-3 to Holt’s unbeaten Shayne Wireman (49-0).
Wireman was a familiar opponent with Rogaliner last beating him in last year’s semifinals.
This time, though, Wireman scored the first points and Rogaliner never recovered. Down 4-2 in the third period, he went for a takedown in the last 40 seconds, but Wireman countered with a takedown of his own.
“He just got his shots, and I couldn’t get mine,” Rogaliner said.
Pawlik ended his high school career with a third-place finish after pinning West Bloomfield’s Ross Bahro at 1:34 of their match, and Ortman, a junior, managed a fifth-place finish after beating Milford’s Noah Hosking 8-4.
Rogaliner opened the tournament with a 12-2 major decision over Grand Blanc’s Nathaniel Flemming.
Ortman pinned Pinckney’s Zach Sieler in 5:24 of their opening-round match, and Pawlik earned a 9-2 decision over Chippewa Valley’s Jack Mulligan.
Sunday needed only 1:11 to pin Stoney Creek’s Austin Denha in their 215-pound opener.
“All year it’s been my goal to make it here … to be a state champ,” Sunday said. “My third place finish last year was in the back of my head all season. I feel I can take on anybody right now.”
Bedford’s David Lijewski (171) lost a first-round match to Grand Haven’s Connor Moynihan and Codie Bettencourt (189) fell 7-4 to Tay Pendleton of Flint Carman Ainsworth.