Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
DETROIT – All the battles and adversity finally paid off for Andrew Quinn.
He took his lumps from three older brothers. He was toughened by top-notch opponents such as Whitehall two-time state champion Ira Jenkins.
On Saturday, it was Quinn’s turn to shine. The Mason County Central senior 285-pounder knocked off top-seeded, defending state champ Isiah Pasik of New Lothrop, winning by pin at the 3:23 mark for the Division 4 title at Ford Field.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Quinn, but the affable and emotional Spartan seized the moment. He’s the fifth state wrestling champion in Mason County Central history.
“I was ranked second at 215 coming into it and decided to go heavyweight,” Quinn said. “Came in being ranked fourth and I ended up getting the third seed, taking the two seed in the semis and then taking the defending champ in the finals. It just, it feels great.”
Quinn closes his high school wrestling career as a three-time all-staters, having placed third at 215 pounds last season and sixth at 189 as a sophomore.
Quinn sported a 51-1 record this season with the lone defeat coming against Jenkins in a West Michigan Conference quad earlier this season. Moments before Quinn scored a fall of Pasik (46-1), Jenkins wrapped up his second straight unbeaten season three mats over.
“I mean, Ira is the strongest, fastest, most athletic kid I’ve ever wrestled,” Quinn said. “Being the same age, we’ve wrestled each other my entire life and he’s kicked the crap out of me almost every single time. The year before, same thing happened.
“Pasik, the guy I just beat, was ranked behind (Jenkins) in the Power 15 and just the difference between him and the next guy is crazy. He’s just a crazy-good wrestler.”
Quinn weighs around 240 pounds. He was down in the 225-230 range and debated on cutting to wrestle at 215, but he decided to go heavyweight.
Mason County Central coach Kendel Trim said that Quinn possesses very good mat awareness. Trim said Quinn caught Pasik in a scramble, and Quinn made Pasik pay for it.
Trim noted that Quinn moves better than most heavyweights. He’s not as big and strong as some, but he makes up for it. In Friday’s semifinals, Quinn defeated second-seeded Eathen Westfall of Reading, 5-3.
“At 240, he’s agile, he’s fast and he’s wrestled at lower weights, so he’s better at those scramble situations,” Trim said. “Being a guy who came from 152 his freshman year and then coming up to wrestle these heavyweights, he’s got wrestling experience that they haven’t been in.”
Part of that is the competition that Quinn has faced. He was able to win district, regional and state titles this season, but the district and regional prizes were tough to muster in the past because of a tough draw.
Quinn said as ironic as it sounds, he has three state medals and just one district title and one regional championship.
“It feels good to be on top,” he said. “ … I’ve had really hard regions and districts my whole high school career and it feels good to bring home all three posters in one year.”
Quinn said he could not have won the state title had it not been for older brothers Josh, Matt and Zach always pushing him inside the wrestling room and outside of it.
In a tear-filled interview mat-side following his victory over Pasik, Quinn showed much gratitude for those who have helped him achieve such a lofty goal.
“The other thing is, part of that is he has always wrestled great here,” Trim said. “He has always wrestled way better at the state tournament than any other place. And if you’re going to pick a place to wrestle good, this would be it.
“I think just that competitive nature – competition with his brothers and his family. Also, he has a real good ability to relax and wrestle and just kind of let himself go. He feels the pressure like everybody else, but when it comes time to get on the mat, he’s able to let that go and just wrestle.”
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