By Jason Wesseldyk
DETROIT—When she stepped onto the mat for her first match at the Division 2 girls individual wrestling state finals on Friday, March 3, Plainwell freshman sensation Madison Nieuwenhuis couldn’t help but feel some butterflies in her stomach.
“It was definitely nerve-racking,” Nieuwenhuis told the MHSAA. “Seeing all the people just right there watching you and you’re in the middle of the mat. It was definitely nerve-racking.”
Nieuwenhuis did a great job of hiding that nervousness, as she won all four of her matches during the two-day tournament, culminating with a 4-3 decision over Mt. Pleasant’s Mackenzie Burger in the final of the 100-pound weight class on Saturday, March 4.
Nieuwenhuis’ state championship put an exclamation mark on an outstanding weekend of wrestling for Plainwell that saw four Trojans earn All-State honors.
Avery Lynch placed third in the girls 110-pound weight class, while Trammel Robinson was third in the boys 165-pound weight class and Adin Young was sixth in the boys 285-pound weight class.
This marked the most All-State performances Plainwell has had in a single season.
Nieuwenhuis, who was coming back from a foot injury she suffered in practice a few weeks earlier, dominated her first two matches, winning both via first-period pin. In the semifinals, she picked up the 5-2 decision over Stevenson’s Kennedy Perez.
Robinson won his first match before dropping his second Harper Creek’s Nick Martinez. He then reeled off four straight victories, including a 10-5 decision over Martinez in the third-place match.
Austin Gyorkos (126 pounds) and Steele Madison (132 pounds) also competed for Plainwell.