AUBURN HILLS — Make it three in a row for Jordan Thomas and two in a row for Ken Dittenber.
The Greenville senior won his third straight individual wrestling state title Saturday at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Carson City-Crystal junior won his second straight individual state wrestling title.
Lakeview’s Jordan Betham also was a state title winner, getting his first championship.
Thomas won the Division 2 189-pound title after beating another defending state champion, Cornell-bound Gabe Dean of Lowell, 5-1 in the final. He finished the season 48-0, including two wins over Dean.
“This one I think was my favorite because I had to overcome a lot this year,” Thomas said, noting the injuries he suffered. “I thought I had the toughest competition throughout the year.”
That included Dean and the person he beat last year in the 171-pound final, Shawn Scott of Holly.
“Looking at the kids on my chart it looked like it was going to be the toughest weight class,” he said.
Thomas said there was no single memory of his wrestling career that stood out to him.
“There’s so many, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one,” he said. “Wrestling is my life, so most of my best memories have been in wrestling. I’m leaving some of my best memories to go to Ann Arbor.”
Thomas will wrestle for the University of Michigan next winter.
Dittenber won the Division 4 103-pound title when he pinned Austin Felt of Shelby in 2:56. He was one of two wrestlers in the 103-pound division in Division 4 who had two pins in his finals appearances.
Dittenber, who ended the season 54-2, didn’t think this year’s title was any different than winning the same title last year.
“I felt like I was a better wrestler this year than last year,” he said.
One way he improved himself was adding strength, Dittenber said.
“I lifted weights over the summer and just attacked more,” he said.
Dittenber hopes to make it three straight in his senior season next year.
“I want to go out a three-time state champ,” he said.
But he’s not sure if he’s going to stay at 103 pounds or move up to 112.
“It depends on how much I weigh next year,” he said.
Betham won the 152-pound class in Division 3 with a 14-6 major decision over Todd Olson of Dundee. He finished the season 56-2.
“It feels pretty good. I’m still pretty pumped about it,” Betham said of winning a state title.
Betham knew he had a chance after beating Caleb Slavik of Birch Run 5-2 in the semifinals.
“After getting through him (Slavik), I thought I had a chance,” he said. “Todd Olsen is pretty good, but we thought we had a pretty good chance of beating him.”
This season Betham set the school record for technical falls. He had 16 for the season and 23 for his career. Both topped the record of 14 and seen by Kyle Lund in 2008.