Pine River wrestler is state champ
DETROIT -- It was a special weekend for Pine River wrestlers at the state final in Ford Field.
Pine River senior wrestler Brock Nelson finished his season at 23-0 and won the Division 4 state title at 171 pounds on Saturday.
Nelson, runner-up last season, went 4-0.
He won 3-2 in the title match over Brayden Randolph of Clinton.
"He had the lead in the first period, it was 2-0," Pine River coach Tim Jones said. "He got the third in the third period and the other boys had two. The other boy was 46-0 and No. 1 in the state. It was a big thing for Brock to knock him off."
Jones acknowledged it was an emotional moment for Nelson and the team after losing senior Tim Rizor, a state runner-up last year, who died in a car accident in November.
"He and Tim Rizor were best friends growing up together as young boys," Jones said. "Because of the early unfortunate accident that Tim had, Brock felt there were a lot of things which built Brock over time and he really wanted to win for Timmy."
In an interview for the MHSAA website, Nelson paid tribute to Rizor.
"I have been wrestling since I was a little kid, and since I was little I've dreamt of winning a state title," Nelson told the MHSAA. "This year I've had some bad things happen to me in my life. What means the most to me is I won the state title for Tim Rizor.
"He was my buddy that died in a car accident last November. He took second at state two years in a row, and I know he would have taken it this year if he had the chance. This was for him."
Nelson was the first state titleist at Pine River since Luke Jones won it in 2010.
"Jordan Koetje got 100 wins this season and Austin Westen got close to his 100th win and Brock Nelson got 180 wins and finally got the state championship," Jones said. "It all came together and was a good ending to a year where we all learned a lot about each other."