Mitch Hrnyak is a rare breed of high school wrestler. Starting in the sport as a freshmen Hrnyak amassed 148 career wins, over ten individual tournament titles and yesterday the Forest Hills Central senior 125-pounder made an appearance on the largest stage in Michigan High School Athletics in the Division I State Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
“Mitch is one of a kind. He left no stone un-turned on his journey to become a great wrestler,” commented FHC Head Coach Brad Anderson. “It has been an honor and a privelege to coach this young man for the past four years. I hope being a state finalist as a senior will be a special memory for him.”
Hrnyak marched to the finals with an impressive string of victories. In his first round at the Palace of Auburn Hills Hrnyak bested Kevin Nguyen of Port Huron Northern with a major decision 9-1. In the quarterfinals Hrnayk got on a roll by serving-up a 19-4 technical fall against Immanuel Govantes of Farmington Hills.
“Govantes is dangerous and Mitch wrestled him smart. He didn’t give him anything and came up with a big victory in the quarterfinals,” stated FHC Assistant Coach Nick Kacher.
In the Friday night semifinal round Hrnyak would meet TJ Fagan of Detroit Catholic Central. It would pit the #3 state ranked Fagan against the #4 ranked Hrnyak in a battle royale where the winner would move onto the finals and the loser would fall into the consolation bracket.
With an exciting takedown and reversal Hrnayk would stave-off an third period attack from Fagan to earn a berth into the championship finals with a 4-3 victory.
“It was quite possibly one of the most exciting matches I’ve ever coached,” mentioned Coach Brad Anderson. “We had an idea we’d see Fagan in the semi-finals and we were ready for him. Mitch did exactly what he needed to do to get to the finals.
In the finals Saturday night Hrnyak would meet up with Alex Calandrino of Howell, the #1 ranked wrestler in the division. Calandrino who had placed 2nd, 3rd and 2nd in the last three state finals would prove to be a formidable foe. In a rematch of the regional finals, Hrnyak and Calandrino would do battle in front of a packed house Saturday evening.
Despite a mighty effort, Hrnayk would drop an 8-4 decision to the eventual champ. His runner-up finish is the best finish at the state tournament for a Ranger Wrestler since 2001.
“In the end, Mitch gave it his best shot and that’s all you can ask of anyone. Calandrino is a worthy opponent,” noted Assistant Coach Nick Kacher. “Mitch can always look back and know that he did some pretty special things with the time that he had.”
Hrnyak’s visit to the state finals caps off an impressive high school career. He was a 2x Conference Champions, 2x District Champion, Regional Runner-up, Regional Champion, Hudson Super 16 Champion, 2011 State Qualifier and 2012 Division I State Runner-up. He was also a 2x co-captain, an Eagle Scout inductee and he graduated from the J Robinson 28-Day Camp twice.
Mitch hopes to take his talents to the next level and wrestle in college.
The other Ranger wrestler that saw mat time at the Palace of Auburn Hills was sophomore sensation Parker Tillman. He finished 1-2 with a 52 second pin over Liam Curtis of Travis City West. Parker’s two losses would come at the hands of the eventual division champion, Nick Gajdzyk of Rochester Hills Stoney Creek. Tillmann would finish his sophomore campaign with a 44-9 record.
“Parker is a special athlete and we look forward to his bright future down here at the Palace. This was a great experience for him,” stated FHC Heavyweight Coach Dan Anderson.