Varsity wrestling takes on Districts, Caden Jacobs advances to Regionals


On Feb. 9, the varsity wrestling team set its sights on Districts. This year, it took place right at the home of our Forest Hills Central Rangers. The teams present included Alpena, Caledonia, East Kentwood, FHC, Grand Haven, Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison, Mona Shores, Rockford, Traverse City Central, Traverse City West, Union, West Ottawa, and Wyoming.

Three of the Ranger wrestlers walked away with wins. Sophomore Caden Jacobs won over a Mona Shores wrestler, senior John Samsell won over Alpena with a fall with a time of 1:29, and sophomore Isaac Gurley claimed victory over his opponent from Mona Shores with a fall time of 2:00.

The biggest accomplishment of Districts was Caden claiming third place, which allowed him to advance to Regionals. Only a sophomore, Caden was the only qualifier from FHC competing in Regionals which took place on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Grand Haven. He had an outstanding season last year, and this one wasn’t any different. 

“At Regionals I’d say I had the toughest bracket in the state,” Caden said. “I was going against some studs like last year.”

Head varsity coach Brad Anderson agrees that Caden’s weight class was the most difficult in Division 1.

“Caden wrestled in, what many believe to be, the toughest weight in Division 1 in the state,” Anderson said.

Caden faced some difficult and well-matched wrestlers from other schools. His first match came against a guy who took second in the other district. The outcome of the match didn’t go in Caden’s favor, as his opponent from Brighton won. The match ended in an MD 10-0. However, Caden is proud of the effort he gave and so is coach Anderson.

“It was a close match,” Caden said. “I gave it my all, but in the end, he ended up beating me. I would like to say I held my own.”

“The kid [from Brighton] was really, really solid,” Anderson said, “and Caden wrestled him hard but came up short.”

The second and third matches were really important for Caden because it would determine if Caden would move into the blood round or not. Caden ended up winning his match against the opponent from Holt 1-0. Although the match was low-scoring, it was an exciting one. Caden moved into the blood round, which is the name wrestlers give it. The blood round is what determines if Caden would move onto the State Meet or if his wrestling season would end. The stakes were very high.

In Caden’s third match, the blood round, he was placed up against an opponent from Grandville, whom FHC has wrestled against many times, and it was ironically one of Caden’s friends. The Grandville wrestler is only a few points better than Caden, but Caden is starting to close that point gap as years go on and is starting to catch up to him. Caden was defeated and sadly it was the last match for him this season. The last match ended with a score of 8-0.

“[The loss] was a hard pill to swallow,” Anderson said. “[Caden] has improved on the guy and has pinned him in the past, so to close the gap on him was great. It just stinks that had to happen in the blood round.”

Although Caden’s season is over, he had a great season overall. He was a leader on and off of the mat and wrestled in one of the toughest weight classes.

“Caden had a good season,” sophomore teammate Isaac Gurley said. “He was definitely one of the better guys on the team. He really helped lead the team in practice and out on the mat. He had a lot of big matches against good guys.”

Caden is only in tenth grade, and he is wrestling at an intensity so great that he walked away with roughly 29 wins this season. Just making it to Regionals was a huge accomplishment.

“[Caden making it to Regionals] is awesome,” Isaac said. “There are seniors and that is really their goal, and he is already at that point.”

The match that got him to Regionals in the first place was without a doubt one of the best matches Caden has wrestled in. If he hadn’t taken third place in Districts, he never would have been able to say he made it to Regionals.

“My third-place match was a big win for me,” Caden said. “Last year, the guy I went against this year got me 15-0. This year it was more of a win for myself than it was a win on the mat. Obviously, I liked winning the match, but for me, it was bigger than that.”

Anderson believes that Caden is bound for States within his next two years of high school wrestling; he has come so far already and will continue to grow.

“I know that Caden wants to be in the State tournament,” Anderson said. “I know he wants to be on the podium in the State finals, and I definitely see that within the next two years.”