Area wrestlers headed to state finals

Evan Lamb and Caleb Pommerenke aren’t shy about what their goals are at this weekend’s individual state wrestling finals.

They want to win state titles.

The two Rogers City seniors have placed all four years of their high school careers and have won various individual honors, but state titles are the only thing that have eluded them and they’re hoping to change that as the Division 4 state finals begin today at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

“There’s only one goal I have left and that’s to win a state title,” Lamb said. “I don’t want to be stopped this time around. I’m going to wrestle every match like it’s my last because eventually one of these matches will be.”

Pommerenke (189) and Lamb (135) will be joined by Hurons’ sophomore Jake Sobeck (125) at the state finals. Mio’s Zach Mack (41-1) will wrestle at 125 pounds; Onaway’s Isaac Nave (33-11) will wrestle at 103 pounds and Onaway’s Morgan Robbins (27-10) will wrestle at 140 pounds.

Lamb, who is the son of Hurons wrestling coach Pat Lamb, finished sixth at 125 pounds as a freshman and fourth last year at 130 pounds. This year he’ll try his luck at 135 pounds and will wrestle Kent City freshman Brendon Rondenburg in the first round.

Having been to the state finals several times, Lamb, who is 49-3 on the year, knows what to expect. This season he picked up his 200th career win and just plans to wrestle hard.

“I know a lot of first-timers are star struck by the atmosphere, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Lamb said.

For Pat Lamb, the opportunity to coach his son for the last four years has been a great experience and he’s just hoping for Evan to give it his all this weekend.

“It’s been awesome,” Pat said. “I wouldn’t change a thing. Hopefully he does his best. That’s all you can ask for as a coach and a father is that he gives 100 percent.”

Pommerenke has had an interesting path to become a four-time state qualifier for the Hurons and has battled through quite a bit adversity in his high school career. Two years ago he was injured during a JV football game and experienced temporary paralysis. Last year, he passed out after inadvertently being choked during a team district wrestling match and this season he left a varsity football game on a stretcher after being injured.

“I just love to prove that anything can happen. It’s was tough, but I worked hard,” Pommerenke said. “I’ve qualified three times already, but I’ve got a bigger picture ahead of me.”

Throw in the fact that Pommerenke also had some big shoes to fill being the younger brother of two-time state heavyweight champion Devin Pommerenke and it’s easy to see why Caleb might feel some pressure this weekend.

Caleb, who is 49-3 on the year and passed 100 career wins earlier this season, will face Bronson’s Brett Oustrum in the first round. While he’s aiming for a state title, he’s also hoping to be looked at as more than Devin’s little brother.

“Those are some awfully big shoes to fill,” Caleb said of his brother. “I just hope to bring Caleb Pommerenke to the show and keep the Pommerenke name going.”

Sobeck, who has a 43-6 record, missed out on the individual finals last year, but he’s hoping to make a big impression this season in his first trip to Auburn Hills.

“I know it’s a big meet, but I have to go in and not let it get to me and do what I need to do,” Sobeck said.

Like Caleb, Sobeck also had a reputation to live up to following in the footsteps of his older brother Joe, who finished sixth in the state at 119 pounds last year. Jake said that Joe has told him to keep things simple and take it one match at a time. He will wrestle Lutheran Westland’s Zach Francis in the first round.

All three Huron grapplers have put in a lot of hard work this season and their coach is anxious to see what they can do against the state’s best.

“They all deserve to be down there. They’ve worked very hard. It’s the ultimate goal for wrestling at the individual level and I’m pretty pumped,” Pat said.