MCC’s Shoop caps senior wrestling season with a state championship win.

March 7, 2017
Jacob with his parents John and Teresa.

Jacob with his parents John and Teresa.

MCC’s Shoop caps senior wrestling season with a state championship win.

#MasonCountyCentral.

By George C. Wilson, MCP special writer.

AUBORN HILLS — Mason County Central Spartans sent three seniors to the 2017 Michigan High School Atheltic Association State Individual Wrestling tournament at the Palace of Auburn Hills last weekend.  Coach Jim Allen’s wrestlers had a very successful trip with all three Spartans earning medals, including a state championship by Jacob Shoop.  Coach Allen praised their season-long work ethic as it paid off in a big way at the tournament.

“I met with the boys early in the season and discussed with them that we might raise our overall number of wrestlers participating if we scaled back our intensity in practice and made it easier,” Allen explained.  He then smiled and said his senior 152 pound returning state medalist Jacob Shoop asked, “’Why would we want to do that?’” 

Why indeed.

Shoop lead teammates Matt Quinn and Jon Zoscsak down to Auburn Hills to send a message.  The Spartans had worked hard, and they were ready to medal. 

DSC_0064Matt Quinn finished his season with a fourth place medal wrestling in 215 pounds weight class.  Quinn came to the tournament with a record of 51-2.  He lost a second round match to a wrestler from state Division 3 team champion Richmond. As Quinn wrestled back through the consolation rounds, he dominated opponents with his ability to move explosively from the down position.  Possessing a nearly unstoppable switch, Quinn caught his rivals again and again with swift hips and opportunistic near falls in the transition on his dominant move.  His skills and agility belie his size, and wrestlers from other schools used to wrestling large men with lesser agility struggled as Quinn moved like a 145 pound man.   In his last match, he exploded to two quick switches and faced a 6-5 deficit in the waning seconds of the consolation final match for third place.  He again hit a switch but time ran out, and he was awarded only one point for forcing his opponent to lose control instead of a two-point reversal.  The match ended tied, and in sudden death overtime Quinn surrendered a takedown. 

Standing 6-feet, 8-inches tall and wrestling at 285 pounds, Spartan heavyweight Jon Zoscsak stood out as the tallest wrestler in the tournament.  The towering Zoscsak presented matchup troubles for opposing wrestlers.  Too tall to attack effectively on his feet, Zoscsak relied on a double under hook to set up lateral drops or to power over his much shorter opponents.  He lost a one-point decision to state runner Luke Tromp of Lake Odessa.  In the consolation rounds, he dropped a decision to third place medalist Lucas Prater of Howard City Tri County.  He wrestled his final match of his career trying to secure a fifth place medal.  Zoscsak had nearly a foot advantage over his opponent from Imlay City.  And the shorter heavyweight was completely frustrated trying to penetrate the Scottville giant’s defenses.  The final score was 10-1 as Zoscsak cruised to an easy win to cap his career.  Jon hopes to serve in the military upon graduation. He smiled after his match and stated, “I had one goal this weekend.  I wanted to put my picture on the wall at school.”  Mission accomplished.

Jacob Shoop entered the season on a mission as well.  He finished his Junior season as a third place medalist at 152 pounds.  This year, he wanted to become Mason County Central’s first individual state champion in 31 seasons.  Hard work and dedication got him to the tournament with a 51-1 season record.  He started his quest in Auburn Hills with a pin in the first round and an 8-2 decision in the quarterfinals.  His semifinal match would be against an opponent he knew well.  Fellow West Michigan Conference standout JoJo Dowdell of Whitehall.  It resulted in a hard fought 3-0 victory over the third ranked Dowdell. 

It was in the championship final that Jacob showed the crowd what a complete wrestler he is.  Shoop dismantled his opponent.  Gavin Morgan of Mt. Morris had no answer for Shoop’s balanced attack.  Shoop ran up near falls with expert use of tilts and shoulder wraps.  On his feet, Shoop was flawless in his penetration and control.  He achieved a 17-1 technical fall with 30 seconds remaining in the second period of the match, completing his season with a running leap into the arms of coach Jim Allen.

Shoop joins a select group of Spartan wrestlers.  In becoming the fourth state champion in the storied history of MCC wrestling, he combined the traits of the prior three champions.  His explosive confidence mimicked the style of Scottville’s first state champion.  Jeff Henry earned his medal in 1977, and he watched Shoop’s triumph surrounded by other Spartan faithful in a private box at the Palace.  Shoop’s seemingly effortless control of his opponents via tilts compares directly to 1979 state champion Bob Cameron’s dominant use of cradles.  And when called on to display raw power and grit, Jacob Shoop could be mistaken for 1986 champion Mike Root.  All and all, Jacob Shoop is a wrestler whose place in MCC wrestling history is well cemented. Like those who proceeded him, he is now an example for Spartan coaches who can point at his picture on the wall and say, “You want to see a champion?  There is one right there.  He didn’t take any shortcuts.  He paid his way to a medal with hard work.” 

George Wilson is a graduate of Mason County Central High School who worked for several years as a play by play sports announcer for local radio. He is also wrestling coach for Rockford Public Schools. 

Story copyrighted Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. Photographs are copyrighted and contributed. No portion of this article or its photographs may be reproduced without expressed written consent. 

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