Grab a leg - Three Rivers’ 130–pound wrestler Chris Morrill grabs the leg of Plainwell’s James Seaver in their wrestling match at Vicksburg on Wednesday.  Commercial-News/Scott HassingerWrestling talent - Three Rivers junior 130-pound wrestling standout Chris Morrill, middle, displays a sign Wednesday night honoring him for reaching 100 career victories. With Morrill are Three Rivers varsity wrestling coach Pete Bachinski, left, and older brother and assistant coach Matt Morrill. Commercial-News/Scott Hassinger

Three Rivers grappler has lofty goals after reaching 100 wins

Moore nearing career milestone

THREE RIVERS — High school wrestling heats up as the regular season winds down as area teams prepare for conference tournament, district, regional and state competition.
The potential exists for local grapplers to harvest a big crop of hardware, milestones and personal goals before the season officially ends.
Invitationals are on tap for many area teams this weekend in preparation for conference championships Saturday, Feb. 4.
Three Rivers competes at the Portage Central Invite Saturday.
Team districts for Divisions 2 and 4 are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8 and Divisions 1 and 3 on Thursday, Feb. 9.
Winners advance to team regionals on Wednesday, Feb. 15 with the team finals on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25.
Individual districts are set for Saturday, Feb. 11 followed by individual regionals, Feb. 18 and individual state Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4.
With a bulk of its team being underclassmen, 22 freshmen and sophomores, Three Rivers has had to endure a rebuilding year of sorts.
The Wildcats haven’t been without their standouts, though, as juniors Chris Morrill at 130 pounds and Tyler Moore (215) are making a strong bid to claim conference, district, regional and state honors.
Morrill is 26-1 on the season and surpassed the 100-win plateau for his career when he pinned James Seaver in 1:05 in Wednesday’s Wolverine Conference Quad at Vicksburg.
For his career, Morrill is 101-18.
Morrill is the younger brother of former Three Rivers all-stater Matt Morrill, now one of the Wildcats’ assistant coaches.
Matt is Three Rivers’ school record holder for career victories with a mark of 203-32. In his senior year, Matt was the Division 3 state-runners-up finisher at 125 pounds. He eclipsed the previous career-win mark of Wildcat state champion Ryan Lucas, who finished 201-14 for his career.
Three Rivers wrestling coach Pete Bachinski, who also coached Matt Morrill, sees nothing but improvement on the horizon for Chris.
“Chris is very driven. He comes from a wrestling family and he knows what he has to do in order to obtain his goals and he has worked extremely hard this season to reach them,” Bachinski said.
“Reaching 100 wins was his first goal and the other goals are coming up here in the next three weeks at conference, district and regionals. He wants to make it to that state meet and be a state placer his junior year. He’s getting to the level where he needs to be to attain everything he’s shooting for.”
Morrill’s only defeat this season came on a 2-0 decision against Angel Perez of Allendale in the Allendale Falcons’ Invitational earlier this month.
New guidelines passed a few years ago by the Michigan High School Athletic Association has cut down on the number of matches member schools can compete in during the regular season.
That itself is a main factor keeping Chris from having an opportunity to duplicate Matt’s victory total. But his long-range goals are similar to those reached by his older brother.
 “Hopefully I can reach 150 wins by the end of my senior year. That match earlier this season to him (Perez) was a close match that I shouldn’t have lost. That guy started the year out at 135, but dropped down,” Chris Morrill said.
“This year my goal is to finally make it to state. I’ve come up short two years in a row by only one match.”
Currently Chris Morrill is ranked No. 6 in his weight class in Division 2 by michigangrappler.com.

Please see Saturday’s Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.

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