Wrestlers brace for state tournament run
MATTAWAN — With the postseason officially arriving, area wrestlers must dial it up a notch in hopes of extending their seasons.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s state tournament begins this week with district team and individual competition.
In Division 2 team districts, Three Rivers faces host Mattawan today at 5:30 p.m. The winner meets Vicksburg in the championship match.
Three Rivers’ two big guns are juniors Chris Morrill at 130 pounds and Tyler Moore at 215.
Morrill, who is ranked No. 9 in the state by michigangrappler.com, recently surpassed the 100-career win plateau and captured a Wolverine Conference title this past week.
Moore, also a conference champion at his respective weight, currently has 99 career wins and is ranked No. 7 in the state. He more than likely should reach the 100-win milestone in today’s meet.
Mendon battles host Bronson in a Division 4 district opener today at 6 p.m. The other first-round matchup pits White Pigeon against Colon-Burr Oak on an adjacent match.
In another Division 4 district at Marcellus, Lawton tangles with Decatur and Schoolcraft meets the host school. Both matches begin at 6 p.m.
Constantine competes in the Division 3 district tournament at Dowagiac on Thursday.
Buchanan and Constantine square off at 5:30 p.m. and Dowagiac faces the winner in the finals.
The Falcons, who are co-coached by Mike Baker and Dale Davidhizar, have battled injuries throughout the season but are ready to go as the postseason rolls around.
The Falcons are 14-13 this season in dual meets.
Sophomore Devyn Begley is 38-6 at 103 for Constantine.
Other notable records for the Falcons include Noah Harrison (19-9, 119), Zach Harrison (29-9, 130), Corey Anthony (35-11, 135), Roy Solis (30-14, 140) and Matt Morey (25-15, 189).
All team district finals matches begin approximately 20 minutes after completion of semifinal matches.
District winners advance to team regionals on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
Mendon brings a dual-meet record of 17-5 into its matchup with Bronson. Four of the Hornets’ five losses came in the last match of the meet and all were to Division 1 or Division 2 schools.
“Our team district and region are without a doubt the toughest in the state, but that’s the way we prefer it. If we are going to make a run we want it to be legitimate,” said Mendon coach Caleb Stephenson.
The first time the two teams met in the BCS League season it was Mendon defeating Bronson 36-33 and it came down to the final match of the night before it was decided.
“Last time was an absolute barnburner. It will be a bit tougher this time as they (Bronson) has their heavyweight back in the lineup,” Stephenson said.
“I think we match up well with them, extremely well. Everything is going to have to go our way and if it does we will have to wrestle a very tough White Pigeon team who also beat Bronson in a dual earlier this season.”
Mendon finished No. 8 and Bronson No. 9 in the final regular-season rankings.
The Hornets’ top wrestler is junior Nik Andaverde who is ranked No. 6 individually, while teammate Wyatt Cool is top-ranked for Mendon in the 160-pound weight class. Hornets’ freshman Skyler Crespo is ranked No. 7 at 125 pounds.
White Pigeon’s Kyle Black, a returning state placer, is ranked No. 2 at 125. Teammate Nate Weber is No. 5 at 135 and senior Hunter Rummler is rated No. 6 at 171 for the Chiefs.
Schoolcraft’s Spencer Fox is ranked No. 2 at 130 and teammate Ethan Sharp is No. 5 at 152.
The MHSAA team finals will be held on Feb. 24-25 at Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant on the Central Michigan University campus.
Individual districts are on tap for Saturday with Three Rivers hosting a Division 2 district and Constantine housing a Division 3 district. Mendon, White Pigeon, Schoolcraft and Colon/Burr Oak will be at the Division 4 district at Cassopolis.
The top four place finishes in each of the 14 weight classes advance to individual regionals on Feb. 18 and the individual finals are scheduled for March 2-4 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or email@example.com.