Vikings win undisputed West Division championshipPublished 11:33pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013
With a little work to do to finish off Lakeshore, Niles High School wrestling coach Todd Hesson turned to freshman Kevin Reed on Senior Night.
Reed performed like a seasoned veteran at 135 pounds as he pinned the Lancers’ Owen Beshear in 2:38 to clinch a match win Wednesday for the Vikings. Fifth-ranked (Division II) Niles beat Lakeshore, 43-28, to clinch the outright Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division title. It’s the first division title since 2007 for the Vikings, who improved to 29-1. That win total is a school-record.
“First of all, it’s good for the seniors,” said Hesson about the division title. “Back when they were freshmen they took some beatings at times. They stuck with it.
“It worked out well with the dual meet at home. We had a great crowd. I want our kids to enjoy this.”
Niles took a 43-25 with a match to go after Reed’s win. In the initial lineup, Reed or Warren Smith were set to go at 135 pounds. An injury (broken hand) to 140-145 pounder Casey Burandt has forced Hesson to juggle his lineup. Hesson hopes to have Burandt back for districts.
“We’ve done that back and forth the whole year,” Hesson said. “I told (Reed) he was going to go at 135 after we got pinned at 125 and 130. I wasn’t expecting those pins. That was disappointing.”
Reed jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first period before getting the pin.
“I was going to wrestle wherever my team needed me at,” said Reed. “It’s a team sport. I just tried my hardest and wrestled. I wanted to go out there and do what I do every single day at practice and it worked to perfection. I also listened to my coach and wrestled smart.”
Niles took the lead for good at 12-7 after getting a pin at 171 pounds from Sean Craig in 3:29. It was the second of six pins for the Vikings. Niles also got pins from Fritzel Findiesen (152, 1:00), Ryan Casey (189, 1:04), Derek Scott (285, 1:40) and Courtland Lamberton (103, :44). Casey improved to 36-0 with his win.
“The kids wrestled well,” Hesson said. “I don’t even remember the last time we beat Lakeshore (in a dual match). But they’re banged up. They’ll have a different lineup when we hopefully see them down the road.”
Niles took a 37-13 lead after getting a 6-2 win from 119-pounder Nicholas Zimmerman. Zimmerman improved to 29-3 on the season. Zimmerman got a takedown with :02 left in the match.
“Nicholas had a big win against Aaron Ward from Lakeshore,” Hesson said. “Ward is ranked. They’ve gone back and forth in matches. (Zimmerman) wrestled fairly smart.”
Hesson was asked if he expected so many pins from this team.
“I don’t know if you ever expect it,” Hesson said about the pins. “You like to count on some of them. I wasn’t expecting the number of pins that we gave up. That’s disappointing. You can’t win big duals giving up pins. Some of that is a lack of mental toughness.”
145: Gunner Harrison (L) beat Jerrico Lamberton, 10-8; 152: Fritzel Findiesen (N) pinned Shane Pierce, 1:00; 160: J.P. McDougall (L) won by major decision over Alec Franciscotty, 11-2; 171: Sean Craig (N) pinned Mike Fowler, 3:29; 189: Ryan Casey (N) pinned Jaylon Green, 1:04; 215: Sebastian Avello (L) pinned Alex Beta, 2:53; 285: Derek Scott (N) pinned Herb Ward, 1:40; 103: Courtland Lamberton (N) pinned Trey Cuellar, :44; 112: Brendon Meek (N) won by major decision over Nathan Weber, 13-5; 119: Nicholas Zimmerman (N) beat Aaron Ward, 6-2; 125: Patrick Blommel (L) pinned Darek Mills, 2:10; 130: Noah Hanau (L) pinned Noah Hall, :38; 135: Kevin Reed (N) pinned Owen Beshear, 2:38; 140: Dustin Clapp (L) beat Warren Smith, 3-1.
Records: Lakeshore 19-11, Niles 29-1.