Vikings after Big 16 championshipPublished 3:24pm Thursday, January 31, 2013
The No. 3-ranked Niles wrestling team will try and complete the sweep when it goes after the Big 16 Conference Tournament championship in Battle Creek Saturday.
The Vikings (28-1) already have captured the West Division championship. A win Saturday would also give them the overall Big 16 title.
“It will be a good tournament,” Niles coach Todd Hesson said. “Lakeview (Battle Creek) will have as much team depth as we do. We beat Lakeview in a dual, but it could have went either way. Their depth will be a big factor.
“Lakeshore and Portage Central have some big guns with championship potential. Not sure if we have enough overall team depth. There should be some very good individual match ups.”
Niles finished fifth at last year’s meet, which was won by Lakeview. Portage Central was second and Lakeshore third.
Niles brought home a pair of individual champions — Darek Bullock-Mills (119) and Fritzel Findeisen (152). Both are looking to defend their championships. Mills will wrestle at 125 this season, while Findeisen, who is just three wins away from Ben Brandstatter’s school record of 151, is still at 152.
Nicholas Zimmerman was second at 112, Ryan Casey was second at 189 and Casey Burandt was third at 135. Burandt remains out of the line-up after suffering a broken hand.
Several ranked wrestlers will be competing in Saturday’s tournament, including Niles’ Zimmerman (No. 6), Findeisen (No. 6), Casey (No. 4) and Derek Scott (No. 7).
One of the potential top matches of the day could be at 119 where Zimmerman could face Lakeshore’s No. 7-ranked Aaron Ward once again.
Wrestling is scheduled to begin 10 a.m. in the main gym. Tickets are $5 per person. Only league passes will be honored.
Current Niles wrestling records
103: Courtland Lamberton 24-19
112: Brenden Meek 30-12
119: Nicholas Zimmerman 33-3
125: Darek Bullock-Mills 25-7
130: Noah Hall 35-10
135: Warren Smith 33 -17
140: Kevin Reed 28-13
145: Quintin Smith N/A
152: Fritzel Findisien 39-3
160: Jerricho Lamberton 27-15
171: Sean Craig 25-19
189: Ryan Casey 40-0
215: Alex Bata 20-18
285: Derek Scott 35-7