Buchanan’s undefeated Jeff Mucha goes for a pin against Berrien Springs in the finals of the Division 3 Team District Tournament Wednesday. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Archived Story

Bucks win title, Dowagiac falls in semifinals

Published 10:51pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BUCHANAN — Buchanan’s Matt Strozewski isn’t intimidated by facing older wrestlers.

The 15-year old Strozewski pinned Berrien Springs’ David Melendez in 3:03 at 112 pounds to clinch the Division III team district title for the Bucks. Strozewski’s win gave the Bucks a 36-18 lead and Buchanan went on to win the championship match over Berrien Springs, 48-31.

It’s the third straight team district title for Buchanan, which takes a 27-7 dual match record into next week’s team regional at Comstock High School.

“He’s just a scrappy, tough, little kid,” said Buchanan coach Frank Mucha about Strozewski. “He just doesn’t know that he shouldn’t beat that Melendez boy. (Strozewski) doesn’t know any better. He gets him and then puts him away. He’s been wrestling really well the last three to four weeks. I guess it was unexpected with the caliber of wrestler that Melendez is.”

Pins by 215-pounder Jim DeVlaminck (1:44) and 285-pounder Gage Hutchison (:49) helped the Bucks stretch their lead to 30-12.

Hutchison, who is the defending state champion at 215 pounds, improved his record to 44-0. He has won 101 straight matches.

“We just wrestle one match at a time,” Mucha said about Hutchison’s streak. “Truthfully, their were some mismatches and he knew that. He’s not out there to embarrass anybody. He’s just going to go out there and wrestle hard.”

Buchanan got off to a great start behind standout 145-pound wrestler Jeff Mucha, who pinned Johnie Boone in :56. Mucha stands at 45-0.

“He had a great day,” Frank Mucha said about his son. “He and Gage want to lead this team as far as they can in the team tournament and make a run at their own individual honors. But I think they probably would be more pleased if they could lead this team to a deep run in the team tournament.”

Buchanan also got pins from 160-pounder Alex Brown (1:18), 171-pounder Jermaine Cox (1:55) and 135-pounder Colin Wheetley (:36).

“It’s a great thing for this bunch to experience this,” Mucha said. “We’re just happy to get another one because their has been a lot of years we didn’t come out on this end of the stick. So, it’s always sweet to get a district title.”

Buchanan advanced into the finals after rolling past a combined squad from Bridgman and New Buffalo, 75-0. The Bucks got pins from 119-pounder John Johnson (1:35), 125-pounder Jarett Thomas (1:59), 130-pounder Hakeem King (3:01), 135-pounder Colin Wheetley (:39), 145-pounder Mucha (2:45), 152-pounder Patrick Wheetley (1:13), 215-pounder DeVlaminck (:59) and 285-pounder Hutchison (:47).

In the other semifinal, Dowagiac fell to Berrien Springs, 57-24.

Dowagiac’s Tristan Howard pins Berrien Springs’ Sebastian Warsop during the opening round of the Division 3 Team Districts. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

The Chieftains were at a disadvantage before the match started as Dowagiac was unable put a wrestler on the mat at 103, 112, 125, 189 and 215 pounds.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries occur at the wrong time of the season here at the end,” said Dowagiac coach Matt Alward, whose team finished at 9-17. “It’s difficult to win giving up five weight classes. On top of that, we had a lot backups in to gain experience. But the kids that were here worked hard. You saw the effort on the mat. We just lack experience. When we get the experience we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Dowagiac got pins from 285-pounder Triston Howard (1:08), 130-pounder Aubry Huston (5:00) and 135-pounder Matt Lyle (:22).

“Huston just got down to 130,” Alward said. “He’s been wrestling up most of the year. I think he’s finally found his weight class. He has a great work ethic. Matt Lyle and Triston Howard have been our mainstays. They’re hard workers and their 30-plus match winners on the season.”


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