Niles out to make history WednesdayPublished 8:47pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The No. 3-ranked Niles wrestling team and Jackson Parma Western have one thing in common heading into the Division 2 Team Regional at Mattawan Wednesday.
Both teams are coming off back-to-back district championships.
While Niles was eliminating Sturgis and Edwardsburg at its district, Parma Western was defeating Battle Creek Harper Creek (66-15) and Coldwater (57-19).
At Saturday’s Division 2 Individual Regional held at Lakeshore High School, Parma Western advanced six to the regional, including champion Tanner Jewell (135). Brock Hoffman (103) and Trent Hullett (171) were runners-up.
Niles moved 11 wrestlers on to the regional, including champions Casey Burandt (145), Fritzel Findeisen (152), Ryan Casey (189) and Derek Scott (285). The Vikings also had Brendan Meek, Nicholas Zimmerman and Darek Bullock-Mills finish second.
Veteran Niles coach Todd Hesson was pleased with his team’s second straight district championship, but knew there was more work to do before he and the Vikings would be satisfied with this season.
The goal from the beginning of the year was to get to Battle Creek and compete in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 Quarterfinals at the Kellogg Arena.
“We are coming off a good individual district and the kids are ready to wrestle,” Hesson said. “I think the way the dual with Parma ended last year left a bad taste and a lot of dissapointment. The kids have been waiting to take this next step forward. It will be a tough dual with Parma as well as Lakeshore as both are well-coached teams with tough kids.
“The duals will come down to match-ups and bonus points. Hopefully we can get a good coin toss and use our depth to get the match-ups we want. As far as bonus points, as with every dual, we need to pick up some pins along the way and not give up any pins.”
Niles (31-1) and Parma Western (22-9) are no strangers to each other.
The two teams met in last year’s regional semifinal with Parma Western upsetting the Vikings 34-32.
The Vikings were leading 32-28 in the final bout of the match. Niles’ Cole Allison was leading Nathan Mcumber 6-3 when he got turned and pinned in the second period.
The match was close throughout with the two teams trading the lead back and forth four times in the final four bouts.
Niles’ last lead came when Bulluck-Mills pinned Tade Price at 119 pounds.
The Vikings return nine out of 14 wrestlers from that match.