Niles' Warren Smith tries to take down Lowell's Zac Graves during the Division 2 semifinals at the Kellogg Arena Saturday. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)
Niles' Warren Smith tries to take down Lowell's Zac Graves during the Division 2 semifinals at the Kellogg Arena Saturday. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Archived Story

Niles falls to Lowell in semifinals

Published 7:55pm Saturday, February 23, 2013

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BATTLE CREEK — A record-setting season came to an end in the Division 2 MHSAA Team Wrestling semifinals Saturday afternoon.

No. 2-ranked Lowell (19-6) ended Niles’ season with a 31-26 victory, that was not as close as the final score indicates.

The No. 3-ranked Vikings (34-2) and Lowell, which advanced to the state finals for the second straight year, split the 14 bouts. But in the end, bonus points proved to be the difference.

The Arrows picked up two pins, a technical fall and two major decisions, while Niles managed to score bonus points in just three weight classes, one of which was a forfeit to end the match.

“My middle weights and heavyweight didn’t give up pins today, and we’ve struggled with that all year,” Lowell coach Dave Dean said. “We didn’t give up that many bonus points so it was those four kids that were the difference.”

Jordan Hall pinned Kevin Reed to open the semifinals at 135 pounds.

Niles won the next three bouts, including back-to-back major decisions by Casey Burandt and Fritzel Findeisen at 145 and 152 to give the Vikings an 11-6 lead.

But Niles couldn’t keep pace with the Arrow over the next four bouts, losing all of them, including a pin by Taylor Komoely of Alex Bata at 215 pounds that gave Lowell a 23-11 advantage.

Senior Derek Scott finally stopped the streak at 285 pounds with a decision over Logan Wilcox, but it wasn’t enough.

With only five bouts left in the match, Niles needed to start scoring points in bunches.

The Arrows weren’t about to let that happen.

Lucas Hall won by technical fall at 103 and Kyle Washburn scored a decision at 112 to extend Lowell’s advantage to 31-14.

That meant Niles had to pin out to win the match and when Nicholas Zimmerman was held to a 5-4 decision by Derek Krajewski, time ran out on the Vikings’ chances and their season.

“We won some matches that we were hoping to, but in the end, a solid wrestling team with a little more depth than we had,” Niles coach Todd Hesson said. “Great wrestling team, great program. My whole goal is go out there and wrestle tough and that’s the way it is every dual. If you wrestle tough good things happen regardless of whether you win or lose.

“We have done all season long. I’m proud of our kids. You go back to the beginning of the year, who would have thought, the state semifinals wrestling Lowell. I wouldn’t have thought that and I don’t think our kids would have thought that. It was a credit to them and our fans.”

Niles set numerous team and individual records on its march to Battle Creek. By reaching the semifinals, Hesson said he believes that the Vikings earned respect.

“I’m sure that coming in, they were looking and saying Niles has a good record, but our they as good as what it says. Winning in the quarterfinals last night kind of added an exclamation point to it. Even today, in the semifinals I think we won six or seven matches. They just got more bonus points.”

The Vikings will spend the rest of the weekend looking back at what they accomplished as a team before six wrestlers begin preparation for the individual final next weekend.

Lowell was defeated in the Division 2 championship match 42-20 by No. 1-ranked St. Johns, which won its fourth straight state title.


Division 2 Semifinals

At Battle Creek



135: Jordan Hall (L) p. Kevin Reed, 1:56

140: Warren Smith (N) d. Zac Graves, 6-3

145: Casey Burandt (N) m.d. Scott VanOosten, 10-1

152: Fritzel Findeisen (N) m.d. Jacob Garcia, 15-7

160: Max Dean (L) m.d. Jerrico Lamberton, 13-4

171: James Wierenga (L) m.d. Sean Craig, 14-5

189: Garett Stehley (L) d. Ryan Casey, 10-4

215: Taylor Komoely (L) p. Alex Bata, 0:55

285: Derek Scott (N) d. Logan Wilcox, 3-0

103: Lucas Hall (L) t.f. Courtland Lamberton, 18-1

112: Kyle Washburn (L) d. Brendon Meek, 5-0

119: Nicholas Zimmerman (N) d. Derek Krajewski, 5-4

125: Darek Bullock-Mills (N) d. Bailey Jack, 12-11

130: Noah Hall (N) wins by forfeit

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