Southwest Michigan’s best
Published 4:06 am Friday, January 30, 2004
By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
Some of the area's best will be on display Saturday in Stevens-ville at Lakeshore High School.
The Lancers are hosting the Southwest Michigan Wrestling Tournament beginning at 11 a.m.
Scheduled to participate are wrestlers from Bangor, Benton Harbor, Brandywine, Buch-anan, Coloma, Decatur, Galien, Lake Michigan Catholic, Lakeshore, Lawton, Niles, Paw Paw and River Valley.
That means undefeated wrestlers Michael Johnson of Dowagiac, Dustin Gordon of Bangor, Jaime Llerena of Bangor and Matt Phoehlman of Niles will all be on hand.
The showdown between unbeatens Llerena (34-0) and Johnson at heavyweight will be one of the highlights of the day.
Llerena was 42-11 last year and finished fourth in Division 4.
Johnson (32-0) was 27-5 last year and finished sixth in Division 3. Johnson missed the start of the 2002-03 season as he was recovering from a knee injury sustained during football season.
Another key match up will feature unbeaten Poehlman of Niles and once beaten Darr Phillips of Dowagiac.
Phillips is 31-1 on the season and already owns a victory over defending state champion (Division 2) Ryan Lucas of Three Rivers.
Both Phillips and Johnson are chasing the school record for victories which is held by Gavin Manley with 154.
Phillips is currently at 145 victories, while Johnson has 136.
Also expected to compete are Paw Paw's once beaten Sean Szekely; twice beaten wrestlers Jesse Martin of Coloma, James Edwards of Niles and Josh Henry of Niles.
Among the other top wrestlers scheduled to compete are Ryan Kolberg, Justin Agens, Chris Forrester, Matt Wittmann, Kyle Hammermeister, Chad Newman of Lakeshore; Todd Ehlert, Derek Haman and Mike Stein of River Valley, Tom McColl, Aaron Austin and Levon Mock of Bangor, Brian Cady and Brett Golliher of Decatur, Evan Smith, John Farrell and Matt Koller of Brandywine, Kyle Isabel of Niles, Travis Reith, Nick Wheetley and Kale Burks of Buchanan; Mike Creekmore of Galien, Andy Osbon, Josh Sundberg and Tim Fletcher of Paw Paw and Jeromy Northrop, Jim Kehrer and Kyle Bennett of Dowagiac.
Wrestling action is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The top five placers will receive medals, while the championship team will receive a trophy.
Each team can enter more than one wrestler in a weight class, but no more than 14 total entries.
Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for students.