For Niles, it’s all or nothing

Published 11:19 am Tuesday, December 28, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
The Vikings' goal for Thursday's SMAC Duals team championship meet is simple.
Niles finished second in last year's team meet, falling to arch-nemesis Lakeshore in the finals. Galvin would like to get revenge on the Lancers in this year's championship round, but his team will have to overcome some stiff competition to get that far.
With the tournament's current set-up, Lakeshore and Niles could only meet in the championship match. The 16 teams are divided into four pools of four teams. Each school wrestles the three teams in its division, and the top teams from each then play in a tournament for first place.
The coaches of several schools, including Glavin, disagree with the format and are trying to get it changed. Instead, they want to see the teams seeded one through 16 and play one big tournament.
As the tournament is set up now, Niles is in Pool C with Lakeview, Kalamazoo Central and Benton Harbor. The Vikings have already defeated Benton Harbor this year, a 76-6 victory as the Niles Invitational Dec. 4. They haven't faced Lakeview or Kalamazoo Central.
Dowagiac is in Pool D with Portage Central, Battle Creek Harper Creek and Marshall. Should the Chieftains and Vikings win their respective pools, they would face each other in the championship semifinals.
Pool A consists of Lakeshore, Mattawan, Sturgis and Loy Norrix. Pool B is made up of Coldwater, St. Joseph, Battle Creek Central and Portage Northern.
The winner of Pools A and B will face in one semifinal, and the winners from Pools C and D will square off in the other.
For Galvin, the SMAC meet is a matter of respect. After losing some wrestlers to graduation last year, he wants to prove his team can still compete with the rest of the conference.
Niles is 10-2 this season, with its two losses coming by a combined eight points. The Vikings fell 37-30 to South Haven and 36-35 to Lakeshore. In the Lakeshore meet, Niles held a 35-30 advantage before losing on a pin-fall in the final match.
For Niles to claim the championship Thursday, Galvin said, his team must both avoid pins and get pins of its own.
The Duals are hosted by Harper Creek, but held at Battle Creek's Kellogg Center. Eight matches wil be wrestled at a time. Pool matches are scheduled for 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., with tournament play beginning at 4. The schedule may change if the tournament is switched to a bracket format.