Column: Tradition lives on

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2005

By Staff
The Michigan High School Athletic Association's Division 3 District Wrestling Tournament is just a fond memory now.
Dowagiac won its 10th championship in the past 11 years in dramatic fashion.
Coming into the tournament everyone knew it was going to come down to Dowagiac and Buchanan in the finals.
Everyone knew that it was going to be a barn burner and neither team disappointed.
The Chieftain grapplers have come to understand that expectations are high when you take the mat wearing a Dowagiac singlet. Each and every wrestler knows that losing is not at option when it comes to the post season.
Living up to those expectations is sometimes tough.
Dowagiac fans have come to expect a certain level of excellence when it comes to wrestling.
The community has had a long-standing tradition of quality wrestling teams and this year's squad has met those expectations as far as I am concerned.
Now I am not sure that Dowagiac will get through the regional tournament tonight at Comstock High School, but win or lose, this season has been a success for many reasons.
Dowagiac had just three seniors last year, but when you look at who they were, it left a giant hole in the Chieftains' line up. Gone are record setters Darr Phillips and Michael Johnson, along with Jim Kehrer.
That left a lot of underclassmen to help carry on the Dowagiac tradition.
And those freshmen, sophomores and juniors have improved each and every week and have left me to believe that the tradition of excellence will continue well past this season.
Sure the Chieftains missed those three seniors, but every team has to lose wrestlers and still carry on. The seniors on this year's squad, Matt Behnke, Kyle Bennett, Rob Duszynski and Jeromy Northrop have stepped up and filled in admirably.
There are still plenty of big things ahead of the Dowagiac wrestling team with the individual regional on Saturday and then the state finals in two weeks.
Get ouet and support the Chieftains in their efforts to continue Dowagiac's tradition of excellence.
Good luck Chieftain grapplers in the rest of the state tourney.