Grapplers ready for Southwest Invite

Published 9:17 am Friday, January 26, 2007

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES – There may be a changing of the guard at the Southwest Michigan Invitational on Saturday in Stevensville.
The seventh annual wrestling tournament will be held at Lakeshore High School beginning at 11 a.m. The format calls for individual wrestling, not team wrestling.
The host Lancers won their fifth straight championship in 2006. Lakeshore is the only team to win the tournament outside of the inaugural year when Dowagiac was champion.
The Lancers scored 229 points to easily outdistance runner-up South Haven, which finished with 192.5 points. Niles finished third and Buchanan fourth. Coloma took fifth, Dowagiac sixth, Bangor seventh, Cassopolis eighth, River Valley ninth, Watervliet 10th and Hartford 11th.
Competing in this year's tournament will be Bangor, Benton Harbor, Berrien Springs, Buchanan, Cassopolis, Coloma, Covert, Dowagiac, Hartford, Lakeshore, Lawton, Niles, Paw Paw, River Valley, South Haven and Watervliet.
The battle for the championship could be a tight one as the Lancers, Vikings and Rams are all having outstanding seasons. The difference in the outcome could come down to who has the most depth.
Niles and Lakeshore have split a pair of dual meet match-ups, while the Vikings ended the Lancers' decade-long hold on the Berrien County Meet earlier this year.
South Haven is among the top teams in Division 3 and is the co-leader in the Wolverine Conference.
Returning champions from Niles, South Haven, Buchanan and Cassopolis include: Niles – Nate Allison, Bryce Flannery; Buchanan – Todd Taylor; Cassopolis – John McCoy; and South Haven – Kameron Jackson.
Each team will be allowed to enter 14 wrestlers. Schools may enter two wrestlers at the same weight class, but will not be allowed to enter more than 14.
Admission is $5. Concessions will be available throughout the day.