Niles wrestlers finish second in Big 16

Published 7:12 pm Friday, December 28, 2007

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES – It was a long day for the Niles varsity wrestling team, but when all was said and done, the Vikings finished second at the Big 16 Team Tournament.
The tournament was won by Lakeshore, who avenged last year's loss to Niles in the tournament staged at the Kellogg Center Arena in Battle Creek.
Until last year, Lakeshore had been the only team to win the league team tournament championship.
Niles defeated Portage Central 49-19 in the opening round and then was edged by Battle Creek Harper Creek in the next round 37-33.
The Vikings rebounded with back-to-back victories over Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (76-6) and Portage Northern (35-33).
In their last match, the Lancers defeated the Vikings for the second time this season.
Lakeshore recaptured the championship with a 51-14 win.
"Lakeshore kind of got a snowball thing going on us," Niles coach Todd Hesson said. "We got out wrestled a little bit against Harper Creek. But we came back and wrestled well against a pretty good Portage Northern team. With all the kids we have out of the line up, I'll take second place."
The Vikings had a pair of grapplers go undefeated on the day.
Ben Brandstatter and Kenyon Ellison both posted 5-0 records at 160- and 285-pounds respectively.
Finishing the tournament at 4-1 were Gage Pearison (112), Terrance Eppenger (152) and Kenneth Eppenger (152).
The Vikings will now begin preparation for defense of their Berrien County Tournament championship. The Berrien County meet is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008