Parsons, Higley win national titles

Published 12:25 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blake Parsons (left) and Michael Higley display their eagle trophies for winning national championships April 13 in Battle Creek. (Submitted photo)

Blake Parsons (left) and Michael Higley display their eagle trophies for winning national championships April 13 in Battle Creek. (Submitted photo)

There’s no offseason for Edwardsburg High School wrestlers Mike Higley or Blake Parsons.

Lifting weights, running and wrestling tournaments make up a big part of their daily lives.

The most recent tournament that the two competed in took place on April 13 in Battle Creek.

Higley and Parsons won eagle trophies after winning a national championship in their respective weight classes at the National United Wrestling Association For Youth Tournament at Kellogg Arena.

It was an open tournament and all you had to do to enter was sign-up on the website.

Almost 1,400 wrestlers from all around the country were a part of the event. Higley and Parsons competed in the 15-16 year-old age group.

Higley beat a wrestler from Monroe (MI.) High School, 4-0, in the 112-pound weight class finals, while Parsons pinned a wrestler from Bangor (MI.) High School.

It’s the second time that Higley and Parsons have competed at the event. In 2013, Higley finished second in the 105-pound competition, while Parsons was fifth at 189.

Higley, who owns a 91-9 career record at Edwardsburg with two state final appearances, beat out 11 other wrestlers on Sunday.

“I feel like I wrestled really well,” said Higley. “I beat two kids from outside the state of Michigan who were from Indiana and Illinois and I beat the Michigan state runner-up in the finals.

“These are harder matches with a lot of quality wrestlers. There’s also less pressure. You can just wrestle and not worry about your record.”

Parsons, who owns a 52-26 career high school record, had nine other wrestlers in his division.

“I felt I went all out and didn’t worry about losing,” said Parsons. “I feel more nervous in high school matches. I’m more relaxed in offseason tournaments.”

Higley has gained confidence in his wrestling ability by competing in tournaments like the one in Battle Creek.

“I feel like I can compete with anybody,” Higley said. “I feel like I can be down by a couple points and catch them with a move.”

Parsons feels he has an advantage over other high school wrestlers by staying sharp in the sport outside of the winter time.

“This helps you for your high school matches,” Parsons said. “You get some good practice in.”

Higley sees one state being at the top when it comes to wrestling.

“I honestly feel Michigan is one of the best states when it comes to wrestling,” Higley said. “In a lot of weight classes, the top three wrestlers were from Michigan. There’s just a lot of good high school wrestling teams in Michigan. A lot of families have wrestled in Michigan. There’s a lot of heritage.”

The next wrestling competition for Higley and Parsons takes place on April 26th when the two participate in the Ohio Tournament of Champions in Columbus, Ohio.

Both qualified for that event because they’re Michigan Youth Wrestling Association state qualifiers.