Updated: Vikings win SMAC West Division championship

Published 10:20 am Thursday, February 4, 2016

STEVENSVILLE — Visiting Niles maintained its grip on the SMAC West Division as it captured another championship Wednesday night.

The Vikings defeated arch rival Lakeshore 37-16 in a match that Niles coach Todd Hesson said was much closer than the final score.

“We had a few matches that could have easily went their way,” he said. “Lakeshore was also down three starters, so I really think the final score was deceiving.”

One of those starters was undefeated 119-pounder Austin Franco.

Niles took full advantage of his absence.

The Vikings opened up an 18-13 lead on the Lancers as Andrew Flick pinned Ian Beshears in 1:04 at 112 and Terrance Frank won by forfeit at 119.

Hesson also was not pleased with the effort his squad gave.

“I thought for the most part we went through the motions, lacked intensity and looked sloppy and out of focus,” he said. “All of which falls back on the coach. My responsibility is to get kids/team refocused for the post season. This team is still trying to create its own identity. Saturday and next Wednesday will move us closer to that identity.

“On the positive side kids did their job and avoided giving up bonus points. That is critical in duals!  Brenden Hall, Devonte Gaskill, Dayton Smith and Jason Echeverria all had tough wins. Devonte has stepped into a starting spot and has made the most of his opportunity. Jason lacks some experience but has taken big steps improving everytime he gets on the mat. Our big men as agroup have improved dramatically. Fritz Findeisen has spent time daily working with each wrestler and it is showing on the mat. Dayton Smith has regained his confidence and has looked good over the last week.”

Hesson feels that Lakeshore, as well as Battle Creek Lakeview, will challenge his team for the championship Saturday.

“I am hoping our team depth will come through,” Hesson said. “All of the above is great, but the real season starts Wednesday.

A complete box score is available at www.leaderpub.com.

The Vikings will attempt to defend their SMAC Tournament title Saturday at Mattawan and will then open up defense of its Division 2 District championship at Edwardsburg.



At Stevensville

103: Austin Whitman (L) m.d. Nathan Frary 9-1; 112: Andrew Flick (N) p. Ian Beshears 1:04; 119: Terrance Frank (N) wins by forfeit; 125: Hunter Bucks (L) d. Cade Stephenson 6-1; 130: Brenden Hall (N) d. Tony Williams 5-2; 135: Mitch Findeisen (N) d. Erik Taylor 9-6; 140: Courtland Lamberton (N) m.d. Keurri Myrick 16-5; 145: Devonte Gaskill (N) d. Cody Carlisle 4-2; 152: Quintin Smith (N) p. Ryan Rush 5:34; 160: Kyle Lindley (L) d. Davin Simpson 12-5; 171: Dayton Smith (N) d. Aaron Spear 1-0; 189: Tyler Hill (L) d. Cody Glick 6-1; 215: Isaac Weir (L) d. Braulio Sosa 3-2; 285: Jason Echeverria (N) d. Bryce Robinson 4-1. Varsity records: Niles 18-5, 5-0 SMAC West; Lakeshore 23-4, 4-1 SMAC West.