Niles wins Tri-State Border War
DEFIANCE, Ohio — The Niles wrestling team captured the 41-team Defiance Tri-State Border War Friday and Saturday.
Led by individual champion Austin Franco, the Vikings scored 158.5 points to edge Findlay, Ohio for the team title.
Findlay finished with 155 points, while Swanton, Ohio was third with 146.5 points and Coventry, Ohio and Sandusky, Ohio tied for fourth with 146.
Dowagiac tied for 26th place with 47.5 points.
Franco won the 120-pound championship by going 5-0 and was named the tournament’s MVP for wrestlers from 106 to 145-pound classes.
Franco defeated Gavin Manis of Lapel, Ohio in the opening round via a pin, Liam Morrison of Findlay in the second round by major decision and Eric Pawlaczyk of Imlay City in the quarterfinals via a pin.
In the semifinals, Franco won by technical fall over Tyler Bauer of Wayne Trace, Ohio, 20-4.
In the championship match, Franco pinned Mendon’s Nik Andaverde in 1:38.
Davin Simpson at 160 and Dayton Smith at 171 both finished third for the Vikings.
Simpson pinned Colton Soles of Archbold, Ohio in 3:56, while Smith won an 8-3 decision over Quay Brown of Sandusky.
Jamison Zimmerman finished fifth at 106 pounds with a 56-second pin of Berkshire, Ohio’s James Klingerman, while Brian Soto finished fifth at 285 pounds with an 8-5 decision over Chase Leeper of Eastside, Ohio.
Robert Glover finished sixth after falling to Hunter Mullins of Imlay City 3-0 at 145 pounds. Robert Buckland placed eighth, losing in sudden victory to Otsego, Ohio’s Ranson Loftis at 152 pounds.
Kody Walker was the lone Dowagiac wrestler to place in the tournament as he was fifth at 120 pounds after defeating Andy Hinojosa of Tinora, Ohio 6-2.